Thursday, April 18, 2019

Vintage Lemon Tart

If you're still struggling with what dessert to have for your Easter brunch or dinner, I have a super easy and delicious recipe for you!  This delicious lemon tart (or pie should you decide to make it in a pie pan) can easily be made a day ahead, which is a must when I'm entertaining.

Last weekend, we were invited to a dinner party and I offered to bring the dessert.  I knew I wanted to make something that tasted like spring and decided it would be lemon.  I consulted my Pinterest Board called "If Life Gives You Lemons" and I went down a vast worm hole of lemon recipes on the internet.

The recipe I decided on was mainly inspired by Tricia's beautiful lemon pie at Saving Room for Dessert.  There are many versions of lemon or Key Lime pies or bars that use sweetened condensed milk, many dating back more than 50 years.  The Eagle Brand website has their original version.  Many of the comments on recipes that I browsed, stated that their grandmother or great-grandmother had made the same recipe.

What won me over about Tricia's recipe was her whipped cream topping that includes cream cheese as a stabilizer.  Another do-ahead bonus! Remember I told you that is originally a very, old recipe?  The old-fashioned way to top the pie was to use the egg whites that are left-over from the pie filling to make a baked meringue topping. If you need to find another use for those egg whites, make an angel food cake, an egg white omelet or these delicious almond crisps from my friend Juliana.  Egg whites can also be frozen for up to a month. 

For the dinner party, I decided to add some finely ground almonds to the graham cracker crust.  In my research, I also saw crusts made from animal crackers and saltine crackers.  I'd love to try both!

I used a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  I had enough ingredients left to make these two individual tarts for my husband to enjoy the next day.  Just as tasty as the first day they were made!

Did you know that condensed milk was first introduced in France in 1820 and in the United States by Gail Bordon in 1856.  Condensed milk is real milk from which all water has been removed during a vacuum process.  It was used to feed soldiers during wars and to feed infants and children when lack of refrigeration lead to death from spoiled milk products.  In the 1930s, The Borden company (which is now Eagle Brand) asked homemakers to create and send in recipes made using sweetened condensed milk and I love that we are still using some of them today.

April weather has been very interesting! We've had highs in the 70s but this is what our back yard looked like on Sunday.

Thankfully, the early spring flowers are very hardy! These photos were taken yesterday, after the snow had melted. On the left, Katharine Hodgkin dwarf iris; in the center white Hellebore, or Lenten rose; and on the right, Chionodoxa or Glory of the Snow.

May you all have a save and happy holiday weekend!

Vintage Lemon Tart

Printable Recipe

Servings: 10 slices

My Notes: I used a 10 inch tart pan and doubled the entire recipe. I had enough cracker crumbs and filling left to make 2 4-inch tarts. You could also use a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, which may take slightly longer to bake.

Tip:  Since I was bringing this dessert to someone else's home, I made the whipped topping in the morning and then placed it in a large piping bag with large tip. I like Wilton's large tips. but you will then need to use the large coupler. I sealed the open end of the piping bag with a rubber band, placed it in a zipper bag, and refrigerated it along with the tart.  I was then able to cut and decorate each slice individually when we served it.


2-1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (2 packages)
1/3 cup ground almonds
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


2/3 cup sour cream
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk (I used Eagle Brand)
9 large egg yolks
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, from about 8 large lemons, strain (I prefer to use organic lemons when the zest is also used)
2 tablespoon lemon zest, plus more for garnish


4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Fresh strawberries or raspberries
Grated lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a food processor, combine the graham crackers, almonds and sugar. Process for about 15 pulses until finely crushed. Add the melted butter and pulse until just blended.  Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom (or use a pie plate or 9 x 13 baking pan).  Tip: Use the bottom of a 1-cup round measuring cup to help firmly press the crumbs onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Bake for 8 minutes and set on a baking rack to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  In a medium bowl (I like to use an 8 cup pyrex mixing bowl with pouring spout), add the sour cream.  With the mixer speed on low, slowly add the sweetened condensed milk and mix until combined. Add the egg yolks, one at a time until each is blended.  Add the lemon juice and zest and mix until blended. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake for about 25 minutes or until the filling is set, but is still somewhat jiggly in the center. Cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to add the topping.

Place the cream cheese into a medium bowl and mix until smooth using an electric mixer. Add the whipping cream slowly and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spread over the top of the tart.  Top with fresh berries and sprinkle with additional lemon zest.

Inspired by Easy Lemon Pie from Saving Room for Dessert


Gloria Baker said...

these vintage lemon tarts look stunni8ng, I love lemon always!!
Have a nice weekend and Happy Easter!!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you, Gloria! I love lemon also :) Happen Easter to you and your family, Dear! ♥

Angie's Recipes said...

We too had a bit of snow last week...but nothing compared to yours! That's lots of snow, Susan. The lemon tartlets look so gorgeous and my mouth is watering just staring at the perfect lemon curd filling! Happy Spring!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I think we had almost 3 inches of snow on Sunday. Pretty, but I'm glad it's gone, hopefully until next winter :) Thanks so much, Angie!!

Juliana said...

I love everything that has lemon and your tarts look so delicious...I absolutely like filling with condensed milk...reminds me of many desserts from Brazil.
The picture of your backyard is gorgeous...the contrast of colors...and yes, I would not expect to be like this since it is spring...
Have a great Easter!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I didn't realize how many desserts were made using condensed milk until I started to research it. Thanks so much, Juliana, and Happy Easter to you also!

Vee said...

Snow by the pool last Sunday sure looked pretty. Hope it's long gone now.

My dear sis-in-love has been requesting lemon tarts. I think this recipe will fit the bill.

Chiara said...

I love cakes with condensed milk ! Happy Easter to you and your family, a warm hug

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I'm such a fan of sweetened condensed milk, and your tarts look so beautiful, Susan! I like the idea of using cream cheese to stabilize the whipped cream, and making it ahead. I hope your weather has improved and that you'll have a beautiful weekend.
Happy Easter to you!

Debbie@Mountain Breaths said...

We love desserts with condensed milk, and your lemon tart is so pretty! Happy Easter to you and your family Susan!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

The snow only lasted two days, thankfully! Still not swimming weather though :) This lemon tart is delicious and I was very happy with the results! Thank you, Vee!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I hadn't baked with condensed milk in ages and so glad I did. It's a great recipe! Thank you, Chiara, and Happy Easter to you. I'm sure you're already in resort mode :) A warm hug from Wisconsin.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thankfully, we're supposed to have a beautiful Easter weekend, Kitty. There will be many happy little egg hunters on Sunday :) This is a delicious do-ahead recipe, especially if you love lemon as I do. Thanks so much!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you, Debbie! I kind of stuck up my nose at condensed milk recipes but, no more! Happy Easter to you, Debbie, and hope you'll get to see Xavier hunt for some eggs :)

La Table De Nana said...

Sweettarts♥Oh they look good:)
Eagle Brand is a winner in everything:)
That photo of your pool with snow is amazing..usually a winter blanket covers the blue:) Gorgeous!!I love that you have made such great use of your pool year in year out..and have to tell you that once again you are way ahead of me in blooms and they are as charming as ever:)
Happy Easter Peaxox

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Sweettarts...I like that :) They are so good! Usually, we don't open the pool this early but we had a broken pipe so needed to get that taken care of early. Repairs are not fun :( It's a lovely weekend here, and I'm sure you will catch up very quickly, Pea ♥

Balvinder said...

I am so craving for these vintage lemon tart - so elegant!

Ron said...

Susan these bring bake memories of the Borden's sweet condensed lemon meringue pie of my youth. I think your version sounds like a needed update. Never cared much for the meringue as is was always wet at the bottom. I'm going to try this but substitute Swedish ginger snaps for the crust as we don't have graham crackers here.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

They are delicious! Thank you, Balvinder.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I'm with you regarding the meringue, never cared for it much. Ginger snaps would make a delicious crust! Thank you, Ron!

Pam said...

Oh, wish I would've seen this before Easter, it sounds like a great dessert, Susan! We had close to 7" snow then, crazy! It warmed up and now it's chilly and cloudy again. Your pool is begging for summertime! Take care

handmade by amalia said...

This looks so good! And I just got a bag of lemons from my brother's tree. Definitely giving it a try. I hope you had lovely Easter weekend.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thanks, Pam, it is delicious! Wow, you got more snow than we did! Glad it's gone, hopefully until late next fall :)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you Amalia! Lucky you to get fresh lemons from the tree! Not in our climate :( I hope you enjoy this delicious lemony dessert. We loved it!

Recep Hilmi TUFAN | said...

Thanks for the info on condensed milk. Lemon tart is looking so delicious.

Anca said...

The lemon tart looks so good. I made a lime tart with condensed milk and it was delicious. x

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

I do love Tricia’s recipes and always have made a key lime pie with condensed milk. Now I’ll have to try this lemon version. Snow is supposed to arrive Monday even though today is gorgeous. Hope my blossoms make it!

Easyfoodsmith said...

You made me crave these tarts. They look absolutely gorgeous ❤️

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you ReHiTu! It was very tasty :)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I would love to try a lime version one day. Thank you, Anca!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Lemon desserts are a favorite of mine so I'm always willing to try a new one :) We had snow yesterday - AGAIN! Only 2 inches instead of the 5-8 they were predicting. It's melting quickly, thankfully. Thank you, Abbe!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love lemon tarts, so fresh tasting! Thank you, Taruna!

Kelly | Foodtasia said...

Such a lovely tart, Susan! Lemon desserts are so refreshing. Putting the cream cheese in the whipped cream is brilliant. I'll have to give that a try.

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

What a lovely tart - I just always really enjoy lemon desserts! We've had some pretty wild spring weather around here as well lately!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you, Kelly! I made the whipped cream well ahead of time and it was still perfect at the end of dinner.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love lemon desserts too and especially tarts and bars. Wishing us both a calmer May, weather-wise :)