If you’ve been reading along with me for a while now, you know I can’t help but bake a lemon dessert every couple of months. Lemon blueberry cake, lemon chia seed muffins, lemon sugar cookies, lemon zucchini bread, etc. etc. etc. But my absolute favorite dessert is a good lemon bar: sweet, tart, bright, and perfectly balanced.
The lemon bar recipe that I use is something I hold high and mighty. I have tried lemon bars far and wide and they never hold up to this recipe. The zesty, tart filling that stands at least double the height of the buttery crust is perfection, and I just don’t mess with it. So in receiving my Degustabox this month and seeing that there was a lemon bar mix inside, you know I was curious, if not completely skeptical.
As always happens every year, I plan an elaborate birthday event, give myself 13 to-do list items in one week, and can’t complete them all. One of those was a layer cake that really needed a week on it’s own, and I decided to scrap it. (When turning 27, you accept reality and settle for good enough instead of killing yourself for perfect, it’s called growing up, kids.) I decided that lemon tarts would be a lovely alternative for my picnic, and I dared to try out the lemon bar mix.
I followed the recipe on the box exactly, except that I pressed the shortbread crust into cupcake pans to make personal sized tarts. After tasting them, I was honestly amazed. The tart flavor that I love was still there, and it took basically no effort to make them! A+ to this baking mix (the chocolate chip cookie mix from last month’s Degustabox was also a winner).
Since I couldn’t leave well enough alone and I wanted to add some sort of Fall element to the tarts, I decided to top each tart with a little whipped cheesecake topping and OMG WOW. I love the combination of the tart lemon with the creamy cheese. Cheesecake always reminds me of the holidays, and so I thought it was the best way to make lemon dessert season last just a little bit longer. Though I ended up serving my tarts without the topping since the party was outside, I really loved trying a new variation.
Thank you to Degustabox for sponsoring the blog post. All recipes and opinions about the products and Degustabox are my own.
Easy Mini Lemon Tarts with Cheesecake Topping
Essential Goodness King Arthur Lemon Bar Mix
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Water
8 oz. Cream Cheese. softened
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Lightly grease a 24 mini-cupcake pan. Start by making the crust from the Essential Goodness Lemon Bar Mix following the directions on the back of the box. Press the mixture into the 24 cupcake cups with the crust covering the bottom and sides of the cups. Bake cups for 10 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges.
2. While the crusts are baking, mix up the filling by following the directions on the back of the box. Once the crusts are baked, remove them from the oven and fill them to the top with filling. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the filling does not jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken. Remove tarts from the oven and cool completely (about 1 hour) on a wire rack in the pan. Cover until ready to serve.
3. While the tarts cool, mix together your softened butter and cream cheese for the cheesecake topping. Whip until smooth. Add in your confectioners sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Store filling in the refrigerator until about 20 minutes prior to serving.
4. When you are ready to serve, assemble your tarts by scooping the cream cheese topping into a bag and snip off the corner. Pipe swirls on to your tarts and serve immediately.
Recipe by Bunny Baubles Blog