Making these Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts is one of my favourite baking memories I have of my Nana. The filling is 4 simple ingredients and super easy to make. We use frozen mini tartlet shells, which make the whole process even easier!
I’ve been fairly quiet around here lately (like, the last 7 months or so), but for good reason. I’m pregnant! 37 weeks to be exact, with baby set to arrive end of June (or any day now according to the doctor).
I always pictured pregnancy to be full of cravings. For me, for the most part, it was the complete opposite. I didn’t want to eat most foods, and definitely did not want to handle raw meat, especially chicken. Citrus, however, was something I was devouring like never before. This citrus craving had me reminiscing about a recipe for lemon cheese tarts made with cream cheese my Nana used to make when we were kids. As fate would have it, I stumbled upon the recipe while clearing out my office to make way for a nursery.
Let’s Talk Ingredients
Making this lemon cream cheese filling for tarts is beyond easy. It’s 4 simple ingredients that you probably have on hand right now. No fancy equipment an no unusual ingredients.
- Cream Cheese: Honestly, what can’t you do with cream cheese? Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. If your cheese is too cold, it won’t become smooth and you risk having lumps in the filling.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: This, my friends, is liquid gold. Condensed milk is milk from which the water has been removed. It’s thick, gooey and very sweet. Don’t mistake it for evaporated milk, which is also a canned milk, but not sweet and far more fluid. You only need half a can of condensed milk for this recipe. Use the rest in your morning coffee, drizzled on waffles or french toast, or make a double batch of Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts!
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice is what I suggest for this recipe. The stuff in the bottles has usually been pasteurized and just doesn’t the same to me. Obviously this recipe will work with either one, so use what you’ve got!
- Vanilla: Use pure vanilla extract. There’s no substitution for quality and flavour. Lots of vanilla on the market is made with a lab-made synthetic flavouring called vanillin and not actually made from the real plant.
Tips for Making Nana’s Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts
- Buy frozen tart shells. They taste awesome, and they’re super convenient. There’s no shame in using them! I use them all the time and never regret it.
- The lemon crease cheese filling is a no-bake filling, so you will need to blind bake the shells. Regardless if you made the pastry yourself, or if you love the time saving frozen variety, they need to be fully baked before filling.
- Once the tarts are filled, they need to be chilled. This will allow the filling to thicken and set.
These little devils worked wonders to feed my nostalgic citrus craving, and I can’t wait to make a batch with my little kiddo once she’s old enough!
Looking for more dessert recipes?
- Boozy Birthday Cake Marshmallows
- Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Meringues
- Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares
- 4 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
- Butter Tart Squares
Nana’s Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts
- 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 150 ml sweetened condensed milk*
- 2 ½ tbsp lemon juice**
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 18 mini tart shells
- Fresh blueberries and strawberries for garnish optional
- Blind bake the tart shells according to packaged directions and set aside to cool. We have to blind bake the shells becuase the filling does not need to be baked.
- Whisk together cream cheese, condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth.
- Fill tart shells with the lemon filling and top with fresh fruit.
- Chill for at least an hour before serving. This will allow the filling to thicken up.
Nutritional calculation was provided by WP Recipe Maker and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator
- *The cans I buy have a volume of 300ml, so this recipe uses half a can. Use the rest to make Vietnamese coffee, or drizzle over waffles.
- **Fresh lemon juice makes a world of difference in these tarts. The flavor of the pasteurized stuff in the bottle works in a pinch, but fresh is best.
Citrus was high on my cravings list too, except for me it was pineapple. Could not get enough pineapple, pineapple for days! In fact, I was that crazy 8 month pregnant lady on the subway who always had at least three pineapples in her shopping bag. I love how easy this recipe looks and I think it would be perfect for a spring or summer baby shower. Enjoy the last few weeks, you’ll get to meet her soon. 😉
One of my baby apps reminded me that she’s 2 weeks and 6 days away from arriving, which is exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Aw, this post made me smile so much! I’m glad you’re doing well and finding the time to cook. I craved a lot of sour too, with one of my kids and then major spice and peppers after they were born. So weird. I can’t wait for baby H and I’m so excited for you!
Thanks Bernice, we can’t wait to meet her!
Congrats on the baby girl! She’ll love making these cute little tarts with you. Plus a recipe from grandma is always the best!
I’m a big citrus fan myself and lemon has to be my all-time favorite. I hear these tarts from Georgia calling my name. As soon as I pick up some tart shells these will be in my mouth. 🙂
I love anything with lemon and cream cheese and these tarts were absolutely spectacular! I enjoyed every single bit, they were so easy to make as well!
These little tarts are beautiful! I love how you shared the handwritten recipe! Those are my favorite!
Love this! Old tried and true recipes from our relatives are always the best! Especially when we find them completely by accident like that!
Cream cheese tarts are some of my absolute favourite desserts ever. Every time I see them being sold, I will most likely be buying them!! This looks so perfect, I am definitely going to be giving this a go this weekend. Thanks so much for the recipe 🙂
Congratulation, best wishes and prayers to you on the arrival of your bundle of joy! The magnificent lemon tarts were such a delightful treat! A recipe from grandma is the best! 🙂
These look so delicate and delicious! Nothing tops a lemon tart for summer…these creamy gems are my favorite. Thank you for the beautiful recipe!
I didn’t know something so cute and delicious could be so simple to make! My whole family loved them, thank you! 🙂
Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
Oh yeah!!! Congratulations on the baby girl! These lemon tarts are a perfectly delicious way to celebrate! I LOVE the handwritten recipe. So precious! Thank you so much for sharing!