Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts for My Dear Mom

Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts for My Dear Mom
For those of you who have forgotten…
Mother’s Day is lurking just around the corner.
This is not a joke.
I am not even foolin.
This past week I have been thinking a lot about my own dear Mother and all of the great things she has taught me over the years.
Do you ever find yourself saying things to your own kids that your Mother used to say to you?
It happens a lot at my house. 
Sure am glad mine had so many good things to say.
Some of the things I have learned from my Mom are….
1. Visiting with strangers in the grocery store
is important and smiled upon.
2. Visiting with anyone, anywhere
is important and smiled upon.
2. Keeping track of dear friends and family
 (“your roots” as she would say)
makes your life full and wonderful.
3. Getting the giggles at inopportune moments
during the prayer at church…
in the middle of a wedding…
any place where it should be quiet and all normal people are acting sophisticated….
is a curse….and a curse we carry with a chuckle in our hearts. 
My apologies if I have offended any of you with my inappropriate chuckling.
You know who you are….
Aunt Thelma?
4. Laughter is the best medicine. You can take it anywhere and it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. Laughing your guts out can really brighten up the day.
5. Show grace under pressure.
6. Be kind and good to everyone you meet.
7. Reading to your kids is a pleasure.
8. Reading a good book for yourself is a heavenly pleasure.
9. Cook up a meal every night for your family.
10. Let’s just all LOVE EACH OTHER.
“Just let it go….”
“Take that one off your list….”
“Don’t worry about that one for one more second….”
11. Stand by your man.
She sounds like a pretty spectacular lady,
doesn’t she?  She is!
 I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of you have visited with her at the grocery store at some point in your life!
Each year that goes by and I experience more of what raising a large family is like…
my admiration
and respect
and understanding
and appreciation
for her grows tremendously.
I made these Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts this week with her in mind. Lemon Meringue Pie has always been one of her favorites….just hope I can get some of these tarts to her house before my kids scarf them up!
Love you, Mom.
Happy Mothers Day…..
Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts
Yield: 24 tarts
Time: 1 1/2 hours + 1 hour refrigeration 
Crust recipe from Julie Thomson
Filling Recipe from Taste of Home

Crust: (this crust recipe makes 24 tarts, or 2-3 pie crusts…depending on how thin you roll it!)
3 C flour
1 t salt
1 1/3 C shortening, butter flavored
2 T sugar
5 T cold ice water
1 egg, beaten
1 t vinegar

Lemon Filling:
1 1/2 C sugar
6 T cornstarch
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 C water
2 T butter
2 t grated lemon peel
6 drops yellow food coloring
1/2 C fresh lemon juice

Cream Cheese Topping:
1   8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 C cool whip
1 T fresh lemon juice

1. For the crust, put the flour, salt, sugar and shortening in your stand mixer and mix with the whisk attachment just until it starts to form a crumb like mixture. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can just put the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork, or pastry blender.
2. Turn the mixer on to low and add 5 T cold ice water. Don’t add any of the ice….just the cold water. I just fill up a bowl with water and ice and then measure out the 5 T.
3. Add one beaten egg.
4. Add 1 t vinegar. Mix the dough until all ingredients are combined. Don’t over mix here folks. Just get them combined and you are good to go.
5. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Flour your counter top just a bit and then roll each section out. It helps to flour your rolling pin and your dough as well. You don’t want it to stick to the counter top.
6. Cut out the tarts with a large star or flower cookie cutter. You could also use a large cup, or small bowl.
7. Gently place the cut out dough in regular sized muffin tins. Use a fork to poke some holes in the bottom of each shell.
8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. You don’t want them to get too brown. Keep and eye on them and take them out just when the tips of the shells start to turn a golden color.
9. Take the pans out of the oven and set them on cooling racks for about 10 minutes. Don’t remove the shells yet. They need time to sit and cool in the muffin tins. This will help them keep their lovely form. After the 10 minutes are up carefully take them out of the tins and let them continue to cool on the wire racks.
1. Zest your lemons and squeeze the juice. Set both of these aside.
2. In a sauce pan combine 3/4 C sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
3. Reduce the heat and add the remaining sugar.
4. Cook until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, lemon peel, and food coloring. When these are combined gently stir in the lemon juice. Do not over mix.
6. Let the filling cool for about 10 minutes. Then pour into the pastry shells. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
                            CREAM CHEESE TOPPING
1. Beat your softened cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Add the cool whip and lemon juice and beat for another minute.
2. Pipe the topping onto the tarts and enjoy!
Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Check out Mommy’s Kitchen for more great recipes!

Post a comment!


  1. 1
    April 30, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    oh yum. I love lemon pie so these look amazing. and your mom sounds like a fantastic person also. I'm sure she'll enjoy these tarts if they make it there. I always make my mom this amazing cheese cake for mothers day, it's a must I'm told now!

  2. 2
    April 30, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I love it Jame!!! Just be sure to have a pair of sunglasses with you everywhere you go to cover up those 'sneak attacks of the giggles!!!!'

  3. 3
    May 1, 2010 at 4:22 am

    sooo beautiful 😉

  4. 4
    May 1, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Your mother does sound very special indeed! These tarts are perfect for her. They look fantastic. Great process photos! Thanks!

  5. 5
    May 1, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    The use of the star pastry cutouts really caught my attention. Very cute idea.

  6. 6
    May 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Just found your blog from foodgawker – love it – will have to catch up on everything next week – but definitely will be making these tarts.

  7. 7
    May 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    These look absolutely wonderful! I love how you shaped the tarts with a cookie cutter- they are adorable, and tasty too I'll bet. I'll definitely try these. Thanks, Betty

  8. 8
    May 1, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Great tips! I learned to visit with strangers in the grocery store from my dad, but I sometimes feel like it's not very well-received… No matter – I still do it 😛

    I love the shape you used to cut the shells. They're very cute!

  9. 9
    May 2, 2010 at 1:32 am

    very cute! I think I have a similar cookie cutter and never thought about using it to line my mini muffin pan…great idea!!!

  10. 10
    May 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    OMG omg!! This is so infectious.. I'm putting the computer right now and going into the kitchen..I'm not even kidding..I'm drooling like a dog seeing all the picture..This is one of my favorites.

  11. 11
    May 3, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Wow, I love that you used a cookie cutter to cut out flower shapes for your tarts. I recently made lemon tart for a baking challenge and wish I had thought of this!
    Wonderful idea, lovely photos.

  12. 12
    May 4, 2010 at 2:22 am

    I made these tonight for FHE. I wanted to lighten it up a bit so I used Phillo dough as the crust and I used fat free cream cheese and lite cool whip. The Phillo dough worked great, but the cream cheese and cool whip was not thick enough to pipe. I even added quite a bit more powdered sugar. I also don't think I cooked the filling long enough. It was pretty runny Jamie, how long does it usually take for the filling to thicken? Even with it runny my family still loved them. I plan on adding those to my make often list. I also might try making a key lime tart using this recipe.

  13. 13
    May 4, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Thanks for your question. The filling should thicken up after about 3-4 of cooking, once the heat is reduced and the second 3/4 C of sugar is added (step 4). However it sets up very well after it's refrigerated (step 6). I'm glad your family liked them!

  14. 14
    May 4, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Your sister Alli told me about your blog and I LOVE IT!!
    I posted a link to this recipe on my blog: http://ificould-ificould.blogspot.com/2010/05/lemon-cream-cheese-tarts.html

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  15. 15
    May 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Jamie,
    These are so pretty! I love lemon desserts. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  16. 16
    May 17, 2010 at 1:10 am

    These look so yummy!

  17. 17
    April 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Just found your blog from foodgawker – love it – will have to catch up on everything next week – but definitely will be making these tarts.

  18. 18
    May 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I am going to give these a whirl this mother's day…i think…i hope. i plan to anyway. i loved reading those things about your mom. she sounds so great! i can see why you are the way you are. you have taught me so many things, jamie. among them, is to just give people the benefit of the doubt. you mentioned that in your comment in RS today. i have long noticed how good you are at this. it's something i need to work on. what a great example you are to me.
    also, thanks goodness for your blog! when i got home from church today my daughter had pizza on the brain. homeade pizza to be exact. i love that with a few clicks i know i am sure to find a great recipe on your blog! thanks for all you do!

  19. 19
    May 2, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Hi Carrie,
    Thanks for your sweet words. Made my day.
    Love you,
    PS…glad you found the pizza recipe you needed!

  20. 20
    May 7, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I made these today and I AM IN HEAVEN. I love these with all my heart. I made them for my sisters for Mother's day, and I am not sure i can let them go. in order to have enough to go around, i only allowed myself to eat one. i will dream about them until i make them again, i just know it. Lol. I gave my husband one and he DIED. he said it was the best dessert i have ever made and the crust was so flaky and delicious! i am not master baker, just goes to show what a good recipe can do for a gal like me. Haha. super duper good. thanks!!! will be making again soon, and i'll probably eat all 24 myself. oh, no!! but OH YES! 😉

  21. 21
    June 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    What a unique way to make pie crust – I saw someone do that on Food Network last night. Now I'll have to try it! I love the look of your tarts, especially the cream cheese topping.

  22. 22
    January 13, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I made these along with some other pastries for my sisters 20th wedding anniversary. They were fantastic. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  23. 23
    January 31, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Quick Question…how far in advance can I make the topping? I want to make it tomorrow for an event Saturday night? I have already made the pie crusts and are in the freezer and the lemon curd but I want the topping to stay nice and fluffy but I will not have the time to make right before…any suggestions?

    • 24
      January 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Hi Emily,
      Wow! You are very prepared. This topping will keep well for several days. I would imagine it to be fine if you made it today. However, store it in a covered bowl rather than a piping bag. It may start to separate (because of the lemon juice) and you'll need to stir it before you pipe it onto your tarts. Good luck! Hope everything turns out well for you.

  24. 25
    Becky Ethington
    March 18, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Hi! I just noticed that the listed recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of sugar in the lemon filling but the pictured directions says 3/4 of a cup. Please advise! Becky E.

    • 26
      March 18, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Hi Becky,
      Thanks for your question. If you notice in the instructions, you add the remaining 3/4 C sugar once the mixture has come to a boil. Good luck! Hope you love them. This is one of my all time favorites. 🙂

      • 27
        Becky Ethington
        March 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm

        Of course not! I love asking silly questions that have already been answered. I did scan but my attention was also on other things so I am not surprised I didn’t catch it. Thanks for being patient! These little lemon darlings will be part of my Easter celebration. Keep up the great website! It’s my favorite food blog by far. 🙂

  25. 28
    Beth Jenkins
    May 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    OH My!!! These are soooo good !!! If you are a lemon lover you will love these. The dough turned out great and I wasn’t sure it was going to, it was easy too. Also the custard filling turned out great. The only issue I had was finding the right cookie cutter. I tried a star and that wasn’t big enough to fill a regular muffin pan ..as I was afraid the custard would run out. I liked the look of the ones in the picture but I used a scalloped edged round cutter, they turned out cute. It takes a little time to make the pastry cups, you know roll, cut, place in pan, bake, cool etc… But that’s what homemade is about, mine made 37. Very good thanks for sharing Jamie.

  26. 29
    May 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Hello just have a question instead of making the crust can store bouhht crust be used? Thank you

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