By Michelle Ardillo

Lemon Tarts

Fruit tarts and tarts filled with fruit preserves or marmalade can be found all over Great Britain. Lemon tarts can be made from scratch with a pastry or shortbread crust and homemade lemon curd, topped with freshly whipped cream, or even better, they can be made with store bought ready-made ingredients so you can have them on your tea tray in just minutes!

Ingredients

One package of graham cracker tart shells (such as Keebler Graham Cracker Tarts (6 count)
One jar of lemon curd (such as Dickinson’s Lemon Curd, 10 oz. jar)
One Jell-O Instant Pudding & Pie Filling, Lemon, 3.4-Ounce Box
One cup (8 oz.) of whole milk
One carton of Cool Whip, regular, thawed
Fresh mint leaves or chocolate shavings to garnish (optional)

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the lemon pudding dry mix with one cup of milk, whisk or beat until well blended and pudding mixture begins to thicken.

Open the jar of lemon curd and use a spoon to stir it to make it easier to spread.  Add the jar of lemon curd to the lemon pudding mixture, folding together with a rubber spatula. Do not mix or beat as the pudding will not stay thick. Fold using a gentle figure eight movement with the spatula.

Open package of tart shells and carefully place them on a cookie sheet or tray.  Divide the pudding and lemon curd mixture evenly between the six tart shells.  Use a small spatula or butter knife to even it out.

Top each tart with a spoonful of Cool Whip and swirl it with the back of the spoon to make little peaks.  Note: you can cover the whole top of the tart with Cool Whip like “frosting” or you can just put a dollop of the Cool Whip in the center of the tart so the lemon mixture shows.

Place a fresh mint leave in the center, or sprinkle chocolate shavings on top for a garnish. Carefully slide the cookie sheet into the refrigerator to chill the tarts until serving time!

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie is a relatively new food invention in England, created by a restaurant chef in the 1970s. Its popularity grew quickly and it can now be found all over the United Kingdom. How could you go wrong with bananas, caramel and whipped cream? As with the lemon tarts, all of the components of Banoffee Pie can be homemade from scratch or they can be purchased ready-made and assembled into a quick and delicious dessert!

Ingredients

One ready-made graham cracker pie crust, 8” or 9”
One 13.4 ounce can of Nestlé’s La Lechera Dulce De Leche (see hint below)
Two to three ripe bananas
Juice of half of one lemon
One carton of Cool Whip, regular, thawed
Chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

Directions

Peel and thinly slice the bananas, place in a medium-sized bowl. Toss with lemon juice. (This will keep the bananas from turning brown inside the pie.)

Drain any remaining juice from the banana slices and arrange banana slices inside the pie crust.

Carefully open the can of Dulce De Leche and stir with a spoon inside the can to soften it. Spread it evenly over the banana slices. Take your time as the Dulce De Leche is thick and stiff and the banana slices are delicate.

Top with Cool Whip.

Garnish with chocolate shavings (optional).

Place in refrigerator to chill until serving time.

Hints

If you can’t find Nestlé’s La Lechera Dulce De Leche, you can use a jar of caramel sauce or caramel topping used for ice cream sundaes.

To slice the pie cleanly, dip the pie cutter into warm water before and after each slice, wiping with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel before slicing. To get the very first slice out of the pan more easily, cut the first slice on both sides, and then make the cut for the second piece, but return to the first piece to lift it out. The cut for the second slice will give the first slice the “wiggle room” to exit the pie shell in beautiful condition!

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

Shortbread is a rich, buttery cookie made with simple ingredients. Since this recipe only relies on three ingredients, buy the best butter you can find; now is not the time to scrimp on budget brands!

Ingredients

1/2 cup of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
One stick of butter, softened (Sweet Cream Butter recommended)
1 and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, sifted twice after measuring
One pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and spray an eight-inch square cake pan with vegetable oil spray.

Place stick of butter (still in wrapper) on countertop for 30 minutes to soften. Do not melt the butter or use the microwave to soften it.

Place butter in large bowl and use mixer to “cream” the butter. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar and salt, if using unsalted butter. Mix until butter and sugar are completely creamed together.

Add flour a few spoons at a time until mixture is well-blended. The dough mixture will be crumbly but will hold together when pinched.

Dump dough into cake pan. Using clean hands, press the dough into pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup or your hands to even it out. Use a fork to “dock” the top of the dough with the tines of a fork. To do this, prick the dough all the way to the bottom of pan in a gentle, quick motion.

Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden on the top.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Allow to cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Place rack on top of pan (be careful, the pan will still be hot) and flip it over. Place cutting board on shortbread (this will be the bottom) and flip over. Immediately cut into pieces while still warm. Cut into three long rows, then cut each row into eight pieces, for a total of 24 rectangles (fingers).

Allow pieces to completely cool before moving them. Enjoy with a cup of tea!