This recipe started out on a splattered, stained note card in my grandmother's kitchen, and it has made its way into a lovely cookbook that's very personal to me (more on that below). The filling could not be easier to make. You can use it several different ways, but I think these two-bite tartlets would be perfect for Mother's Day or a little girl's baby shower.
So, here's the story on the cookbook. It's called Island Graces, and it is the cookbook of All Saints Church in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. My sister edited the cookbook (and tested many, many of the recipes) and included a bunch of our family recipes. There are old ones, like this, from my grandmother, and new ones, like my brother-in-law's chicken marsala and a key lime pie ice cream from yours truly.
There are tons of southern and lowcountry recipes; it's very much a community cookbook full of classic, comforting food. If you'd like to buy one as a Mother's Day gift, they will gift wrap it for free. You just have to order by Monday, May 3rd, indicate that it's for Mother's Day, and write whatever note you'd like to include on the card in the "special instructions" box.
makes 24 muffin-size tarts (with some leftover filling) or 2 full-size pies
2 refrigerated pie crusts (the kind that come rolled up in a box, not already pressed into a pan) 1 packet gelatin 3 small lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup) 1 teaspoon lemon zest 2 cans sweetened condensed milk 1 (10-ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed but not drained fresh raspberries to garnish
*Note: What makes this recipe so easy is that you can whip up the filling in about three minutes and use it several different ways. Make individual tarts with refrigerated pie dough (using the instructions below), make dough from scratch, or make pies with store-bought, pre-baked crusts. The filling also makes a good trifle, by the way, layered with whipped cream.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Working with one pie crust at a time, unroll it, and use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut 12 circles. Take each circle of dough and roll it gently with a rolling pin until it's just a bit bigger and thinner, so that it will fill a muffin cup. When you press the dough into the muffin tin, the top of the dough should reach the top of the cup with rippled edges (see photo #3). Bake the tart shells for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.
In a large bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the lemon juice and stir. Whisk in the lemon zest and condensed milk. Add the raspberries and their juices. Stir well to combine. (You can use a hand-held mixer to make the filling extra smooth, if you'd like.) Fill the baked, cooled tart shells with a few spoonfuls of the raspberry mixture, or divide the filling between the two pie crusts. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm. Garnish with fresh raspberries or whipped cream.