Easy to make and charming in appearance, these tiny tarts are an ideal dinner-party dessert. The name is derived from the Scottish word for a "small cup."

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Ingredients

For the Candied Lemon Zest:
For the Crusts:
For the Filling:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • For candied lemon zest: Remove zest from lemons with a vegetable peeler, keeping pieces long. Remove white pith using a paring knife, and finely julienne using a very sharp knife. Place julienned zest in a small bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes; drain.

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  • Bring 1 cup sugar and the cool water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When sugar is completely dissolved, add julienned zest, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand overnight. Remove zest, and drain on wire rack. Roll in sugar. Dry on wire rack. Store zest in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with rack in upper third. Lightly butter a 24-cup mini-muffin pan; set aside. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour and butter. Pulse until mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. Add the sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Process until evenly incorporated and smooth; do not overprocess.

  • Divide the dough into quarters. Divide each quarter into 6 pieces. Shape into balls. Place each ball in a muffin cup; press down in the centers so that the dough fits the cups snugly. Set muffin pan on a baking sheet.

  • Bake until lightly browned all over and slightly darker at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer baking sheet with muffin pan to a wire rack to cool.

  • Make the filling: In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla until completely smooth. Using a 1/4-ounce ice cream scoop, fill the cooled crusts. Bake until filling is set and just beginning to color at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer muffin pan to a wire rack. Garnish with candied lemon peel. Let cool completely before serving. The tassies may be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Reviews (23)

194 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 27
  • 4 star values: 25
  • 3 star values: 81
  • 2 star values: 41
  • 1 star values: 20
Rating: Unrated
09/18/2015
Delicous! Double the crust recipe for sure. It IS very crumbly when you mix it, I added a little bit of water to stick everything together. After that, it was fine. I pre-baked the crusts with no issue. I used a mini muffin tin and greased with an excess amount of butter. I pressed the crusts in very firmly and thin to allow for maximum amount of filling. After the pre-bake, I loosened each crust, they removed from the pan just fine in the end. Topped each tassie with a 1/4 of a fresh raspberry.
Rating: Unrated
04/23/2012
can you freeze this recipe?
Rating: Unrated
10/07/2011
These tassies are amazing and well worth the effort. I followed Monica H's recipe for the correct filling-crust ratio (which was really just doubling the crust recipe) and I had the perfect amount of both. However, I wouldn't prebake the crusts. The recipe calls for 18-20 mins to bake them; mine were overdone at 15 min. Perhaps its just my oven, but I tried the next batch without prebaking the crusts and they were just right. Just keep it in mind...
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Rating: Unrated
06/12/2011
These are delicious!The only issue is that the cookie/filling ratio seems off. I doubled the recipe to get 48 tassies and ended up w/ 24 cookie parts (the orig. yield) and 48 filling parts. If you are going to make this recipe & you want the orig. yield of 24: double the cookie part and leave the filling part as is. If you want 48: triple the cookie part and double the filling part.Don't let this deter you from trying this recipe - they are truly delicious.
Rating: Unrated
02/19/2011
These were delightful! We changed the recipe, used strawberry cream cheese and had them for a baby shower-girl of course. Everyone raved. They are a bit time consuming but well worth it.
Rating: Unrated
01/16/2011
These are one of my favourites but the crust is a bit time consuming. It is worth it!
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Rating: Unrated
08/26/2009
The "candied" zest strips go on top. The finely grated zest "not candied" go in the filling.
Rating: Unrated
08/20/2009
How come? I wrote a negative comment about this
Rating: Unrated
07/06/2009
I made two batches of the lemon tassies tonight and neither one turned out right! I used lemon zest from the store and it tasted bitter. For this recipe do you use the candied lemon zest in the recipe as well or the store bought kind. Also it calls for three tablespoons of lemon zest. Is this right?
Rating: Unrated
06/13/2009
when baking these, they turned out perfectly. the only problem was that they were too small to hold the filling, and i was left with an almost-full bowl of the filling. i decided to make another batch of the crust, and this time i only split it into 12 parts - so they would fit into an regular-sized, 12 cup muffin pan. these held a lot more of the filling, and were very appropriately sized.
Rating: Unrated
12/21/2008
I also noticed the dough was very crumbly (it didn't come together like, say, a pie crust or a pastry) but I didn't have any problem pressing it into the pan to form the cups. And maybe it was just dumb luck, but they popped right out of the pan. I'd suggest a new nonstick pan (I bought a new one before baking) and giving it a liberal buttering. In addition, I loosened the cups a bit when they first came out of the oven. Just a suggestion. :)
Rating: Unrated
12/21/2008
I also noticed the dough was very crumbly, however it formed into cups nicely and maybe this is just dumb luck, but it came right out of the muffin pan. Maybe it helped that it was a brand-new pan, and that I gave it a pretty healthy buttering before pressing the dough into the cups.
Rating: Unrated
11/03/2008
After processing, the dough was very crumbly. I rechecked the recipe and did everything right. I managed to form tassie cups out of the dough. The problem was at the end when they would not come out of the pan. I used a non-stick mini muffin pan and even sprayed it, but we had to chisel them out. Tasty, but I would use a cream cheese/flour dough and add lemon zest. Much easier to work with and a proven recipe.
Rating: Unrated
09/12/2008
I made lemon custard for the filling as I don't really know what is cream cheese for you guys but in Poland it's salty or flavoured. But the crust was great and filled with lemon custard taste great.
Rating: Unrated
09/02/2008
My team at work really enjoyed these. To shorten your time in the kitchen you could eliminate the candied lemon zest (most of the folks didn't care for it). Option: serve as is--they're tasty enough--or top with a single fresh raspberry or blackberry.
Rating: Unrated
08/31/2008
I loved this recipe and so did my family. They are like a mini cheesecake. My husband put a dab of jelly in the middle and went to town on destroying them. Loved them! Tuger
Rating: Unrated
08/22/2008
Lemon curd is a great idea, thanks! Also good to know that some alternatives exist. Not so sure about those egg whites, though...
Rating: Unrated
08/22/2008
There is a no dairy tofu cream cheese substitute called Better Than Cream Cheese. Another substution I've seen but haven't tried is egg whites that have been fried until just set.
Rating: Unrated
08/21/2008
Poopak .... use a simple tassie cup recipe, bake the cups empty...cool, and then in the jelly aisle of the grocery store you should be able to find "lemon curd" in a jar. I have a recipe for it, but the jar is a lot easier. lol If you want to fancy it up a bit, still use the candied lemon zest idea, mixing it into the the curd before filling each cup. Any questions.... Jabalchin@aol.com
Rating: Unrated
08/21/2008
ztagrl....it shouldn't be crumbly after everything has been mixed in. Did you use a food processor? Not a lot of wet ingredients in the cups. I'm going to make these for a bridal shower, but planing on using my own cream cheese cup recipe. If you're interested...it's an EASY one :) ... you can email me a Jabalchin@aol.com
Rating: Unrated
08/21/2008
Hi does anyone know the carb count for the cookies? I haved to keep track of mine. Deb in SC
Rating: Unrated
08/21/2008
Should this dough come together in a ball, or still be fine crumbs after all of the ingredients are added?
Rating: Unrated
08/21/2008
Any suggestions for cream cheese substitutions?