Is it a cookie? Is it a tartlet? It’s both.
Inspired by the traditional Scandinavian filled cookie called “sandbakkel,” this crisp, lemony tartlet is just the right size for one. With a filling of tangy-sweet Meyer lemon curd and a baked meringue topping, it looks like a miniature version of a classic lemon meringue tart, but it’s suprisingly easy to make.
We’ve broken the recipe down into three parts: the cookie-like dough, the Meyer lemon curd and the whipped meringue. Make the curd days (or even weeks) in advance, bake the cookie shells the day before and whip up the frothy egg white meringue at the last minute. Once you assemble and top the tarts, it only takes 15 minutes in the oven to set and brown the meringue.
You’ll probably have some dough left over, so why not try your hand at sandbakkel while you’re at it? These delicate filled cookie “tarts” are fun to make, and of course, delightful to eat. The small metal molds which are used to make these dainty little cookies come in a variety of shapes. They can often be found very inexpensively at flea markets, thrift stores or garage sales.
If you don’t have sandbakkel molds or tartlet tins, just use a muffin tin with the dough pressed into the bottom and a half-inch up the sides
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly grease sandbakkel molds or tartlet tins with butter or cooking spray.
Blend together the butter and sugar with a hand-held mixer until creamy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the beaten egg until completely incorporated, then add 2 cups of flour and the vanilla or almond extract. The soft dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it’s too sticky, add a little flour, a tablespoon or so at a time, until it reaches the proper consistency.
Pinch or scoop a ball of dough, approximately enough to cover the inside of the mold or tin that you’re using. Roll the dough into a ball and press into the bottom of the tin. Using your thumbs, press the dough out to cover the bottom and sides of the tin in a thin layer approximately 1/8th inch thick. This soft, sweet dough is very forgiving and pliable. If you didn’t use enough to cover the inside of the tin, just press in a little more. If too much, just scrape off the excess from around the edges of the mold. Continue until all molds are filled or you run out of dough.
Place the filled molds on a baking sheet and slide onto the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until pale toasty brown. Note: Watch carefully after 10 or 12 minutes. The butter content can cause these cookies to burn fairly quickly.
Remove from oven and cool slightly. Turn the tins over on a baking rack or clean counter. If the tarts don’t fall out on their own, tap the backs of the tins to loosen or use the tip of a sharp knife to gently pull them free. Let the cookies cool completely before filling.
Serve plain or filled with lemon curd, jam or whipped cream and top with fresh fruit.
Meyer Lemon Curd
Lemon curd is a thick, rich egg-based lemon custard often used as a pie or tart filling. It also makes a delicious spread for muffins, scones and other tea breads.
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup superfine sugar (you can use regular sugar ground up fine in a coffee grinder or food processor)
- 3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice, strained (about 4-5 lemons)
- Finely grated zest of 4-5 lemons
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in the top pan of a double boiler, or in a pyrex or stainless steel bowl set on top of a pan half filled with water. Heat the water in the lower pan to a simmer; it must not touch the bottom of the top pan or come to a full boil. Beat the yolks and sugar together with a whisk or hand-held electric mixer until the mixture becomes creamy and pale, about 5 minutes.
Beat in the lemon juice and zest, then begin adding the cubes of butter, one or two at a time. As the cubes melt and are absorbed into the mixture, add a couple more. Continue beating and adding the butter until they are all incorporated. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Make sure that the mixture does not boil, or the eggs will “scramble.”
When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove the top pan from the double boiler setup and set aside to cool slightly. It will continue to thicken as it sits.
While still quite hot, spoon the thickened curd into dry, sterilized jars and cover tightly. Store unopened in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Once opened the lemon curd will keep for up to a week, if it lasts that long.
Makes about 2 pints
It’s absolutely essential to use a perfectly clean, dry bowl. The slightest trace of fat will ruin a meringue. Glass, ceramic, stainless steel, and copper bowls are all fine, but plastic bowls should never be used. It’s easy to scale the amount of meringue up or down as needed; the basic rule of thumb is 1/8 teaspoon acid (lemon juice, vinegar or cream of tartar) and 2 tablespoons of sugar to each large egg white.
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup superfine or granulated sugar
Whip the egg whites and lemon juice together until medium-soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar a little at a time. Continue to beat until the egg whites are glossy and hold a firm peak.
Spread meringue on the top of each tart all the way out to the edges to seal. Add decorative swirls and peaks as desired.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 4 to 5 minutes or until the tips of the meringue are toasty brown. More color can be added with the used of your trusty kitchen blow torch.
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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