A smooth creamy lemon tart dimpled with juicy mixed berries in a buttery shortcrust pastry! While the lemon and berries provide a crisp tart and tangy flavour, the cream cheese incorporated into the filling makes this tart refreshing and sweet.
A lot of the time with fruit tarts the pastry becomes very soggy from the juices of the fruit, and that’s never fun to eat. What’s excellent about this recipe is because you pre-bake the shell, soggy bases are avoided, and whats more, you prevent the tart from shrinking! Yay! I do not butter/flour my tart pan when making this recipe, because I find the amount of butter in the shortcrust pastry is enough to let the tart slide out very easily once it’s done. But if it makes you more secure in doing so, I don’t see why not 🙂
You’ll find the filling is very thin (liquid-y) when you finish incorporating all the ingredients together and that’s the way it should be. Signs your filling has set is seeing tiny concave bubbles starting to appear on the surface of the filling along the sides of the pastry. Giving your tart a gentle jiggle will also tell you whether your filling has set as well. When you cut into your tart, the filling should be very soft and smooth but not runny in the slightest.
This recipe has been adapted from the lemon tart recipe from Stephanie Jaworski from JoyofBaking.com. Her shortcrust pastry has worked every time for me and it’s perfection, honestly. I didn’t have any whipping cream on hand so I wanted to see whether I could add something else to the tart instead. Referring to my French recipes book I have at home, this lemon tart recipe isn’t quite the traditional ‘tarte au citron’ you might find elsewhere as it uses cream cheese but still, I think the lemon flavour filling is delicious.
If you’re using a food processor like I did to blend your ingredients together then you’ll find making this tart to be super easy. When making the shortcrust pastry, make sure not to over-pulse the flour mixture; beat until you see the mixture clumping together in crumbly chunks before taking it out and pressing it into your tart pan. Similarly, if you’re cutting up the butter by hand (with two knives or by pastry cutter) you want to work the ingredients into a crumbly chunks texture the mixture eventually forms.
Make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature before starting! For the filling, the softer your cream cheese, the easier it will be to blend out any lumps. While I have not tried blending this filling by hand before, I do believe that using a whisk (and a strong arm) will replace a food processor just fine. Just make sure your filling is smooth and all ingredients are well incorporated.
Most likely you’ll find that as the tart cools, cracks will start to appear between the berries and filling, and the berries will have small ‘hollows’ around themselves. This is because of…er, science…yes. While the technical terms aren’t coming to me, in simple terms the cracks appear because the berries start to shrink as the tart cools (so the bigger and more berries you put in the larger the cracks) but the filling has already set. You should not find the filling shrinking from the sides of the crust though!
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Lemon & Mixed Berry Tart
Adapted from joyofbaking.com
Serves 8-10 people.
You will need: a 20–23cm (8–9 inch) tart pan with a removable bottom.
- 130 grams (1 cup) all purpose flour
- 35 grams (1/3 cup) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 113 grams (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 140 grams (5 ounces)cream cheese, room temperature.
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer lemon skin)
- 12o ml (1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice (approximately two large lemons)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
*Tip: zest lemon before squeezing out the juice, and Use a fine strainer to catch any seeds and pulp from the juice.
- In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. Similarly, if using pastry cutter/two knives, cut butter into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles soft crumbly chunks.
- Tip mixture into tart pan and use your fingertips to evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.) Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes.) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F) and place rack in the centre.
- When pastry has chilled, place the tart pan on a baking tray and bake until the pastry crust and base is golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool while you make the filling.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 177 degrees C (350 degrees F).
- In a food processor or electric mixer, place the cream cheese and process until smooth. Add sugar and process until incorporated. Add the eggs and process until thoroughly combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and process until well blended and smooth. Similarly, if whisking by hand, whisk all ingredients as mentioned above until a smooth consistency is reached.
- Pour filling into the pre-baked tart shell and add either frozen or fresh berries as desired. Bake tart for approximately 25 – 30 minutes or until filling is set. Small concave bubbles may appear on the surface as the filling cooks and sets. Jiggle the tart gently to test. Transfer tart to a wire rack to cool.