Bite Sized Lemon Tarts

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Store these little pastries filled with sunny lemon curd in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them.

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick; no substitutions)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
Cream-Cheese Pastry (recipe follows)

Melt butter in the microwave oven on medium power. In a bowl, whisk lemon peel, lemon juice, sugar and eggs. Beat in butter until well-combined.

Place lemon mixture in top of a double boiler over simmering water and cook, stirring often, until thickened and smooth (about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove top of double boiler to a wire rack and let filling cool until it is barely warm to the touch.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Divide Cream-Cheese Pastry evenly into ungreased 13/4-inch muffin pans, using your fingertips to press pastry uniformly into each cup. Pierce each pastry shell in several places with a fork.

Bake until pastry shells are golden brown (18 to 20 minutes). Cool in pans on wire racks.

Fill pastry shells with lemon filling. Remove tarts from pans and serve either at room temperature or chilled.

Cream-Cheese Pastry

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick; see note)
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon brandy
11/4 cups all-purpose flour

In a mixer bowl, combine butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Blend in brandy. Gradually add flour, mixing until dough is smooth.