Lemon Tarts

December 22nd, 2008

The holidays are a great time for new recipes. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday parties, and whatever gets thrown in between, people eat a lot of really delicious food as the year ends. And although this blog has been heavily dessert-focused lately, I hope you won’t mine one more.

Because I think this recipe is a little special.  To start with, this is not your usual pie crust.  This crust has extra spices baked into it, which are subtle but add a lot of flavor depth.  Also, this is my first attempt at using cold vodka to replace ice water in a pie crust recipe, and I am a total convert.  No alcohol taste at all, and the crust didn’t shrink a bit!  Usually when I use my tiny pie molds, I end up with miniscule, misshapen mini-pies — but not this time.

Last, and I think somewhat creatively, I actually made these crusts in cupcake tins.  At this point in my kitchen, I’ve made individual desserts enough times that I’ve bought a lot of smaller tart molds, but this is great if you’re looking for something special for the holidays with kitchen equipment that you already have.  And who doesn’t have a cupcake or muffin tin in a drawer somewhere?

So, there go your excuses.  Guess you’ll just have to make these.

Spiced-Crust Lemon Tarts


For crust:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 tbsp vodka
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

For filling:
2 eggs
1 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place flour, sugar, salt, butter, egg, spices and vodka in a food processor. Pulse until blended into one large ball of dough.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface, into an approximately 14″ square. Cut the dough into 9 equally-sized pieces.  Press one piece of dough into each section of a muffin pan, and trim the edges evenly.  Prick the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork so air can escape.

Bake the tart crusts for 15-20 minutes, or until the tarts’ edges are just slightly golden. Place on a counter or table to cool.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the baking powder and two tbsp of flour, and stir the mixture into the eggs. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour over the crust and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until just set.

Makes 9 individual tarts.

Tags: desserts · food

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Joy // Dec 22, 2008 at 7:44 am

    My brother just asked me to make key lime pie. I think I’ll just make your recipe with key lime! Perfect. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

    And happy holidays!!!

  • 2 maris // Dec 22, 2008 at 7:58 am

    I love the spiced crusts! It sounds like that would add a really nice touch

  • 3 Elle // Dec 22, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Beautiful!  so the vodka in the crust keeps it from shrinking?  That’s genius!

  • 4 Kristen // Dec 22, 2008 at 10:02 am

    So should the recipe read… one part vodka for the crust, five parts vodka for my martini? That’s how I would make it.  I’m a baking genius! Ha!

    Miss you and happy holidays!

  • 5 VeggieGirl // Dec 22, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Looks wonderful!!

    Have a lovely holiday season, Katy!!

  • 6 Rita // Dec 22, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I’ve made the regular lemon squares before, those reminded me of them. The spiced up pastry dough sounds so good!
    Happy Holidays to you!

  • 7 Pearl // Dec 22, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    ooh that is SO pretty!

  • 8 emily // Dec 22, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    These were absolutely delicious.  the crust was to die for.  i dont know why more people don’t spice up their crusts…it really adds a lot…without overpowering the lemon.  im with kristen re: the martinis by the way…

  • 9 VeggieGirl // Dec 23, 2008 at 11:18 am


  • 10 mimi // Dec 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    such great looking tarts! love the idea of making spiced crust to go with the lemony goodness.

  • 11 Kristen // Dec 23, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    I’m glad you agree with me, Emily!  Happy holidays to you, too.  🙂

  • 12 Sara // Dec 26, 2008 at 12:58 am

    I just made these, and they are cooling right now! I can’t wait to taste them, but mine don’t look very pretty, haha. I’ve never made a tart or tartlet before and they’re kinda lumpy looking. 🙂 Although I know they’ll taste great!

    I do have a question though…your ingredient list says 2 Tbsp flour for the filling, but the directions say 1/4 cup…which one is it?

  • 13 Alina // Sep 29, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Mmm, this spicy crust must be great. It goes perfectly with the tangy lemon filling!

Leave a Comment