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Lemon Tarts With Two Shell Options (Almond or Cream Cheese)

Audrey loves creating new flavors by tweaking recipes to include healthier ingredients. But everyone deserves a sweet treat now and then!

Lemon tart

Lemon tart

Lemon Tarts

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


  1. 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.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix until a soft dough forms.
  3. Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Spray tart pan(s) lightly with cooking spray.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Cool on rack.
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Read More From Delishably

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


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, combine the almonds, brown sugar and vanilla wafers and process until they are ground into a fine meal.
  3. While the motor is running, take the melted butter and drizzle that into the food chute and process until blended.
  4. 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.)
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until toasted.
  6. Cool on rack.
  7. 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


  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. 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.
  3. In a mixer bowl, add the egg whites and salt to the bowl and mix at high speed until there are soft peaks forming.
  4. Mix the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan and bring this to a boil.
  5. Boil until a candy thermometer registers 250 degrees.
  6. Pour this hot candy syrup as a thin stream into the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form.
  7. Spread the egg mixture over the tarts.
  8. 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


  1. Use a medium saucepan and fill it just enough so that there is about 1 inch of water in the pan.
  2. Bring this to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  3. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized metal bowl and whisk this until smooth (about 1 minute).
  4. Measure the lemon juice and if needed, add enough cold water to the lemon juice to equal 1/3 liquid cup.
  5. Add juice/water mixture and lemon zest to the egg mixture and whisk this until smooth.
  6. 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.
  7. Whisk until the lemon mixture thickens up (approximately 8 minutes) or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
  8. 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.
  9. Remove mixture and place in a clean container.
  10. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd.
  11. Store in refrigerator and use for up to two weeks.

Lemon Tart With Fruit

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