Mini lemon basil tarts with shortbread crust

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Sweet, zesty, creamy, buttery mini lemon basil curd tarts with shortbread crust recipe are truly the perfect treat in mini form!

When we all need sunshine and citrus to help us through these last few weeks of winter, enjoying this beautiful pair of lemon + basil curd will satisfy your sweet tooth with a refreshing and herbaceous twist. When you combine smooth lemon curd, and a perfect shortbread cookie, it really is perfection.

Brightening up your weekend with this perfect shortbread cookie crust, sweetly laced with lemon and basil curd. Each bite is creamy and excites your tastebuds as you get hints of sour lemon and herbaceous basil. When the sun hits this lemon curd it glistens, a tribute to the sunny days coming in spring. My husband’s favorite treat is shortbread, so I love combining it with other beautiful flavors in recipes.

We are so blessed to have an abundance of lemons + basil in our garden here in Tunisia. In fact, the agenda today is pulling out the ladder and picking some lemons today. Even if you don't have your own lemon tree, they are in season now so it's the perfect time to make some lemon curd.

What's in Lemon basil Curd?

Lemon curd is made of four basic ingredients: egg, sugar, lemon, basil and butter, which are gently cooked together until thick and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, flavor-packed spread. I simply strained or picked my basil out after infusing it in my curd while it cooked. It is important to have your cookie baked, cooled, and ready at the time your lemon curd is thickened because you want it to cool over your cookie for a smooth texture. Lemon curd is often used on scones, cakes, pancakes, cookies in parfaits and more! Lemon curd is extremely versatile and absolutely delicious. We particularly love it on shortbread!

How Long Does Lemon Curd Keep Fresh?

Lemon curd should be used within a week or two, or frozen up to a year. In this recipe, we use all of our lemon curd on the shortbread tarts. However if you have any leftover, it makes for a wonderful topping.

What is shortbread?

Shortbread is a traditional Scottish biscuit and also made from simple ingredients. This Mini lemon basil tarts with shortbread crust recipe only requires butter, sugar, salt, and flour for the crust bottom. This recipe is slightly different than the one I would use to make actual shortbread cookies because I want the crust to be more firm and less crumbly than traditional shortbread, to withstand the lemon curd topping. However, the taste is unmatched and truly divine

How to make mini lemon basil tarts with shortbread crust

First, you'll start by making the shortbread crust.

  • Place butter, sugar, salt into your stand mixer or a large bowl, and mix for five minutes or until sugar, salt are well incorporated, and your butter has taken on a deeper yellow color, that’s a good indicator that your ingredients are creamed.
  • Add in your vanilla and flour and stir well, eventually using your hands to create a dough.
  • Press the dough into your  the parchment paper-lined tart pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Check that your cookie is golden brown. It will harden more once removed from oven. Let it cool before adding your lemon curd.

How to make your lemon basil curd.

  • Mix your lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh basil, eggs sugar until well combined
  • Pour mixture into double boiler or heatproof bowl.
  • Place bowl over simmering (not boiling) water in a medium-size pan.
  • Once your water is simmering, reduce heat. You do not want to overcook your eggs.
  • Stir continuously to ensure eggs are not overheating.
  • Continue stirring consistently for 10 minutes, finally adding your butter and mixing until completely incorporated. I do not multi task while making lemon curd. At this point, your lemon curd should be nice and thick. If not, continue cooking and mixing constantly. It will continue to thicken further as it cools over your cookie crust.
  • When your curd is nice and thick, sieve the curd over your cooled cookie crust to catch the basil (you do not want your basil to be poured onto the lemon tarts) and let it cool in your fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Store in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in your freezer for up to a year!

What tools do I need for mini lemon basil tarts?

I don't suspect you'll need anything out of the ordinary in a regular kitchen, with the exception of these mini 4" tart pans. Mine are from a local bake shop, but these mini heart tart tins are the appropriate size! They come in a set of 6, which is what this recipe yields.

Other Lemon Recipes

cover image of mini lemon basil tarts with 5 mini tarts on a concrete surface surrounded by rose and basil

Mini lemon basil tarts with shortbread crust recipe

Yield: 6 mini tarts
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Sweet, zesty, creamy, buttery mini lemon basil curd tarts with shortbread crust recipe and truly the perfect treat in mini form!

Ingredients

  • For the shortbread cookie crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the lemon curd:
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, sieved
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

    Place butter, sugar, salt into your stand mixer or a large bowl, and mix for five minutes or until sugar, salt are well incorporated, and your butter has taken on a deeper yellow color, that’s a good indicator that your ingredients are creamed.

    Add in your vanilla and flour and stir well, eventually using your hands to create a dough.

    Press the dough into your the parchment paper-lined tart pans. Press holes with a fork into your dough and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Check that your cookie is golden brown. It will harden more once removed from oven. Let it cool before adding your lemon curd.

    Mix your lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh basil, eggs sugar until well combined

    Pour mixture into double boiler or heatproof bowl.

    Place bowl over simmering (not boiling) water in a medium-size pan.

    Once your water is simmering, reduce heat. You do not want to overcook your eggs.

    Stir continuously to ensure eggs are not overheating.

    Continue mixing for 10 minutes, finally adding your butter and mixing until completely incorporated. At this point, your lemon curd should be nice and thick. If not, continue cooking and mixing constantly. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

    When your curd is nice and thick, sieve the curd over your cooled cookie crust to catch the basil (you do not want your basil to be poured onto the lemon tarts) and let it cool in your fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Notes

Store in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in your freezer for up to a year!

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 698Total Fat 44gSaturated Fat 26gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 201mgSodium 231mgCarbohydrates 69gFiber 2gSugar 35gProtein 8g

Did you make this recipe?

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Hey friend! I'm Sarah, the woman behind the apron at Frolic and Fare. I'm a mom, wife and diplomat. Here you will find a collection of my best floral recipes, romanticized classics and garden party inspired entertaining. I love rose gardens, old movies, the smell of fir trees, baking, a handwritten note and a glass of champagne

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3 Comments

  1. 2.20.21
    Roma said:

    Looks so delicious. ?

  2. 2.20.21
    Nive said:

    This looks absolutely scrumptious Sarah!

  3. 2.20.21
    Jenny said:

    I love tarts and lemon! Definitely trying this soon, thank you!

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