Mini Desserts: Cheesecake Tartlets with Lemon and Lime Curd


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If my husband has his choice for a dessert nine times out of ten he would pick pie over anything else – well except for ice cream, especially homemade ice cream. And his favorite kind of pie is key lime. I know that the holidays are going to be very different this year for a lot of people but these delightful mini desserts would certainly brighten any buffet table. They are not that difficult to make and what I love about little desserts is that you can eat several and you don’t feel stuffed. I mean seriously, what is more fun than a dessert buffet with lots of tasty tartlets?

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cheesecake tartlets

Cheescake Tartlets with Lemon and Lime Curd

Makes 4 dozen mini desserts (give or take a few for taste testing)

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 TBS cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
1/4 cup chilled shortening
2 – 4 TBS ice water

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For the cheesecake filling:

10 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

For the lemon curd:

3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 TBS unsalted butter at room temperature
1 TBS lemon zest

For the lime curd:

3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
4 TBS unsalted butter at room temperature
1 TBS lime zest

fresh fruit to decorate the tops of the tartlets if desired – I used cherries and huckleberries

Make the pie crust dough:

  • In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the fats until the mixture resembles small peas.
  • Add 2 TBS of ice water. Mix the dough, adding more water a little at a time until it just comes together.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it until it forms a uniform dough.
  • Form into a disk, wrap in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.
making citrus curd, cheesecake tartlets
  • While the dough is chilling make the curds.
  • In a stainless steel bowl or double boiler over a pot of simmering water heat the sugar and citrus juice.
  • Whisk in the eggs. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. Make sure you are over simmering, not boiling water as you don’t want this to happen too quickly or it will curdle. The change will happen in what seems like an instant so be aware so you can pull it off the heat as soon as it does.
  • After you remove the mixture from the heat add the butter and stir it in until it melts.
  • Run the curd through a strainer to remove any lumps. Stir in the zest.

Follow these instructions for the lime and for the lemon curd. Put the finished curds in the refrigerator to chill.

Make the cheesecake filling:

  • Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached.
  • Beat it until it is smooth.
  • Add the powdered sugar, the egg and the lemon juice.
  • Mix until smooth. Set aside.

Make the tartlet shells:

making tartlets, cheesecake tartlets
  • Take the pie crust dough out of the refrigerator and cut it in half.
  • Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/4″ thick.
  • Using a 2″ biscuit cutter cut out as many rounds as you can fit.
  • Roll out the second piece of dough.
  • Re-roll the scraps and cut out more rounds.
  • Take mini cupcake tins and gently press the dough rounds into the tins. Poke holes in the bottom of the dough with a fork.
  • Put the tins in the refrigerator to chill for at least half an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°
filling cheesecake tartlets, cheesecake tartlets
  • Take the tins out of the refrigerator and bake them for 7 minutes.
  • Take them out of the oven and fill them with the cream cheese filling.
  • Put them back in the oven and bake for 9 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
  • Finish by topping with the curds; half with lemon, half with lime. I decorated mine with fruit for a little extra. I put huckleberries on the lime tartlets and 1/4 cherry on the lemon tartlets.

plated tartlets

How Were the Mini Desserts?

The hubby really liked them, I will say that. He is very fond of citrus flavors and of them lime is his very favorite. These mini desserts combined cheesecake, curd and pie crust into a two bite delight. You can put any bit of fruit on top of them – I just happened to have some frozen huckleberries and cherries. I imagine strawberry or pomegranate would be yummy too.

These little tart crusts are a wonderful vehichle for so many mini treats – the only limit is your imagination. I baked them slightly differently to make mini apple crumb pies. But you could put just about anything in them. Another citrusy treat the hubby loves are lemon bars

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