Surprise your mom with a delicious Lemon Tart with Almond Shortbread Crust or a mouth-watering Maple-Walnut Tart this Mother’s Day

In 1914, President Wilson set aside the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor America’s mothers. In 1907 the idea of such a holiday was conceived by Anna Jarvis, and was celebrated for the first time in May 1908.

Barbie Butz e1682710966792
Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at

Although cards, flowers, and boxes of chocolates are always in order, I think something “from the kitchen” makes a very special gift.

A tart with a sweet filling or a fresh lemon filling will let your mother or someone else who is special to you, know that you are thinking of them on Mother’s Day. I think the recipes for this month are sure to become favorites in your collection of desserts. 


Lemon Tart with Almond Shortbread Crust

Ingredients for Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup ground almonds

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled

1/2 teaspoon almond extract 

1 1/2 squares bittersweet chocolate

Ingredients for Lemon Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Juice of 1 lemon

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Confectioners’ sugar for decorating


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (or use a 9-inch pie pan). For crust, sift together flour, salt, and confectioners’ sugar in a small mixing bowl. Blend in almonds. Beat in cooled melted butter and almond extract until thoroughly combined, forming a thick dough. Using your fingers, press dough into tart pan, evenly lining the bottom and sides. Place tart pan in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer tart pan to a wire rack.

While crust is pre-baking, melt chocolate in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat or in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. While crust is still warm, brush chocolate in an even layer over it, coating bottom completely, and allow chocolate to cool.

To make filling, sift granulated sugar, flour, and baking powder together in a small mixing bowl, and then beat in eggs, lemon juice, and lemon rind. Pour mixture into cooled, chocolate-coated crust. Carefully return the filled crust to oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until filling is set and very lightly browned. Remove to wire rack and allow tart to cool completely. Remove outer ring of tart pan, leaving tart on pan bottom.

To decorate tart, center a round paper doily on it and lightly sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over it, gently holding doily down against tart’s surface with your other hand. Carefully remove the doily, leaving a lacy pattern of sugar on top of tart. 

Maple-Walnut Tart


Pastry for a 10-inch pie or tart

3 large eggs

1 cup sugar 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (2/3 stick) butter, melted and cooled

1 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line an 11-inch tart pan with the pastry. Line pastry with aluminum foil weighted with dry beans. Bake pastry crust for 7 minutes and remove from oven. Place crust on a wire rack. Remove beans and foil, and cool. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl beat together all remaining ingredients except walnuts until thoroughly blended. Stir in walnuts. Place crust on oven rack and carefully spoon filling mixture into it (this is easier than filling crust first and then transferring it to oven.) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in filling comes out clean. Remove tart to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there. 



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