Made with our easy microwave lemon curd, these buttery, crisp Ridiculously Easy Lemon Curd Shortbread Tarts will steal the show and bring rave reviews!
If you haven't tried our Ridiculously Easy Microwave Lemon Curd you're missing out on something wonderful! Be sure to pick up a few lemons next time to shop and give it try. It comes together in right around 10 minutes with no double boiler or tedious stirring. THEN you'll be able to whip up a batch of these Ridiculously Easy Lemon Curd Shortbread Tarts. I promise you'll be super impressed with yourself... and so will everyone who has the pleasure of tasting them!
You may have noticed, we're combining two super easy Café recipes (our lemon curd and our classic shortbread) to create this one very special Ridiculously Easy sweet treat. If you're not familiar with our Ridiculously Easy recipes (check them all out here), you can read more about why we have a whole category of recipes called Ridiculously Easy in this post - but to sum it up quickly, they are "The recipes that make you look like a kitchen rock star with minimal effort on your part". Our Café readers love these recipes and so do I!
I love that both the lemon curd and the shortbread tarts can be made in advance. Store the lemon curd in the fridge and the tartlets in an airtight container. Spoon or pipe the lemon curd into the tartlets before serving and VOILA! A super fancy-looking dessert or sweet treat that takes minimal effort. My kind of recipe... agreed?
How to make these Lemon Curd Shortbread Tarts
In addition to the lemon curd mentioned above, we're using our one-bowl, no-mixer classic Café shortbread recipe which is used to form crisp, buttery and oh-so-delicious tart shells. How does that work?
Instead of rolling out and cutting the dough as in many of our shortbread recipes, you simply divide the dough into 24 little portions, roll them into balls, place the dough balls in a mini muffin pan and flatten each dough ball with your fingers. Then a half teaspoon measuring spoon (the perfect size) is used to make little "wells" in the shortbread dough balls. Check it out:
The wells are reinforced with the measuring spoon once again after baking. All that's left is to pipe (or spoon) the heavenly lemon curd into the tart shells and enjoy! Each one is a delicious little bite of sweet, tart, crisp, buttery nirvana!
See what I mean? Easy! Ridiculously Easy!
Garnish... or not
I love to add an edible flower to each of my Lemon Curd Shortbread Tarts. We don't usually eat the flowers, but I like to garnish with something that isn't toxic and won't add a bitter or strange flavor to the curd. There are so many edible flowers that can add a beautiful touch to desserts, salads, appetizers, etc. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Johnny Jump Ups (look like mini pansies)
- Daisies (all sizes)
- Trout Lillies (a friend who lives nearby has these growing all over her wooded backyard right now.)
- Redbud tree flowers (we have a row growing all the way up our driveway. I can't wait for them to bloom!)
- Alliums (the flowers of chives, leeks and garlic, so pretty!)
- Campanula (the purple flowers you see in my pictures above and below)
A simple sprig of mint and a dusting of powdered sugar is also a beautiful garnish for these Lemon Curd Shortbread Tarts. But you can also serve them without any garnish. The golden shortbread shells and the sunny lemon curd are pretty on their own!
These Lemon Curd Shortbread Tarts are perfect for a spring brunch, a fancy tea, a light dessert, a wedding shower, to finish off an Easter celebration, when a neighbor drops in for a cup of coffee, as a special treat when the kids come home from school, a gift for a neighbor, friend or co-worker... I think you get the picture, they're a perfect sweet treat for special occasions, but they also make an ordinary day deliciously special!
Café Tips for making these Ridiculously Easy Lemon Curd Shortbread Tarts
- When you make the Ridiculously Easy Lemon Curd to fill these tarts, you'll have more than you need but, you'll probably want to make these delicious little treats again so you'll be all prepared. Also it freezes well - according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, "Lemon curd can be frozen for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed." They also say that it can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 4 weeks. How great is that?
- For some delicious and creative things to do with leftover lemon curd (besides making another batch of these Lemon Curd Shortbread Tarts, check out this post.
- Because this is a one-bowl, no-mixer recipe, the butter should be VERY soft. You don't want it melted, just nice and soft. Let the butter sit at room temperature for several hours or use a microwave at 10% power (for 1 to 4 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave) to soften your butter.
- You'll need one (24-cup) or two (12-cup) non-stick mini muffin pans for this recipe.
- Be sure to spray your mini muffin pan(s) with baking spray as a prep to ensure that the tarts don't stick to the pan. Baking spray is different than regular non-stick cooking spray in that it contains flour in addition to oil or some type of shortening. It works in the same way as the classic technique of greasing and flouring a pan before baking.
- You can use a small teaspoon to fill the shortbread tarts with lemon curd, but an easier way is to put the lemon curd in a ziplock bag or a disposable pastry bag (I love to keep a stock of these reasonably priced pastry bags on hand)
- One of the ingredients in the shortbread tarts is corn starch. Several years ago, I started subbing corn starch for a small portion of the flour in my shortbread as it gives a crisp, melt-in-your-mouth texture to the baked cookies.
- If you prefer to use an electric mixer for this recipe, feel free. Just don't overmix the dough.
- I'm hoping that one day (maybe when I grow up) I will be able to roll perfectly round dough balls in my hands. Mine always come up a little elongated, resembling a weird little spaceship. I just use my fingers to gently persuade them into a more acceptable ball.
Thought for the day:
But those who HOPE in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not be faint.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy any of these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 8 ounces very soft butter (2 sticks) I use salted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½-1 cup Ridiculously Easy Microwave Lemon Curd
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray two 12-cup mini muffin pans (or one 24-cup mini muffin pan) with baking spray. Rub each cup with a piece of paper toweling to make sure they’re thoroughly coated, including the top edges.
Place the soft butter and powdered sugar in a medium-size bowl and stir until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the corn starch and stir until nice and smooth.
Add the flour and salt and stir, turning the bowl with and stirring from the bottom up. At first the dough will be very shaggy and dry, but after a minute or so it will come together nicely. Just keep stirring until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough comes together in a big clump.
Divide the dough into 24 equal portions. You can eyeball this or use a digital scale. I weigh the dough then divide by 24. It usually comes out to 25-26g each. Give each portion of dough a little squeeze and hold it in your hand for about 10 seconds (to compress and warm the dough a bit) then roll it between your palms into round balls.
Place each ball into one of the prepared mini muffin cups and flatten each one gently with your fingers. Using a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon (see the pictures above in the post), make an indention in the center of each flattened ball. (I like to do about 3 at a time: squeeze 3 portions, roll them into balls then make the wells. This keeps the dough from drying out and cracking when you make the little wells.) If the dough cracks at the edges, just push it together with your fingers while the spoon is still in the center.
Place the pan(s) in the preheated oven and bake for 18-24 minutes or until the outer edges of each tart are a medium golden brown. (Don't worry the pretty "well" that you made before baking will have puffed up a bit.)
Remove the pan(s) from the oven and immediately reinforce the center wells by gently pushing in again with the ½ teaspoon measuring spoon. You can make the wells as shallow or deep as you’d like at this point.
Allow the tart shells to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove by inserting a small sharp knife into the center of each shell and pulling upward. Cool completely on a cooling rack before filling.
Using a spoon fill each well with 1-1 ½ teaspoons of lemon curd. You can also put the lemon curd in a medium-size zip lock back or a disposable pastry bag, snip of a tiny piece at the corner of the ziplock bag or tip of the pastry bag and pipe in the filling. Garnish with a mint sprig or a small edible flower, if desired. If desired, use a fine mesh small sieve to give each tart a shower of powdered sugar.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.