This lovely Lemon Mascarpone Tart is light, delicate, and lemony. Tarts may seem fancy or difficult to make but don’t be intimated because this one is super simple. It’s made up of just two components – the buttery crust and the creamy filling. It starts with a crust made of graham crackers and pistachios that gets filled with a luscious whipped lemon mascarpone mousse. I use the mousse filling to decorate the top by piping on a pretty pattern, then finish it with some lemon slices and a sprinkle of pistachios. The perfect refreshing treat for a warm day!
There aren’t too many ingredients required to make this tart. There is one specialty ingredient I Iike to use to bring in the lemon flavor. Instead of incorporating additional liquid like lemon juice and comprising the texture of the mousse, I use a natural artisan flavoring (linked below). This gives the delicate whipped filling the perfect amount of real lemon flavor while still keeping it light yet thick enough to cut into and hold its shape. You won’t find this at the grocery store but it’s definitely worth ordering.
- Graham Crackers
- Raw Pistachios
- Granulated Sugar
- Mascarpone Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Heavy Cream
- Powdered Sugar
- Amoretti Natural Lemon Artisan Flavor
- Lemon Zest
How to Make a Lemon Mascarpone Tart
- Make the crust. Graham crackers, pistachios, and sugar are ground up together then melted butter is added. The mixture is pressed into the bottom and up the sides of a large round tart shell. This gets baked for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges start to get golden brown. Then let it cool while the filling gets made.
- Make the mousse. The mousse filling starts by whipping mascarpone cheese and cream cheese together. Heavy cream is slowly streamed in while the mixer is on low speed. Then powdered sugar, lemon flavoring, and lemon zest is added and the mixture is whipped up until it becomes thick and stiff peaks form.
- Fill the tart. Reserve about 1 cup of the mousse, which will be used to decorate the tart. Once the tart crust has completely cooled, spread the remaining mousse into the crust. Push it out to the edges, being careful not to knock any crumbs from the crust loose. Then smooth out the top with an offset spatula.
- Decorate the top. Add the reserved mousse to a piping bag fitted with a French pastry tip (or a star tip would work too). You can get creative here and pipe whatever pattern you’d like. I went with a crescent shape of stars and swirls, offset to one side of the tart. Then finish with some slices of fresh lemon and a dusting of chopped pistachios.
Helpful Tools and Supplies
Tart Pan: This pan is a must-have pan for making a classic tart shape. Be sure to get one with a removable base, to easily remove the tart from the pan. A 9” round is pretty standard but you can get all different shapes and sizes, even adorable little mini ones.
Piping Bags: These small piping bags are perfect for piping the filling onto the top of the tart. This is also the size I like to use when adding fine details to my cakes or cupcakes.
Piping Tip: I used French piping tip, Ateco 863 for the design on top of the tart but you can whatever shape you’d like. The French piping tip is similar to a star tip but it has more grooves to create really fine and intricate details. I love this set from Ateco because it has a variety of sizes that pretty much covers any use you would need one for.
Offset Spatula: One of my favorite kitchen tools. I get so much use out of this little spatula. It’s perfect for spreading out the lemon mascarpone mousse into the tart shell and getting a nice smooth top. I also use it for spreading out any dough or batter in pretty much every recipe I make!
Tips for Making a Lemon Mascarpone Tart
- Use a Tart Pan – For a traditional tart, you’re going to need a tart pan. Fortunately, they are pretty inexpensive and can be over and over. What exactly is a tart pan? you might be asking. It’s a shallow pan with fluted edges and usually will have a removable base so the tart can be easily removed once it’s formed and set. I used a 9” round tart pan (linked above) but tart pans come in all shapes and sizes.
- Don’t Overmix – Mascarpone cheese is pretty delicate and can easily be overmixed, making it grainy which is not a texture you want for mousse. When combing the mascarpone and cream cheese together, make sure to mix just until they’re combined. After incorporating the heavy cream in, whip only until the mixture has thickened and forms stiff peaks. Be careful not to whip the mousse any longer than what is needed for a perfectly light and airy filling.
- Chill the Tart – Not only do you want to make sure that the tart crust is completely cool before filling it with the mousse, but you also want to chill the whole tart after it’s assembled. This gives the chance for the mousse filling to set up a little more for a nice clean cut when you slice into it. I also think this tart just tastes better when chilled.
More Lemon Treats You’ll Love
If you make this recipe and love it, be sure to leave a comment below. Happy baking!
Lemon Mascarpone Tart
For the Pistachio Graham Crust
- 6 (90g) graham cracker sheets
- ½ cup (2.5oz/70g) raw, unsalted pistachios
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) sugar
- 4 Tablespoons (57g) butter, melted
For the Lemon Mascarpone Mousse
- 8 oz (225g) mascarpone cheese
- 4 oz (113g) cream cheese
- 1 ½ cups (365mL) heavy cream
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons Amoretti Natural Lemon Artisan Flavor
- zest of 1 lemon, optional
- Pistachio Graham Crust: Add the graham crackers, pistachios, and sugar to a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Add in the melted butter and pulse until the mixture is fully combined.
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” round tart pan. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Lemon Mascarpone Mousse: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the mascarpone cheese and cream cheese and mix just until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly stream in the heavy cream. Once all the cream is in the bowl, add the powdered sugar, lemon flavoring, and zest. Continue whipping, increasing the speed to medium, until the cream has thickened and is fully incorporated. Turn the mixer to high speed and whip until the mixture is thick and looks like stiff peaks, about 20-30 seconds.
- Assembly: Fill a piping bag fitted with a small to medium French-style piping tip, with about 1 cup of the lemon mascarpone mousse. Fill the cooled tart shell with the remaining mousse, spread it out to the edges, and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Pipe the reserved filling on the top of the tart with star and swirl designs. Finish with slices of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of pistachios, if desired. Chill the tart for about 1 hour. To remove the tart from the pan, push the base of the pan to remove the sides then slide off the removable base. Slice up and enjoy!
- Storing: Store the tart in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap in the fridge, for up to 3 days.