These two-bite lemon tartlets are yummy and cute, using an entire lemon. Plus, they're made with everyday ingredients. Portion-controlled lemony goodness!
I love the idea of two-bite brownies or mini muffins. Besides being cute, mini treats allow for automatic portion control (much like cookies). This way I can take two (ok, maybe three) and feel like I've had enough.
Two-bite tartlets offer that same level of portion control...I can grab a couple of these babies without feeling guilty or overindulgent. That's an idea I can get behind.
Lemon tarts with a twist
I've always said I love a lemon treat..it's like eating a slice of sunshine. Whether it's Lemon Bars, Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake, Limoncello Cake, or just a Lemon Shortbread cookie, that tartness just wakes up something bright and sunny in me.
So when I saw this recipe for Smitten Kitchen's Whole Lemon Tart, I knew it was something I wanted to try. But since I have little self control when it comes to slicing tarts, cakes, pies, etc., I decided to make a two-bite version instead.
Two-Bite Lemon tartlets? Yes, please!
What you need
- Shortcrust Pastry: Every good tart needs a flaky & sturdy base. My Basic Shortcrust Pastry fits the bill perfectly
- Lemon: A standard grocery store lemon (Eureka variety) makes for tart lemon intensity
- Sugar: The sweetness needs to come from somewhere!
- Butter: Adds richness to the lemon custard
- Eggs: Binds the custard while adding richness
- Cornstarch: Thickens the custard
- Salt: You need a little salt to counterbalance the sweetness
- Powdered sugar: For dusting the tartlets to make them look pretty
Yes, use the entire lemon
This lemon tart recipe is unusual because you use the whole lemon, not just the juice or zest. Once caveat though...be sure to check if the thickness of the white ring of the skin (the pith) is larger than 1/4-inch thick. If so, that could make the filling taste bitter.
Just pare the skin from one half of the lemon, then cut the zest from the discarded skin. Pare away any of the pith that might still be on that zest. Then you can continue with cutting the lemon halves into thin slices before tossing them into the food processor (don't forget to removed the seeds first).
Tips for tartlet success
Roll out your chilled shortcrust pastry to about 1/4 inch thickness (about the height of two stacked quarters). Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut out circles for the tart shells.
I use a pastry dough tart tamper to press the shortcrust pastry circles into the cavities of the mini muffin pan. Poke the pastry dough with a fork, then freeze for 15 minutes before par baking them. This method will keep the mini tart shells from slumping down too much.
After par baking the shortcrust, use a small 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion in the lemon custard batter into the shells. Be careful not to overfill them...I learned the hard way that the lemon filling can stick to the pan (even after spraying with baking spray).
I ended up having to dig out some of the tartlets using a tool that wouldn't scratch my muffin pan. Live and learn.
Have I mentioned these mini lemon tarts have sweet lemony goodness in spades? And the crust has the perfect balance of sweetness and sturdiness. Plus, they freeze well, and just need about 30 minutes out on the counter to defrost.
Two-bite lemon tartlets are two-bites of lemony sunshine and will brighten your day. Portion control? Well, maybe I'll just have one more...
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
More recipes using lemons
Want more lemony goodness in your life? Try some of these lemon recipes!
Recipes with lemons...
- Lemon Curd
- Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake
- Mint Lemon Lime Bars
- Mini Limoncello Cake
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- Hollandaise Sauce
Drinks featuring lemons...
Two-Bite Lemon Tartlets
- 1 basic shortcrust pastry, see instructions below for link
- 1 lemon, rinsed and dried (about 4-1/2 oz, 130g)
- 1½ cups sugar, (10-3/4 oz, 300 grams)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks (4 oz, 113g)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch, (1/2 oz, 14g)
- ¼ tsp salt
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- Prepare one Basic Shortcrust Pastry recipe
- For the tartlet shells: Roll out the chilled shortcrust pastry and cut rounds using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Using a pastry dough tart tamper, push the rounds into the muffin pan cups. Chill the dough for 15 minutes in the freezer or 30 minutes in the refrigerator to firm up. You don’t want slumped tartlet shells.
- Partially bake the tartlet shells for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven to cool while you make the filling.
- Turn oven down to 350°F.
- For the filling: Cut the lemon in half. Check if the thickness of the white ring of the skin (the pith) is larger than 1/4-inch thick. If so, pare the zest from one half of the lemon, cutting away any of the pith before proceeding. Slice the lemon halves into thin slices, removing the seeds.
- Put the entire slice (and any zest pieces), sugar, and butter into the container of a food processor. Purée the mixture, scraping down the sides of the container as needed, until the lemon is chopped fine. Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse until the batter is smooth.
- Use a small cookie scoop to portion 1 tablespoon of the batter into each of the pastry cups. Try not to pour it past the top of the tart shells or it will become difficult to unmold later.
- Bake the tartlets for 25 to 30 minutes or until the filling is set (it will jiggle slightly and be very light brown on top).
- Cool the tartlets in the pan placed on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then take them out of the pan to the wire rack. If necessary, use a tool that won’t damage your pan to pry the tarts out. Let the tartlets cool completely. Chill before serving if desired.
- Dust with powdered sugar, then serve and enjoy.