lemon dessert recipe

Spring Lemon Tart

Spring Lemon Tart

I wasn’t sure what to call this dessert. It started out as one thing, but sort of ended up somewhere else. I finally decided to just call it a tart. This is a perfect example of using what you have on hand. I was so pleased with the result.

I was leaning towards making a cheesecake. I already had cookie crumbs, I could use for the crust. Then, I discovered I only had one box of cream cheese. Not enough for a cheesecake.

While searching my fridge for cream cheese, I found a couple of lemons.

I suppose I could have made a lemon pie, but I decided to just make something up with what I had, including the cream cheese.

What I ended up with is a sweet/tart lemon dessert. Really nice, actually.

Before I get to the actual recipe, let me talk about the lemons, and including fresh lemon juice in recipe directions.

Recipes will often list the “juice of a lemon” in the ingredients. There is about the same amount of lemon juice in all lemons, so that a little difference, one way or the other, is no big deal. The amount is anywhere from 2-3 tablespoons of juice in a lemon. You might get 4 tablespoons, if the lemon is really big. I have used that phrase in recipes myself.

Sometimes, however, you have to recognize when you have lemons that aren’t “average”.

The two lemons I had on hand were big, really big. When I juiced them, I ended up with 2/3 of a cup of lemon juice. So, in this recipe I used the actual measurement of the juice, rather than saying, “the juice of 2 lemons.” Three or four average sized lemons should give you 2/3 cup of juice.

So here is the recipe for my lemon tart, the happy end result of using what I had, and making it work.

Spring Lemon Tart

Crust:

1½ c. crushed vanilla cookies

4 T. melted butter

Filling:

1 (8oz.) container cream cheese, softened

½ c. sugar

2/3 c. lemon juice

Zest of two lemons

3 eggs

¼ c. cornstarch

Combine crust ingredients in medium bowl. Press crumb mixture into a 9 –inch springform or tart pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, make the filling. In mixing bowl combine the cream cheese with the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the lemon juice and zest and beat well. Add the eggs and cornstarch and beat until smooth. Pour filling over the baked crust and return to oven. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden on top. Center will be soft, but firms as the tart cools. Cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve. You can dust with powdered sugar, if you like.

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares

For me, Lemon Squares are a blast from the past. They were a treat I remember making with my mother when I was a kid. A crisp, tender crust, topped with a lemon custard. Just the right balance of sweet and tart.

I decided to make them for a dinner with my cousin and her husband. They loved them.

I forgot just how much I loved them, too. I also forgot how easy they are to make. These are a great dessert any time of the year, but I think especially nice for Spring. They also would make a wonderful dessert for Easter.

Lemon squares are baked in two steps. The crust is pressed into the pan and baked. Then the crust is topped with the egg/lemon mixture and returned to the oven for the second bake. So simple- and so good.

I did make a couple of changes from the original recipe. I was very happy with how they came out.

 

Here is the recipe. Enjoy!!

 

Lemon Squares

1 c. flour

½ c. butter

¼ c. powdered sugar

3 eggs

1 c. sugar

2 T. lemon juice

2 t. lemon zest

½ t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

 

Mix together flour, butter and powdered sugar and press into the bottom of an 8×8-inch pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Beat together remaining ingredients and pour over baked crust. Return to oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffed. Cool. Cut. Makes 16 squares.