The holidays are a great time for new recipes. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday parties, and whatever gets thrown in between, people eat a lot of really delicious food as the year ends. And although this blog has been heavily dessert-focused lately, I hope you won’t mine one more.
Because I think this recipe is a little special. To start with, this is not your usual pie crust. This crust has extra spices baked into it, which are subtle but add a lot of flavor depth. Also, this is my first attempt at using cold vodka to replace ice water in a pie crust recipe, and I am a total convert. No alcohol taste at all, and the crust didn’t shrink a bit! Usually when I use my tiny pie molds, I end up with miniscule, misshapen mini-pies — but not this time.
Last, and I think somewhat creatively, I actually made these crusts in cupcake tins. At this point in my kitchen, I’ve made individual desserts enough times that I’ve bought a lot of smaller tart molds, but this is great if you’re looking for something special for the holidays with kitchen equipment that you already have. And who doesn’t have a cupcake or muffin tin in a drawer somewhere?
So, there go your excuses. Guess you’ll just have to make these.
Spiced-Crust Lemon Tarts
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 tbsp vodka
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place flour, sugar, salt, butter, egg, spices and vodka in a food processor. Pulse until blended into one large ball of dough.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface, into an approximately 14″ square. Cut the dough into 9 equally-sized pieces. Press one piece of dough into each section of a muffin pan, and trim the edges evenly. Prick the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork so air can escape.
Bake the tart crusts for 15-20 minutes, or until the tarts’ edges are just slightly golden. Place on a counter or table to cool.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the baking powder and two tbsp of flour, and stir the mixture into the eggs. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour over the crust and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until just set.
Makes 9 individual tarts.