The gluten-free baking mix for these light (as in, not dense) and creamy tartlets comes from Jeanne Sauvage, a gluten-free authority and cookbook author. Her combination results in buttery-tasting and nicely colored crusts, with good texture.
Feel free to substitute your favorite gluten-free pie dough recipe or mix. White and brown rice flours, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour and xanthan gum are available at health food stores and some Whole Foods Markets.
You'll need four 4 3/4-inch fluted tartlet pans, or you can use a baking pan with shallow muffin-top wells of about the same width.
Make Ahead: The tartlet dough needs to be refrigerated for 30 minutes. The rolled-out tartlet dough needs to be refrigerated for 30 minutes. You'll have leftover gluten-free flour mix, which can be refrigerated or frozen for up to 4 months; stir with a fork before using. The filling can be refrigerated up to 1 day in advance. The tartlets need to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, then are transferred to the freezer for 45 minutes; let them come to a cool room temperature before serving. The candied lemon peel can be made well in advance.
Servings: 4 - 8
Yield: Makes four 4 3/4-inch tartlets
- For the gluten-free flour mix and crust
- 1 1/4 cups (170 grams) brown rice flour
- 1 1/4 cups (205 grams) white rice flour
- 1 cup (120 grams) tapioca flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1 cup (165 grams) sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
- 2 scant teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
- For the filling
- 8 ounces regular or low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use nonfat)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup regular or low-fat sour cream (do not use nonfat)
- 2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought candied lemon zest, for garnish (see related recipe)
For the gluten-free flour mix and crust: Combine the brown and white rice flours, the tapioca and sweet rice flours and the xanthan gum in a container; whisk to blend well. The yield is 4 1/2 cups; transfer 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons to a food processor and reserve the rest in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate or freeze for up to 4 months.
Add the sugar, salt and butter to the flour mix in the food processor. Pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
With the processor on pulse, add the vinegar and enough of the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together without being sticky or crumbly. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, pressing them into disks. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they are firm and their moisture is distributed evenly, about 30 minutes.
Working with one disk at a time, dust a work surface and rolling pin with tapioca flour and place the disk in the center of the floured surface. Starting in the center of the dough, roll out to, but not over, the upper edge of the dough. Return to the center, and roll down to, but not over, the edge closest to you. Lift the dough, giving it a quarter turn, and lay it on the work surface. Turn it and continue rolling, repeating the quarter turns, to form a 6-inch disk that's about 1/8 inch thick.
Use one hand to lift the pastry, supporting it with the other hand so the dough does not stretch. Let it settle into the bottom of the tartlet pan. Run the rolling pin over the top edges of the pan, which will trim away any excess dough. Shape a small piece of that excess dough into a ball; use this ball to press and shape the tart dough in the pan.
Repeat with the remaining disks of dough to form 3 more tartlet shells. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the tartlet pans on a rimmed baking sheet.
To blind bake, crumple small pieces of parchment paper, then lay them out flat over the dough in each tartlet pan. Weight the paper with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights. (You can reuse the rice or beans for blind baking a number of times.) Bake for 10 minutes or until the tartlet shells are pale golden brown and have set. Transfer (in their pans) to a wire rack to cool while you make the filling. Keep the baking sheet at hand.
For the filling: Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees.
Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until it is soft and creamy. Stop to scrape down the bowl. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt; beat for 2 minutes to form a light and fluffy mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Beat in the lemon zest on medium speed; add the egg and beat on medium speed for a full minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the sour cream and beat to incorporate.
Divide the filling mixture evenly among the tartlet shells, spreading it evenly. Return the tartlets to the rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes or until the filling is set; it will have risen slightly above the edge of the tartlet pans. Turn off the oven; leave the tartlets inside and use a wooden spoon to prop open the oven door. Let the tartlets rest for 30 minutes, then transfer them to the freezer and let them chill for 45 minutes.
Just before serving, garnish the center of each tartlet with a pinch of the candied zest.
From French-trained Southern cookbook author and cooking instructor Virginia Willis.
Tested by Kendra Nichols.
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