lemon-giving life

As a child, I was never that big a fan of citrus. Sure I enjoyed how the whole room would be filled with the fresh scent of my dad peeling oranges for the younger me, marvelling at the fact that the house felt like it was filled with sunshine. Yes, somehow I always associated oranges with the sunniest of days. Must be a subconscious effect of one of those bright sunshiny Sunkist ads I always used to watch on television. Other times I’d be busying myself with all things supersweet and sugar-laden, and oranges, limes and lemons would be mere nouns listed under the list of fruits that I could draw without reference.

It’s only recently that I have been acquainted with citrus fruits, particularly with regard to refreshing lemon/lime drinks that make this sweltering heat more bearable. But with the amount of delightful lemon recipes out there, it had certainly made it difficult for me to not scratch the itch of curiosity and thereafter, I found my dabble with lemon in baking much easier. And while I may not be all ready to jump on the citrus bandwagon just yet, I am taking little baby steps by infusing other flavours alongside them.   

For those who actually thought I had baked key lime pies/tarts, sorry to disappoint you. This is actually a modification of a tart recipe I found, which called for a normal tart base filled with lemon curd. Since I did not have lemon curd at hand, I decided to flavour the tart itself with lemon and fill the tart with creamy Kaya jam, a coconut-based jam flavoured with pandan leaves.

The lemon zest & juice amount I included in the batter was to taste, and as a novice, I actually had no idea what was too much/too little, but I went with my gut nose, and the result was a rich and buttery tart base with an unmistakable lemon tanginess with every bite. I would have been a very satisfied lady to eat the tart shells unfilled (I ate two, on the excuse that they didn’t look pretty enough to be served), but the Kaya jam filling added a certain richness to the tart which makes you just sit back and enjoy the experience of the marriage between lemon, butter and Kaya crumbling away in the back of your mouth.


This works wonderfully with a strawberry jam filling as well. The sweetness of the jam complements the tangy sourness of the lemon tart, ensuring that no one flavour overwhelms the other.

Lemon Tarts with Kaya Filling

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 1/2 cups flour 

  1. Beat sugar, powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter till creamy.
  2. Mix rest of ingredients until a smooth dough is formed. Chill for 15 minutes wrapped in plastic wrap.
  3. Grease mini-muffin tins.
  4. Measure 1 Tbsp of dough. Roll into ball place one in each hole of mini tart pan.
    Using your thumb make a centre with the dough making sure that the dough in uniform size all around and not to thin on the top.
  5. Bake at 180C for 9 minutes or until dough is slightly firm but not set. Remove tart shells from oven working quickly and using the back of a rounded 1/2 tsp measuring spoon gently press a shallow indentation in each shell.
  6. Bake 4-5 minutes longer or until edges of shells are firm and golden.
  7. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  8. Cool completely before filling with Kaya.

5 thoughts on “lemon-giving life

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