These Mini Lemon Tarts are a perfect mix of tangy citrus and sweet flavors. All wrapped up in a delicious buttery shortbread crust. The filling in these tartlets is made from my homemade English lemon curd recipe that goes perfectly with the buttery crust. It’s seriously delicious!
This dessert is perfect in spring when there are a ton of available lemons on my trees, but honestly, you can make and devour these fabulous treats anytime.
I have to say, lemon desserts are totally my favorites! They’re light, refreshing, and not too heavy on the palate. And the best part? We’ve got five lemon trees in our yard, so it only makes sense to use them in all my cooking and baking.
Here are a few recipes you might enjoy taking a look at:
- The Best Lemon Sour Cream Pie
- Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
- Pan Fried Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Herbs
Tips to Make This Recipe
- I like to prepare the ingredients before making the lemon curd since it can be hectic once things start on the stove.
- The lemon curd is kind of touchy to make. It needs to cook for 25 minutes on low heat. If the egg curdles, put the curd through a sieve.
- Make the crust and lemon curd beforehand, but create the lemon tarts right before serving.
- Use fresh lemons. Fresh lemons will give your tart a bright, citrusy flavor. Be sure to zest the lemons before juicing them, as you’ll need the zest for the filling.
- I know most tart crusts are blind-baked, but I didn’t, and it turned out fine. The dough does puff up, but there was space for the filling.
- The lemon curd recipe makes enough to fill two tarts with extra curd. So, store the rest in the refrigerator and spread it on toast or a delicious scone.
How to Make These Mini Lemon Tarts
Ingredients You’ll Need
I used my Meyer lemons, but regular lemons are fine too.
You’ll need to bring the eggs to room temperature. You can leave them out to get the right temp or place them in a bowl of warm water. Keep the water running on them for a couple of minutes. Room-temperature eggs mix better with the other ingredients, thus preventing scrambled eggs in the curd.
I used salted butter, but either kind will work. I love the little hint of salt, which brings out the butter flavor. Bring the butter to room temperature. You can help this along by cubing the sticks of butter.
Add as much zest as you wish. The more zest, the more lemon flavor your curd!
I used regular granulated sugar. I have also made it with organic sugar, and the texture comes out the same despite the sugar’s coarser grains.
Flour is the main ingredient for the tart crust. It provides structure to the crust and helps it hold its shape.
Baking powder is a leavening agent that helps the crust to rise slightly and become light and airy. This is especially important for a tart crust, as it helps to create a tender and flaky texture.
Salt enhances the crust’s flavor and balances out the sweetness of the filling. It also helps to strengthen the flour’s gluten, improving the crust’s texture and structure.
Butter is a crucial ingredient in the tart crust, providing richness and flavor. Combined with flour, it creates a tender and crumbly texture perfect for a tart crust.
Powdered sugar is used in the filling of a lemon tart to sweeten it and create a smooth, creamy texture. It also helps to balance out the acidity of the lemon juice and provides a subtle sweetness that complements the tartness of the filling.
Step 1 – Prep Ingredients
Get all your ingredients ready.
Step 2 – Whisk Eggs
Thoroughly whisk eggs in a medium-sized pan.
Step 3 – Mix Curd
Add sugar, lemon juice, and zest to whisked eggs. Whisk ingredients thoroughly. Next, add the cubes of butter to the egg mixture. Note that the butter will melt in the next couple of minutes of cooking.
Step 4 – Cook Curd
Turn on the burner to the lowest heat setting.
Place the saucepan on the stove and constantly stir with a rubber spatula. The heat should be at the lowest setting. Make sure not to boil curd, or it will split. Stir with a spatula for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, increase the heat to a low-medium flame. Stir constantly. The curd goes from a liquid yellow to an opaque creamy color in the last two minutes of cooking. It will thicken quite nicely in the previous 5 minutes.
Step 5 – Strain Curd
Once it thickens, remove the stovetop and immediately transfer the cooked curd to a bowl. Make sure to keep stirring for a couple of minutes as it cools. If you get bits of scrambled egg, strain the curd or pluck out the bits of egg. The scrambled egg won’t affect the flavor but is just an aesthetic choice.
Step 6 – Store Curd
Set aside curd to fill tarts. Pour into a clean jar and place in the fridge once cooled. The lemon curd should last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Step 1 – Heat Oven
Preheat oven to 300°
Step 2 – Make Dough
Sift flour and measure. Next, sift the flour and baking powder, and salt together.
Mix butter with sugar until very light and fluffy. Add flour mixture and combine thoroughly. The dough is a bit dry, so mix it by hand to combine the ingredients.
Step 3 – Make Tarts
Mold the dough into a greased mini-tart pan. Make sure to distribute the dough in the pan evenly. I made a little crust rim at the top. Use one hand to pat down the sides and the other to create a little lip at the top. Next, take a fork and poke holes in the bottom of the crust.
Step 4 – Bake
Bake at 300°F. 20 to 25 minutes. Or until golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a baking rack.
Once the crust is cooled, add lemon curd and dust with powdered sugar.
Mini Lemon Tarts
- 1 cups sifted flour Sift flour and then measure
- ⅛ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter soften and room temperature
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
Lemon Curd Filling
- 1 cup butter room temperatur
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs room temperature
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 lemons for zesting
- Preheat oven to 300°Sift flour and measure.
- Next, sift the flour and baking powder, and salt together.
- Mix butter with sugar until very light and fluffy.
- Add flour mixture and combine thoroughly.
- Mold the dough into a greased mini tart pan. Make sure to distribute the dough in the pan evenly.
- Bake at 300°F. 20 to 25 minutes. Or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on a baking rack.
- Get all your ingredients ready.
- Thoroughly whisk eggs in a bowl. Add whisked eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a medium-sized saucepan. Whisk ingredients thoroughly.
- Next, add the cubes of butter to the egg mixture. Note that the butter will melt in the next couple of minutes of cooking. Turn on the burner to the lowest heat setting. Place the saucepan on the stove and constantly stir with a rubber spatula. The heat should be at the lowest setting.
- Make sure not to boil curd, or it will split. Stir with a spatula for 25 minutes. If the curd begins to boil, take the pan off the burner and let it cool down. Return it to the stove and lower the heat if you can.
- After 25 minutes, increase the heat to a low-medium flame. Stir constantly. The curd goes from a yellow color to an opaque creamy color in the last two minutes of cooking. It will thicken quite nicely in the last 5 minutes.
- Once it thickens, remove it from the stovetop and immediately transfer the cooked curd to a bowl. Make sure to keep stirring for a couple of minutes as it cools. If you get bits of scrambled egg, strain the curd or pluck out the bits of egg. The scrambled egg won't doesn't affect the flavor but is just an aesthetic choice
- This recipe makes 2 cups of lemon curd. Fill cooled tarts and pour extra curd into a clean jar and place in the fridge once cooled.
Do lemon tarts need to be refrigerated?
Generally, tarts with a custard or cream-based filling, like lemon tarts, should be refrigerated to prevent spoilage and maintain their texture and flavor. If you like, make the curd filling and crust ahead of time and refrigerate the lemon curd. But if make the whole tart at once, cool it before serving.
How long does lemon curd last refrigerated?
When stored properly in an airtight container, homemade lemon curd can last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It’s important to note that lemon curd’s high sugar and acid content acts as a natural preservative. However, it’s still essential to ensure it’s stored in a clean, airtight container to prevent contamination and maintain freshness.
Can you freeze lemon curd?
Frozen lemon curd can last for up to 6 months in the freezer. If you’re not planning to use the lemon curd within two weeks, you can freeze it for longer storage. Just be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator before using it.
Can you substitute Meyer lemons for lemons when baking?
Yes! The Meyer lemons are less tangy. Also, since they are half-orange, you can use them when a recipe calls for oranges.
My lemon curd has a few cooked eggs. Is that normal?
Yes, I get a few pieces despite cooking the curd over low heat. A double broiler would probably prevent this from happening. But, no worries, strain the curd once it is cooked.
Why We Love This Recipe
These tarts have an outstanding balance of sweet and tangy flavors that tantalize taste buds. Plus, the buttery shortbread crust is the perfect compliment to the zesty lemon filling, it’s like your own little slice of heaven! The tart size is just right for a little personal treat – not too or too small!
Also, if you whip up the tart and lemon curd ahead of time and combine them just before serving, it’s a total game-changer in terms of convenience. And to top it off, the crust stays fresh and crispy this way.
History of the Lemon Tart
As you know, I love to dive into the history of some desserts. So let’s talk about lemon tarts.
Did you know that lemon tarts are rooted in French cuisine and are believed to have originated in the city of Nancy which is in the northeast of France?
The classic French lemon tart, or tarte au citron, consists of a shortbread crust pastry shell filled with tangy and creamy lemon custard or curd made with fresh lemon juice, sugar, butter, and eggs.
The French are known for their love of desserts, and lemon tarts are no exception tarte au citron is considered a classic dessert in French cuisine. The tarte au citron is regarded as a traditional dessert in French cuisine. They have been a popular dessert in France for centuries and are often served in patisseries and cafes throughout the country.
This recipe is fresh and delicious! Mini lemon tarts have a tangy and refreshing flavor that is perfect for a sweet treat on a hot day or after a heavy meal.
These tiny tarts are just the right size for a sweet personal treat when hanging out with your friends and family.
Plus, they look so pretty and impressive.