While tables are filled with rich, dark greens and root vegetables, crates of citrus add beautiful pops of yellow and orange to this week’s farmer’s market. After so many months of cold, it is like those beautiful lemons and tangerines are promises of fresh colors and flavors to come. There is nothing like the tangy and tart taste of lemon to awaken your taste buds for spring. These lemon pistachio tartlets are the perfect marriage between fresh citrus and salty pistachios wrapped in a flaky almond crust topped with a candied lemon peel and dusted with a snow storm of powdered sugar. These little minis make it easy to serve and share. Your only problem will be running out… I haven’t found anyone who can eat just one. - LittleKitchen
This recipe was inspired by a recipe from a local Junior League cookbook for a Meyer Lemon Pistachio tart. By altering flavors and adding new layers, I have made these my own. Oh yeah, and mini makes everything better.
Recipe Note: If you would rather not mess with candied lemon peels, you can leave that garnish off, but I do like the extra layer of lemon myself. —LittleKitchen
Test Kitchen Notes
I was very excited to try the Lemon Pistachio Tartlets. I have been saving one of the two Meyer Lemons I grew last year for a special occasion and this seemed to fit the bill! The recipe is super easy to follow and came out wonderfully. The tartlets end up with a meringue-like quality and have the wonderfully sort of crusty sugary top like a blondie. The glaze and candied peel makes for the perfect final lemon touch. I only had 1 small muffin pan so I made the remainder in larger muffin pans which I did with pecans and pine nuts. They came out great, but the small pistachio version is the best. This is a fantastic recipe and I have found a new family favorite! - Little Kitchen —Helen's All Night Diner
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off pieces of the skin from top to bottom into long ribbons. Place peels in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and simmer for one minute. Drain water and repeat one more time. Dissolve 3 cups of sugar into 2 cups of cold water. Bring water to a boil and add lemons. Turn heat to low and let simmer for one hour.
Meanwhile, melt butter in medium sized saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and add sugars, zest and almond extract. Stir to combine. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combined and crumbly. Let crust rest for 15 minutes.
Spray two mini muffin tins with a good coat of nonstick cooking spray. After crust has rested for 15 minutes, spoon a heaping teaspoon of crumbly dough into each cup. The goal is to get the entire cup covered with the least amount of dough. Technique: Using your thumbs, press dough into the bottom of the pan. Then, use your thumbs to spread the dough up the sides until whole cup is covered evenly. Bake crusts for 8 minutes. Allow to cool and drop 3 pistachios into each cup.
After lemon peels have simmered for an hour, remove from liquid and allow to cool. Cut peels into 1 inch chunks. Lemon peels will not dry out completely, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
For the filling, glaze and finishing touches
Prepare filling while crusts are baking and lemon peels are simmering. In a medium sized bowl, stir together sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, zest and juice and stir to combine. Using a tablespoon, fill each crust cup with lemon filling. Fill to the top of the crust line, but do not go over. (if filling floods out over crust, it will be more difficult to remove from pan). Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan.
Meanwhile, prepare glaze. Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush or small spoon, paint the top of each cooled tartlet with the glaze and place a sliver of candied lemon on top of each. Slide a small, sharp pairing knife in between the crust and pan until each tartlet pops out. When ready to serve, dust heavily with powdered sugar.
Can be stored in an airtight container up to one week.