Two-bite lemon tartlets are cute little tasty treats that use an entire lemon in the filling. They're 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!
Yes, use the entire lemon
This lemon tart recipe is unusual because you use the whole lemon, not just the juice or zest, in the filling.
You can use a standard grocery store lemon (Eureka variety) for tart lemon intensity. To tone down the tartness a bit, you can also use Meyer lemons, a sweeter lemon variety that's usually available in early spring.
How to make lemon tartlets
Step 1: Make your tartlet shells
Roll out your chilled shortcrust pastry to about ¼ inch thickness (about the height of two stacked quarters). Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut out circles for the tartlet 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.
Step 2: Prepare your lemons
Be sure to check if the thickness of the white ring of the skin (the pith) is larger than ¼-inch thick. If so, that could make the filling taste bitter.
If that's the case, 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).
Step 3: Make the filling
Put all the lemon slices (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.
Step 4: Fill & bake the tartlets
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). You don't want to have to dig your tartlets out of the pan!
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions that you might have...
To make a gluten-free version, or if you have extra filling, you can pour the filling into buttered ramekins and bake for about 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar after chilling. It’s quite yummy, like a cross between pudding and soufflé.
You can make one whole tart instead of the mini tartlets. Follow the directions above, pressing the shortcrust pastry into a 9-inch tart pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the filling is set (it will jiggle slightly in the middle and will be very light brown). Cool on a wire rack, then chill.
Store the tartlets in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can serve them chilled or at room temperature, your call. They freeze well, and just need about 30 minutes on the counter to defrost.
Tasty portion-controlled lemon tarts
Have I mentioned these mini lemon tarts have sweet lemony goodness in spades? And the crust has the perfect balance of sweetness and sturdiness.
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!
Want lemony goodness in your life? Try some of these citrus recipes!
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Two-Bite Lemon Tartlets
- 1 recipe basic shortcrust pastry
- 1 lemon, rinsed and dried
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 4 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- Prepare one basic whortcrust pastry recipe.
- Preheat the oven 400°F. Spray the cups of the mini muffin pans with baking spray.
- For the tartlet shells: Roll out the chilled shortcrust pastry and cut rounds using a 2½-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 ¼-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.