June 16, 2013

Creamy Lemon Tart

I have a garden!! My very first garden!! The Geologist came home Friday with a window box for me. Technically it's not a box, but it's exactly what I've always wanted. He knows how to make me happy! A neighbor asked , "Isn't it Father's Day? Why is he buying you presents??" Because he likes me :) Besides, we're celebrating Father's Day next weekend, since I seem to have caught yet another 24 hour bug of some sort. Anyway, of course we had to go out and fill it immediately! I bought:

Two kinds of dahlias,

Black and gold pansies,
Lemon thyme (because I use thyme more than any other herb, and this lemon thyme smells fabulous!!)
and this white frilly stuff whose name I can't remember, but it's pretty!
I've mentioned before that I have anything BUT a green thumb. So this is my very first garden experiment! Here's hoping I can keep it alive!

In other news, Happy Father's Day to all Fathers, future-fathers, father-figures, fathers-in-law, step-fathers, god-fathers, etc. out there in the big wide world! You are so important. So crucial, so loved and appreciated. I am blessed to have the best Father in the world. I always wanted to marry a man like him, and I did! I wouldn't be the Mom I am today without my Dad. He taught me to work hard, laugh lots, and have off-the-beaten-path family adventures. I am a Daddy's girl, even if I didn't realize it till I left home. We may not talk nearly every day like I do with my Mom, but I miss him, love him tons, and can't wait till he settles down an hour away from me. :) He's also the best Grandpa in the world, and my boys adore him. 
I love you Daddy!

Creamy Lemon Tart (adapted from Bakerette)
Printable Recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tb powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 Tb cold butter, cut into chunks

5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest it before juicing the lemon)
Juice of 2 large lemons, about 1/2 cup, a little more or less is fine(do NOT use concentrated lemon juice)

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 oz cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons powdered sugar

Grease an 8-9 inch tart pan with removable bottom and set aside.

Crust: Add all of the crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse until dough starts to form and clumps together. (You can also rub the butter in with your fingers, or beat together in a mixer. Mixture will be crumbly) Transfer to the prepared tart pan and press the dough out and up the sides of the pan with your fingers, as evenly as possible. Using the tines of a fork, pierce the bottoms and sides of the pastry a few times to keep from puffing out while baking. Place the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove crust from the freezer and bake on a baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Filling: Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and blended. Add the eggs one at a time, mixxing well and scraping down the sides after each. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and continue to blend until smooth.
Pour filling into prepared crust and bake on a baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until filling is set. (no longer wiggly) Remove and let cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes. Cover and place in the refrigerator until well chilled.
Topping: Beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add heavy cream and beat until the cream begins to thicken and soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, still beating, until cream forms stiff peaks. (Stop before it starts looking lumpy!) You can serve this topping separately, like whipped cream, or smooth/pipe over the top of the tart.
I realize most of you probably have circular tart pans, but you can make this in a small rectangular one too! I love using this one, my Mom bought it for me in FRANCE!
This tart is simply delicious. A perfect, elegant summer dessert. A light and tart, tangy, creamy lemon layer on top of slightly sweet shortbread...
Topped with a cloud of fluffy whipped cream cheese, light as air! The Geologist's review was "It's LOTS better than lemon bars!" I agree. I'd pick this over a lemon bar any day!
I will admit to eating two more bars of this for breakfast the next morning...


  1. Yay on the garden! A garden is whatever you want it to be. A dandelion is a garden. ☺

    Loving the photo of you with your dad. How sweet. Love your words about him too.

    Also loving the tart. Lemon + Tart adds up to fabulous in my books! xxoo

  2. Congratulations on your first garden, April! I started out doing window boxes in apartments I lived in and when I finally got a house with a yard, the rest is history! I just know you'll be successful!

  3. I came for the lemon tart, and stayed for the flowers. I love dahlias. Pansies are winter flowers for us. They have such cute little faces.

    1. I'm picky about pansies, but these are my favorites! And I love dahlias too! When my family lived in Alaska, my Mom's dahlias grew as big around as our faces! I'm glad you stayed :)

  4. Wow, love this post! Grats on the gardn, it's so cute! :D I can see you having a huge garden when you get a house, with an herb garden and everything, so your cooking will use your own fresh supplies! :D

    Love the part about Dad, he definitely is the greatest!

    And oh my, I need to make this! I love lemon anything, thanks!


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