Shortbread Tart Crusts and Lemon Tarts


Last week I made a lemon curd from scratch, and I hinted that I’d be doing something fun with it. Well, this is that fun! My whole goal all along was to make some miniature tarts, and as it turns out, the lemon curd is perfect for that.

No, those aren’t enormous berries; they’re very small tarts!

Today’s recipe is just the crusts, but I’ll talk a little about making the curd tarts as well. First, though, the sizing. I have the recipe listed as making about 20 tart shells. This is in a very small muffin pan; if you have a normal larger-sized muffin pan, it might make half that many crusts. You make them the exact same way, you just use more dough for each crust and may need to bake them a bit longer. Fortunately, the process is identical.

When making the tarts, I used the lemon curd from last week, but you can fill them with whatever you like. You also have the choice of re-baking them. I found that baking the curd gave it a slightly firmer texture and mellowed out the faint bitterness a bit, and quite liked it. Really, though, it can go either way.

To flatten and smooth out the bottom and sides of the tart shells, I used a shot glass (which shows how small these muffin cups are) but you can do the same thing with your hands, it just won’t be quite as smooth.

Here’s how to make them!

Shortbread Tart Crusts

A simple shortbread crust for miniature pies and tarts.
Servings 20 Miniature Tarts
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes


  • Miniature Muffin Tin
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rubber Spatula


  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • Cup White Sugar
  • 1⅓ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract


  • Preheat your oven to 350℉. Grease your muffin tin and dust it with flour lightly to keep the shells from sticking when they bake.
  • Melt your butter. Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour and mix until combined. You're looking for it to be a crumbly, greasy dough that holds its shape when pressed together. If it's too dry, add in a tsp of ice water at a time until you get it. If it's too moist, add a bit of flour at a time.
  • Spoon about a tablespoon of dough into each muffin cup. Use something like a shot glass or your fingers to flatten and press it around the edges to create a "cookie cup" shape.
  • Bake the crusts for 12 minutes, or until they start to brown. Remove from the heat and, if they've puffed up, gently flatten them with a spoon or other relatively flat instrument.
  • Set the shells aside and let them fully cool. Once cooled, you should be able to gently rotate them to loosen them and lift them out to be filled and decorated however you like.
  • If using the lemon curd from my previous recipe (linked in the post), you can optionally re-bake the curd-filled shells for a thicker texture and mellower flavor. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes, then let cool again.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Crust, Shortbread

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