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Although I am usually a stickler for making things like tart shells, sometimes you just need convenience. Especially in the Christmas/New Year/Barbecue season. It is great to be able to go into the kitchen for five minutes and emerge with a plate of pretty tarts, which look just as pretty (and taste just as good) as a plate of cup cakes that would take an hour to prepare. I’ve made numerous variations on these tarts over the years, and they are always a hit: light, creamy, fragrant with citrus, with a satisfying crunch from the pastry shell. You can, of course, make your own tart shells, but I find that the purchased ready-made ones work perfectly well. The tarts pictured here are lime, but lemon is both more traditional and equally delicious.

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Quick Lemon/Lime Tarts (makes 12)

1 cup cream (approximate)

1.5 tablespoons lime/lemon curd

12 pack sweet short pastry shells

grated lime/lemon zest for decoration (optional)

Whip the cream until thick. Mix in the lime/lemon curd and stir through until evenly distributed. Curds vary hugely in how strong their flavour is, so add a little to the cream, taste, and add more if you want a stronger citrus flavour. If your tart shells are large, increase the volume of cream and curd. Once mixed, pour into a piping bag with a large nozzle, or a clean plastic bag with a small hole in the end (I haven’t yet figured out how to assemble my piping bag, so normally just do this). Swirl the cream filling into the empty tart cases, and arrange on a plate. If using, sprinkle grated zest on top.

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