Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Limoncello Cream Cheese Mini Tarts

I never turn down any food or drink that has lemon or lime.  I guess these favorites are a result of the times I lived in California and Florida. These flavors take me straight back to the white sand beaches of Destin Island in Florida's gulf or the groves of sunny California.

Anyhow, I decided to bring out that huge bottle of  Limoncello.  Instead of mixing it in with lemon italian ice and having a slushy drink, I made the hard decision of making these tarts.  The baking resulted in a creamy tart with a sweet flaky crust, so I did not regret the decision.  Also, it looks like I still have some left for that slushy!

Limoncello Cream Cheese Mini Tarts 
adapted from Pixie-baker

1 tbs lemon zest
1/2 cup cold butter (cut into cubes and frozen for 30 minutes)
splash of ice water (optional)
2 eggs
1/2 cup Limoncello (or lemon juice)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Butter the inside of four 5 inch tart pans or one 9 inch tart pan.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift confectioners sugar, flour and salt together.  Put in a food processor bowl.  Add pieces of frozen butter.  Using the pulse mode, pulse on and off thirty times.  If it still seems dry add 1/8 tsp of water and pulse about 6 times.  Check dough to see if you can form into a ball, if not continue adding water 1/8 tsp at a time and pulsing until you reach the right consistency.

Take the dough and divide into 4 equal pieces.  Take each piece and place it between two sheets of wax paper.  Roll piece until it is 7 inches in diameter, then place in freezer for 10 minutes.  Peel off wax paper and place on tart pan.  Wait 3 minutes or until dough is pliable and press into one of the tart pans, making sure it is even all around. Should it break, just smooth and press with  your fingertips.  The heat from your fingers will help shape it back in place.  Cut excess dough from top edges with a knife. Continue with this process to form the remaining 3 tart shells.

Cover each with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 15 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Once the oven has preheated and tarts froze the alotted time, place tarts on baking sheet.  Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are golden. Remove tarts and set aside. Reduce your oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 3-4 minutes.  It should have the consistency of thick frosting and have no lumps. Add the granulated sugar and beat with mixer until evenly dispersed in the cream cheese.  Then add one egg and beat until combined.  Add the remaining egg and continue to beat.  Pour the Limoncello and sprinkle zest into batter.  Blend all ingredients with electric mixer. 

Take the filling and pour into each tart shell, making sure not to over fill. Tarts should be evenly spaced on baking sheet and placed in oven.  Bake until the filling is not watery or becomes set.  This should take about 15-20 minutes.  Remove and place tarts on rack to cool.Serve cold and topped with whipped cream.