Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Lemony Cheese Tart with Sour Cream Glaze

Makes one 11-inch tart, about 10 servings
One batch Sweet Tart Dough, see below.


16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup sour cream

Sour Cream Glaze

1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

One 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom

  1. Set a rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
  2. Roll out the dough to fit an 11-inch tart pan. First, place the dough on a floured surface, lightly flour it, and knead the dough for about 15 seconds, squeezing and folding it over on itself so that it becomes malleable but remains cool. Shape the dough into a disk. Then, start rolling the dough by rolling away from you to the far end and back again. Use a firm but gentle pressure – pressing too hard might cut right through the dough. Turn the dough 45 degrees as before and roll again. Continue turning and rolling until the dough is the desired size. Fold the dough in half and slide both hands, palms up, under it. Transfer it to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. With the uncovered part of the pan closer to you, slide both hand underneath the dough and unfold it toward you. Press the dough flat against the bottom of the pan and use your fingertips to push it gently into the angle formed by the bottom and side of the pan. With both hands perpendicular to the bottom of the pan, press the dough into the side of the pan. Use a bench scraper or the back of a knife to trim away the excess dough at the top of the pan. Finally, using your thumb inside the pan and your forefinger on the rim, press in and down at the same time to make the top edge of the crust straight and even. Set aside unbaked crust.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer set on low speed, using the paddle attachment. Beat for 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle.
  4. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and one of the eggs. Beat again on low speed until smooth. Scrape down again and add the second egg. Beat and scrape again. Follow the same procedure for adding the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat in the sour cream until smooth.
  5. Use a large rubber spatula to give a final mixing to the filling and scrape it into the prepared pastry crust, smoothing the top.
  6. Bake the tart until the crust is baked through and the filling is set and no longer wobbly in the center, about 30 minutes.
  7. While the tart is baking, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until just combined. Remove the tart from the oven and immediately scrape the sour cream mixture onto the top of the tart. Use a small offset metal spatula to spread the glaze evenly all over the top of the tart.
  8. Return the tart to the oven and bake 10 minutes longer, just to set the glaze – it will firm up more as it cools.
  9. Cool the tart on a rack.

Serving: Unmold the tart and slide it from the metal tart pan base to a platter. Serve wedges of the tart alone or with some lightly sugared berries.

Storage: Keep the tart at a cool room temperature on the day it is baked. Wrap loosely in plastic and refrigerate leftovers. Bring to room temperature before serving again.

Sweet Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix.
  2. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until the butter is finely mixed into the dry ingredients – you don’t want any visible pieces of butter.
  3. Add the egg, egg yolk, and water. Pulse repeatedly until the dough forms a ball.
  4. Invert the food processor bowl over a floured work surface to turn out the dough. Carefully remove the blade and transfer any dough on it to the surface. Form the dough into a disk about 1/2-inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it until ready to use.

Note: If you use a tart pan smaller than 11 inches in diameter, do not use all of the dough or it will take up too much room and the filling won't fit.