These boozy tartlets are light, free-spirited, and sassy. If I were a dessert, this is what I would want to be. I'd be jealous of this dessert if I happened to be a straight-laced, tight crumb cake (which would probably be my confectionery alter ego.) Lemon heads, if you're not yet familiar with the deity known as Limoncello, you're in for a pleasant surprise. It's an Italian liqueur that has a scrumptiously strong dose of fresh lemony goodness. When paired up with cream cheese and a short-crust pastry, it's sheer, unadulterated bliss. If it's cold and blustery outside, these little bursts bliss will literally warm you up and make you feel like you're eating a piece of summer.
Limoncello Cream Cheese Tartelettes
(adapted from Joy of Baking)
*printer friendly Recipe*
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of confectioners sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits (I cut mine up and let it freeze overnight.)
Splash of ice water
5 ounces of cream cheese, softened to room temperature.
1/2 cup of granulated white sugar
1/2 cup of Limoncello (or just use fresh lemon juice=about 2 medium-size lemons)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
Spray or butter 4 5-inch tartlet pans (you may also make one large 9-inch tart using the same recipe amounts.) Set aside
Prepare the crust:Put the flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the bits of frozen butter, and pulse until the pastry starts to come together on the blade and clumps and curds form. If after a few pulses, the dough is still too dry, splash in a few drops of ice water. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather up any loose pieces. Form the dough into a large ball, then divide the ball into 4 equal pieces. Press each one into the prepared tartlet pans (be sure to cover bottoms and sides.) Using a fork, pierce the bottom of each tarlet a few times. Cover and freeze for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Remove the tartlets from the freezer and place them onto a large cookie sheet.Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is light golden. Remove from the oven to cool while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven to 350F.
Prepare the filling:In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high, until well combined. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition. Add the Limoncello (or lemon juice, if using) and zest. Beat until well blended and smooth.
Pour the filling into the semi-baked tartlet shells. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and place the tartlets on a cooling rack. Cool completely before adding the whipped cream.
Prepare the whipped topping:In a large bowl, beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. If needed, add more sugar. Pipe or spoon the topping onto each cool tartlet. Serve immediately after adding the topping.