Audrey loves creating new flavors by tweaking recipes to include healthier ingredients. But everyone deserves a sweet treat now and then!
This is a recipe that is extremely versatile and not hard to make. You can use store-bought lemon curd or make your own if you prefer. I've included a recipe for lemon curd below, as well.
I'll also share some ideas on how to improvise and make variations to the recipe depending on how you want the final product to turn out: mini-tarts, 4-inch tarts, or one 9-inch tart. No matter which way you make them, they are sure to be delicious!
Recipes in This Article
- Cream Cheese Tart Shells
- Almond Tart Shells
- Lemon Tart Filling
- Homemade Lemon Curd
Cream Cheese Tart Shells
This is the recipe I use most often and find it to be relatively easy and foolproof for any kind of tart. I will also share an almond shell variation that sounds equally delicious from Cooking Light magazine.
You could use this recipe to make eight 4-inch tarts or if you do not have 4-inch tart pans, it would make a wonderful 9-inch tart. Or you could divide this up and make 24 mini-tarts using a muffin pan and a tart tool. Make sure that you watch the tarts for browning, however, as they will brown differently according to the size pan. You want the tart shells to be just set and nicely golden.
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Combine the softened butter and cream cheese in a small bowl or in the prep bowl of your upright mixer. Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth either by upright mixer or with hand beater.
- Add the flour and salt and mix until a soft dough forms.
- Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray tart pan(s) lightly with cooking spray.
- If you are making eight 4-inch tarts, divide the dough evenly into 8 pieces and press into bottom and up sides of the 8 pans. Using a tart tool also helps to keep the thickness even.
- If you are making 24 mini-tarts, pinch off and roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 24 pieces into mini-muffin tin for 24 that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Flatten each 1-inch ball using the tart tool or using fingers to press into the bottom and up sides of mini-muffin tin.
- If you are making one 9-inch tart, press the dough into the bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
- Note: If you find that the dough is a bit too thick in the tart pans, you can adjust to suit - using less dough and saving remaining dough for another use or more tarts.
- Bake the tart shells for 5-10 minutes but watch them carefully as they can brown too quickly and you want them to be just set and lightly golden.
- Cool on rack.
Almond Tart Shells
This recipe can be used to make eight 4-inch tarts or if you do not have 4-inch tart pans, it will make a lovely 9-inch tart.
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 36 vanilla wafers
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a food processor, combine the almonds, brown sugar and vanilla wafers and process until they are ground into a fine meal.
- While the motor is running, take the melted butter and drizzle that into the food chute and process until blended.
- Spray tart pans with cooking spray. If making 4-inch tarts, use about 1/4 cup of the crumb mixture per tart and press the crumbs into the bottom and up sides of the tart pans (x8) that have been coated with the cooking spray. (If making one 9-inch tart, press all the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the 9-inch tart pan coated with cooking spray.)
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until toasted.
- Cool on rack.
- Proceed on to filling.
Lemon Tart Filling
The recipe in Cooking Light suggests using store-bought lemon curd, which saves time and assures a good set curd. However, I will also include a recipe for lemon curd that you can prepare and use. I have made it before and it works quite well to make it from scratch and is just as delicious.
- 10 ounces lemon curd
- 3 large egg whites (or equivalent egg white substitute)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Spoon the lemon curd evenly into the shells (whichever you are using, 4-inch, 9-inch, or the mini-tart crusts/cream cheese or almond). Set these aside.
- In a mixer bowl, add the egg whites and salt to the bowl and mix at high speed until there are soft peaks forming.
- Mix the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan and bring this to a boil.
- Boil until a candy thermometer registers 250 degrees.
- Pour this hot candy syrup as a thin stream into the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Spread the egg mixture over the tarts.
- Broil for 30 seconds or until lightly brown—but keep a close eye to avoid over-browning.
Homemade Lemon Curd
You can make the curd up to two weeks before you are ready to use it. Keep refrigerated.
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 4 lemons juiced and zested (room temperature lemons yield more juice)
- 1 cube of butter cut into slices and chilled
- Use a medium saucepan and fill it just enough so that there is about 1 inch of water in the pan.
- Bring this to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized metal bowl and whisk this until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Measure the lemon juice and if needed, add enough cold water to the lemon juice to equal 1/3 liquid cup.
- Add juice/water mixture and lemon zest to the egg mixture and whisk this until smooth.
- Once your water has reached simmering, reduce heat to low and place the bowl on top of the saucepan (so you are steaming the lemon mixture). The bowl should be large enough to fit on top of the saucepan without touching the water.
- Whisk until the lemon mixture thickens up (approximately 8 minutes) or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove immediately from heat and stir in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Allow each new piece of butter to melt before adding the next. Keep stirring.
- Remove mixture and place in a clean container.
- Cover with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd.
- Store in refrigerator and use for up to two weeks.
Lemon Tart With Fruit
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 30, 2011:
Thanks for the read Seafarer - glad you liked~
Karen A Szklany from New England on July 30, 2011:
These recipes are timeless...and so refreshing during the summer. Thanks for sharing! Very attractively laid-out hub. :0)
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on June 04, 2011:
Me too Lulu Sue - glad you enjoyed~
LULU SUE1987 on June 03, 2011:
I love anything lemon and these deserts sound so good.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on March 21, 2011:
Me too, Gigi - hope you like!
Gigi Thibodeau on March 20, 2011:
Wonderful recipes! I adore lemons, and those look wonderful. I think I need to make a tart this week! :)
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on February 25, 2011:
Good deal, Anamika - I think you'll find that they are easy and delish! You can 'cheat' and buy tart shells premade too and that saves a lot of time.
Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on February 24, 2011:
I absolutely love lemon tarts and normally buys it. Thanks for the recipe I will try to make it at home now!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 07, 2010:
Listlady, I hear you on the cooking this time of year - I tell myself to stop but it's hard to do! Glad someone else can get something good out of the recipes!!
TheListLady from New York City on October 07, 2010:
Oh, excellent. As we get into fall then winter I must visit and bookmark all your excellent baking hubs. If I am going to weigh 800 pounds by next spring - I want it to be worthwhile.
Thanks a million and rated up! Woo Hoo!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on July 07, 2010:
Thanks so much Gina for stopping by! I like most of all to take a 'classic' and revamp it so that it is healthier. Cooking Light magazine or their website is a great place to find ideas and recipes as well!
Gina Kensington - Fresh Fruit on July 06, 2010:
Outstanding hub on the advantages of consuming Lemon Tarts. It was very enlightening. Now i am searching for several healthy diet techniques. I've read the Accai berry also does miracles. Hope to see more of your posts.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on June 13, 2010:
Anamika - thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you love them - I sure do!
Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on June 13, 2010:
That looks yummy! I have never tried lemon tarts at home. Thanks for sharing!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on January 28, 2010:
Thanks for reading and glad to be of help in explaining it.
StrictlyQuotes from Australia on January 28, 2010:
Yummm! I love these receipe's! Thanks for making it seem so simple (I'm not the most experienced cook). Best wishes!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on December 21, 2009:
Coincidentally - my husband too - you are welcome - they are wonderful! Thanks so much for stopping by - Audrey
Christine Mulberry on December 21, 2009:
My husband l-o-v-e-s these things, thanks for the recipe.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on December 21, 2009:
I think so too! Thanks for stopping in - Audrey
Patti Ann from Florida on December 21, 2009:
Mmmm!! These sound delicious. Can't wait to try them - they will be great for the holidays.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on December 20, 2009:
Thanks and hope you enjoy them. Audrey
the rope on December 20, 2009:
Sounds wonderful! I'm adding these to my recipe files. Can't wait to try them. Thanks for sharing.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on December 19, 2009:
Thanks guys - I love lemon but these are just about the right size and tartness....glad you liked them...Audrey
sweetie1 from India on December 19, 2009:
Mouth watering dishes..i bookmarked this page and i am going to try it some time
europewalker on December 19, 2009:
These recipes make my mouthwater! I love lemon.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on December 07, 2009:
Thank you - I love lemon anything so hope you like it too! Thanks for stopping in - Audrey
BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on December 07, 2009:
This is absolutely mouthwatering - lemon does it!
What a treat! Thanks for great recipes - I'll bookmark and try!
Thanks so much!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on December 06, 2009:
Thanks - killer time of year for recipes! I'm in my element...as if I did not have enough recipes.
Holle Abee from Georgia on December 06, 2009:
Theses sound awesome! Thanks for sharing!