Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust



This is one of my favorite recipes. This isn’t your normal, boring lemon tart. For starters, the crust is a cookie. That’s right – it’s one giant shortbread cookie in the shape of crust. YUM. We could stop there, but no – the lemon filling gets some cream cheese in it to make it more cheesecake-like, and you throw on some whipped cream with a little lemon zest, and it’s the perfect combination of sweet, tart and bright.


It was gobbled right up at the housewarming BBQ I brought it to.


I use an 11 inch tart pan which makes for a pretty thin crust and filling. I’d recommend using a 9 inch one so it’s a little bit thicker.

I always thought that piping frosting or topping would be easy, and would instantly make any baked good look like it cam straight from a Paris-bakery. Turns out that’s not the case. Piping is hard work! How people get it to look so effortless and flawless is just beyond me. Normally, I would spread the topping across the top and leave it as is, but I got fancy this time. You should too when you try it, if you have a piping bag around.


Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking:

Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter

Step one, Process:

Combine all the ingredients into a food processor, and process until combined. I used to process it just until crumbly, but if you combine further to the point where it’s a few pieces. This makes it so much easier to spread out in the tart pan.

Step two, Create Crust:

Take a 9 inch tart pan (sshh! I’ve used an 11 inch without a problem) and spread out the dough in the pan. You can use your knuckles to get the dough pressed into the sides. Use the back of a spoon to smooth. Prick the crust with a fork, cover and freeze for 10-15 minutes while the oven is preheating at 425 degrees.

Step three, Pre-Bake:

Place the tart pan on a larger cookie sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees while you’re making the filing.

Lemon Filing and Whipped Topping:

5 ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)

1 tbls + 1 tsp lemon zest, divided (make sure to do that before juicing the lemons)

2 large eggs

1 cup whipping cream

2 tbls powdered sugar

Step four, Filling:

Combine the sugar and cream cheese in a food processor. Mix until smooth. Add the eggs, and mix. Add the zest (1 tbsp) and lemon juice, mixing until combined. Pour in pre-baked tart shell.

Step five, Bake:

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the middle is set and not wobbly. Remove from oven once done and let cool.

Step six, Whip it good!

Pour the cold whipping cream in a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and mix until the consistency of whipped cream. Add the powdered sugar and lemon zest. When the tart is fully cooled, add the whipped topping to the top of the tart in any way you’d like. I piped it using a piping bag, but I’ve spread it over the top in the past. I also like to garnish it with a lemon that way people know it’s a lemon tart.





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