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Rosemary-Lemon Tartlets with Pine Nut Shortbread

Pernille Pedersen

Yield: Yields about fifty 2-inch tartlets

This recipe uses 2-inch tartlet molds (you’ll need 25), which turn out elegant, two-bite tarts.


For the lemon curd

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 medium lemons)
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 medium lemons)
  • 1 Tbs. very finely chopped rosemary
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the shortbread dough

  • 7 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the garnish

  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 100
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 60
  • Fat (g): 6
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 25
  • Carbohydrates (g): 9
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 1


Make the lemon curd

  • Bring 2 inches of water in a 3-quart saucepan to a simmer over medium heat. In a stainless-steel bowl that fits snugly in the saucepan without touching the water, combine the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and rosemary. Set the bowl over the saucepan, whisk in the egg yolks, and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes.

    Turn off the heat, leaving the bowl over the water. Add the salt and then whisk in one piece of butter at a time, whisking until smooth between each addition. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until well chilled, 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the shortbread dough

  • Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar, pine nuts, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed to combine. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute. Divide the dough in thirds, wrap each piece in plastic, and press into flat disks. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Bake the shells in two batches

  • Spray twenty-five 2-inch flared or fluted tartlet molds with cooking spray. Working with one round of the shortbread dough at a time, roll the dough between two pieces of parchment to a 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2-1/2-inch round cutter, cut the dough into circles—you’ll need 25 circles for the first batch. Gather any scraps and refrigerate for re-rolling. Using a metal spatula, transfer the rounds to the tartlet pans and press the dough into the pans. Trim the tart dough so that it’s flush with the pan by pressing along the rim of the pan with your thumb. Prick each tartlet shell several times with a fork, arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

    Bake the tartlet shells until they’re deep golden-brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the shells to a rack to cool. Remove the shells from the pans and store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

    Repeat rolling and cutting the remaining dough and scraps, which you can re-roll once, to yield 25 more circles. Bake, cool, and store as above.

Make the garnish

  • Heat the oil in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the pine nuts. Toss the nuts until browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. With a small slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to a paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tartlets

  • Put the lemon curd in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (Ateco #806). Pipe the curd into the tartlet shells and top each with 3 pine nuts. (Reserve any remaining curd for another use.) The tartlets may be assembled up to 4 hours ahead.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • winstonk | 12/10/2012

    Excellent and may try it again as there were many compliments from our holiday party guests last night. The other reviewer comments were helpful and I should have tried to infuse more of the rosemary in the lemon juice. It was hard to keep much of an indention in the tartlet shells even with freezing them before going into the oven and trying different molds such as mini-muffin pans and individual tartlet shells. But still the overall flavor was terrific and it all worked out well.

  • Awndie | 12/28/2010

    Delish! This was relatively simple to make and really yummy. Very lemony, I would maybe try heating the lemon juice with the rosemary first to infuse more of the rosemary flavor in the curd. The tart crust is yummy but a little hard to work with getting in the itty bitty tart pans, but worth the effort. The salty toasted pine nuts are a perfect closing to the deal. I am putting this on my list of Holiday or Special Occasion desserts for sure!

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