Lemon Cream Cheese Tarts

Yield: 24 tarts

Time: 1 1/2 hours + 1 hour refrigeration 
Crust recipe from Julie Thomson
Filling Recipe from Taste of Home
3 C flour
1 t salt
1 1/3 C shortening, butter flavored
2 T sugar
5 T cold ice water
1 egg, beaten
1 t vinegar

Lemon Filling:
1 1/2 C sugar
6 T cornstarch
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 C water
2 T butter
2 t grated lemon peel
6 drops yellow food coloring
1/2 C fresh lemon juice

Cream Cheese Topping:
1   8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 C cool whip
1 T fresh lemon juice

1. For the crust, put the flour, salt, sugar and shortening in your stand mixer and mix with the whisk attachment just until it starts to form a crumb like mixture. If you don't have a stand mixer you can just put the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork, or pastry blender.
2. Turn the mixer on to low and add 5 T cold ice water. Don't add any of the ice....just the cold water. I just fill up a bowl with water and ice and then measure out the 5 T.
3. Add one beaten egg.
4. Add 1 t vinegar. Mix the dough until all ingredients are combined. Don't over mix here folks. Just get them combined and you are good to go.
5. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Flour your counter top just a bit and then roll each section out. It helps to flour your rolling pin and your dough as well. You don't want it to stick to the counter top.
6. Cut out the tarts with a large star or flower cookie cutter. You could also use a large cup, or small bowl.
7. Gently place the cut out dough in regular sized muffin tins. Use a fork to poke some holes in the bottom of each shell.
8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. You don't want them to get too brown. Keep and eye on them and take them out just when the tips of the shells start to turn a golden color.
9. Take the pans out of the oven and set them on cooling racks for about 10 minutes. Don't remove the shells yet. They need time to sit and cool in the muffin tins. This will help them keep their lovely form. After the 10 minutes are up carefully take them out of the tins and let them continue to cool on the wire racks.

1. Zest your lemons and squeeze the juice. Set both of these aside.
2. In a sauce pan combine 3/4 C sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
3. Reduce the heat and add the remaining sugar.
4. Cook until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, lemon peel, and food coloring. When these are combined gently stir in the lemon juice. Do not over mix.
6. Let the filling cool for about 10 minutes. Then pour into the pastry shells. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

1. Beat your softened cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Add the cool whip and lemon juice and beat for another minute.
2. Pipe the topping onto the tarts and enjoy!
Store leftovers in the refrigerator