When life gives you lemons, add a bit of Limoncello and make a lemon tart.

In times when we all desperately need something to cheer us up, I am heavily leaning on food to transport me to a favourite place or brings back lovely memories of past travels.

And these days definitely call for some little escapes to better places. So I’ve done what I usually do when I can’t do anything else: spend time in the kitchen.

Inspired by the meteorological start of Spring already knocking at the door, and citrus harvest across southern Europe still in full swing, I’ve put together these delicious mini limoncello tartes.

I don’t know about you but passing casks full of bright yellow lemons at the local farmers market always brings up pictures of the beautiful sun-drenched Amalfi Coast in my mind. Which by the way is the birthplace of limoncello, the popular Italian liqueur made from the famous Amalfi lemons.

Amalfi lemons: Officially called sfusato Amalfitano, the lemons harvested along Italy’s Amalfi Coast are quite unique: long, tapered and at least and at least double the size of the typical lemons we are used to see. Characterized by thick and wrinkled skin with an intense perfume, their flesh is sweeter and juicier than other lemons.

Not familiar with limoncello, or wondering why Amalfi lemons are special? For some background on Italy’s favourite lemon liqueur and the lemons used to make it, read my post Getting creative with limoncello and dreaming of the Amalfi Coast.

These mini limoncello tarts are so easy to make, and the sweet and tangy limoncello curd is so delicious, they will become your new favourite dessert for Spring.

Recipe: Mini Limoncello Tarts

Yields 6

For the shortbread crust

125 g butter
250 g all-purpose flour
1 vanilla pod
1 egg

For the limoncello curd

150 g butter, diced and kept cold
90 ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 tablespoons lemon zest (from 3 organic lemons)
150 g sugar
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
80 ml limoncello


Preheat oven to 180°C.

In a stand mixer, mix flour, seeds of the vanilla pod, butter, egg, and a pinch of salt until obtaining a sooth, firm dough. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Grease and lightly floor 6 mini tart tins.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into circles slightly overlapping the tins. Press the dough into the tins and using a fork pinch the dough a few times.

Line the tarts with parchment paper, fill with baking beans or rice and bake the mini tarts for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the beans and parchment paper and let the tarts cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the limoncello curd.

Add lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, eggs, and egg yolk into a small saucepan. Using a handheld mixer, puree until obtaining a creamy, fluffy mixture.

Heat the mixture over medium heat while continuing to stir until obtaining a thick custard.

Take from the heat and stir in the diced, cold butter in small batches. Stir in limoncello.

Pour the limoncello curd into the completely cooled mini tarts.

Refrigerate for at least four hours, better overnight.

Garnish with some lemon slices and a dollop of whipped cream.