These handheld tarts are the perfect sweet treat to include in a brunch spread. Made with ready rolled puff pastry, they come together pretty quickly and are sure to disappear just as fast.

Yield: 12 tarts

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 2 sheets, pre-rolled, store-bought  butter puff pastry (about 1 lb)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • Confectioners’ sugar or freeze-dried  strawberry powder, for garnish


Preheat oven to 475°F for a convection oven or 500°F for ovens with no convection feature. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan with butter. Set aside.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour and lay flat one sheet of puff pastry. If needed, with a rolling pin, roll pastry into a 10-inch square. Brush top side of pastry with 2 tbsp melted butter then scatter over 2 tbsp sugar. Top with second sheet of pastry (first making sure to roll out if needed), brush with remaining 2 tbsp butter and sprinkle with another 2 tbsp sugar. Roll up to form a tight log. Place rolled puff pastry in refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes.

Once chilled, trim off uneven edges of puff pastry log and, using a sharp knife, divide into 12 equal pieces. Working with one piece of puff pastry at a time, place into cup of prepared muffin pan, cut side down, and, using your fingers, press into and up sides of pan, creating a tart crust shape. Repeat with remaining puff pastry pieces. Transfer muffin pan to refrigerator to chill.

Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, cardamom and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and egg yolks until just combined. Place saucepan over low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until custard has thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove saucepan from heat and transfer custard to a measuring jug.

Divide custard mixture among chilled tart shells, filling each about three-quarters full. Smooth out tops of custard with back of a spoon, if needed. Bake tarts in oven until custard has puffed and is heavily caramelized on top and pastry is crisp (about 18 to 22 minutes).

Place muffin pan on a wire rack. Let tarts cool in muffin pan for 10 minutes before removing and placing on wire rack to cool until just warm or at room temperature. Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar or freeze-dried strawberry powder.

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