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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day: Lemon Almond Tartlets

Lemon Almond Tartlets - A little tart, a little sweet, and with a heart of gold, just like Mom.

Here we are again, on Mother's Day.

As a veteran of numerous Days of Mother, I've seen it from all sides: first, as a child bringing my Mom the special pottery pencil holder made in art class. As a young mother myself, being taken out to breakfast by husband and toddlers as the guest of honor. Later, having a special breakfast arrive on a tray carried by small children. It was wonderful.

As the children got older, life got busier; more and more, their lives took center stage. However, I still had the Mother job, and tried my best to do it well. High school, college, graduate school, work... I carried more furniture up more flights of dorm stairs than anyone I know. Some of the furniture was very heavy, like the futon; we won't go there. In addition to my moving and storage abilities, I proved to be an able chauffeur, cook, personal shopper, and counselor. There's nothing special about that; it's what Mothers do. Some of the Mothers Days were memorable, some not.

With the passage of time, one progresses from joyous young Motherhood, which seems like it will never end, to workaday Motherhood, to dutiful Motherhood, to light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel Motherhood, to maybe-I'll-get-a-card Motherhood. Through it all, there are tremendous joys, sorrows, and challenges. None of us would trade it for anything.

If you identify with any of this, perhaps you are a Mother, too. Or maybe you're just a Mother sympathizer. In any case,  making something special is always a welcome activity on Mother's Day. I suggest you try these Lemon Almond Tartlets; a dense, almond flour and lemon filling inside an almond cookie crust, with a little lemon frosting on top. 

Guaranteed to make Mom smile.

Lemon Almond Tartlets


6 oz. unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup almond flour, or very finely ground almonds
1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached flour)
1 egg
Juice and finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons milk
4 oz. melted unsalted butter
2 drops almond flavoring (Optional)

1 and 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus a few drops as needed

1. Crust:  In electric mixer, combine all crust ingredients and mix slowly until completely uniform.

2. Turn out the crust and press it into a disk shape; refrigerate on a plate, covered, for 30 minutes.

3. Prepare tartlet shells: (I used silicone baking forms, but you can use any 4-oz small pan or ramekin) Roll out a small piece of dough between plastic and a silicone mat until quite thin, then lift and place in the the baking form or pan.  Press it down evenly into the form and then trim it flush at the top edge with a knife. This gives a neat top edge on the finished tartlet.

4. Make Filling:
In the electric mixer, combine the lemon juice and zest, the sugar, and the eggs. Mix well.
Then add the flour, baking powder, milk and eggs, mixing until combined.  Add the melted butter and beat until uniform.  If adding almond flavoring, put it in last.

Fill the prepared tartlet forms almost to the top, place on a baking sheet, and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until filling is done through, using the toothpick test.

5. Unmold, cool on rack. Mix together Icing ingredients, adding more lemon juice until it is just spreadable;  and apply a dollop of icing on top of each tartlet. Serve at room temperature.



  1. Umm I totally identify! Thanks for sharing, I loved how you described the progression of motherhood. And yes, I would never trade it!

    Lovely words.

  2. These look so great. I just love lemon and almond, but never thought of putting the two together. I love the way they puff up! Can't wait to try them.


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