Snack Time: Lemon Tassies

/ Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mini pie? Cheesecake? Cupcake? Nay, 'tis a tassie. These tiny treats are inspired by the French word for cup tasse. A simple shortbread dough is blind baked, filled with custard and baked once more to create a one bite dessert fit for un roi! I was a bit confused to find this recipe in Martha's latest Cookie Book, considering that most people define a tassie as a mini-tart. Who am I to judge though, right? A rose is a rose is a rose.

There are two things that you'll love about this recipe...
1. The fresh lemon zest used in the filling, as well as the crust, make these tassies a perfect spring time dessert. The lemony tang is grounded by the buttery shortbread & custard filling. There's something very honest, yet refreshing, about these sweets. I urge you to give them a try.

2. Martha suggests that you use a mini muffin tin for tart molds. There is absolutely no buttering & flouring of miniature fluted pans, thank goodness! Simply spray your muffin tin with cooking spray, drop in rounds of dough and smooth the crust into place using your fingers. Could it be any more simple?

When the weather begins to warm I turn into a lemon addict: lemon cookies, lemon cupcakes, lemon bars, lemon tarts. It's a perennial problem. If you'd prefer to use a different citrus fruit, feel free to make substitutions. These tassies would also be delicious using grapefruit, lime, orange or tangerine. Enjoy!

  • Lemon Tassies - by Martha Stewart
  • Ingredients:
  • Crust:
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with rack in upper third. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour and butter. Pulse until mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. Add the sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Process until evenly incorporated and smooth; do not overprocess.
  2. Divide the dough into quarters. Divide each quarter into 6 pieces. Shape into balls. Place each ball in a muffin cup; press down in the centers so that the dough fits the cups snugly. Set muffin pan on a baking sheet. [I used a 35mm ice cream scoop to measure out the dough, instead of dividing & rolling each ball]
  3. Bake until lightly browned all over and slightly darker at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer baking sheet with muffin pan to a wire rack to cool.
  4. Make the filling: In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla until completely smooth. Using a 1/4-ounce ice cream scoop, fill the cooled crusts. Bake until filling is set and just beginning to color at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer muffin pan to a wire rack. Garnish with candied lemon peel. Let cool completely before serving. The tassies may be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

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