So uh... what the heck is a tassie?
Good question. Luckily I have the answer... and by that, I mean Wikipedia has the answer. Ohhhh Wikipedia, how I adore you. Anyway, Wikipedia says... Tassie: A small tart or miniature pie.
Ah, that makes sense, considering that these Lemon Tassies are like baby pies that haven't grown up yet. I can just picture these tassies saying, "When I grow up, I want to be a big and strong Lemon Meringue pie!"
That being said, these tassies really don't taste anything like lemon meringue. To me, they tasted almost like lemon cheesecake bites, because of the cream cheese used in the filling. And perhaps it's because I didn't use enough zest, but they weren't quite lemony enough for me, either. But it's okay, baby tassies, I don't blame you - you still tasted delicious.
My one issue with this recipe, however, was that I ended up having WAY too much leftover filling. The crust was easy enough that I didn't mind mixing up some more dough, but making 24 more little pie crusts seemed way too tedious for my impatient mood. So instead of making 24 mini pies, I... MADE A PARENT PIE!
Okay okay, yes, I do realize that I'm anthropomorphizing my baked goods. It's been a long week. But you've got to admit that if you saw a regularly sized pie next to 24 mini pies, you'd get some warm fuzzies inside, too. No? Oh... Well, just humor me, then.
Annnnyway... I've got some news for you: I liked the parent pie better. (Shh! Don't tell the tassies!) For some reason, the ratio of crust-to-filling just tasted better to me. You can go ahead and give the tassies a try, but if you want a quicker recipe, I'd just halve the filling recipe and make a large pie crust. Of course, if you want to double the crust recipe and make a tassie family, that sounds like a good option to me.
One more picture of the tassies, for cuteness's sake:
Adapted from marthastewart.com
For the crust:
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
For the filling (Halve these amounts if just making one batch of crust):
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with rack in upper third. Lightly butter a 24-cup mini-muffin pan (or a pie tin, if using); set aside. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour and butter. Pulse until mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. Add the sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Process until evenly incorporated and smooth; do not overprocess.
2. If making tassies: divide the dough into quarters. Divide each quarter into 6 pieces. Shape into balls. Place each ball in a muffin cup; press down in the centers so that the dough fits the cups snugly. Set muffin pan on a baking sheet. If making one pie: press dough evenly in pan.
3. Bake until lightly browned all over and slightly darker at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer baking sheet with muffin pan to a wire rack to cool.
4. Make the filling: In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla until completely smooth. For tassies: using a 1/4-ounce ice cream scoop, fill the cooled crusts. Bake until filling is set and just beginning to color at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer muffin pan to a wire rack. Let cool completely before serving. The tassies may be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.