Gluten free Lemon Tarts. Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield

Building Connection with Gluten Free Shortbread Lemon Tarts

There are so many beautiful ways to build connection.

One of those ways is with food.

Did you know there is actually research on this?

Photo of the book The Surprising Science of Meetings by Steven G. Rogelberg. Photography by Sharon K. Summerfield at Horne Lake, BCIn the book “The Surprising Science of Meetings” written by Steven Rogelberg he shares:

“Snacks at meetings are a good predictor of positive feelings about meetings.  Not only do people enjoy treats, snacks help build an upbeat mood state and foster camaraderie that can carry into the substance of the meeting itself.”

I always appreciate when there is tasty food at meetings.

This recipe has been in the development stages for more than a decade.

I am so grateful to my extended “quality team” who have continued to taste the many versions of this recipe.

Honestly the creation of this recipe started when I was working with a wonderful executive, Ian Rokeby.  There is something about having a wonderful team to work with where you can experiment and try different recipes.  This was one of those teams.

I will openly admit one of the joys of working in engineering and on big infrastructure projects was the food we ate.  And we ate well.

Over time this recipe evolved as I learned more about the better harmonization of the lemon and the shortbread.  Over the past four years, this recipe became one of my rehabilitation exercises that my talented physio, Klara Schwab encouraged me to try.

It took a lot of experimenting to figure out the ways to add the lemon filing, making it nice and tart, to the shortbread where the crust did not get soft.  In the earlier stages of this recipe, things were not working.  The desired blend of delicious shortbread a lemon filling was not working.

I really like how Amy Edmundson shared this in her new book “Right Kind of Wrong”

“The discovery of what doesn’t work is sometimes as valuable as finding what does work”

Honestly it was discovering what was not working that helped me to discover what did.

Our puppy Shelby at Christmas time. Photography by Sharon K. SummerfieldA few years ago as I was continuing to develop this recipe, we got a puppy, Shelby.  As I made the lemon tarts and put them on the coffee table, the tarts started disappearing.

She was picking them off the plate one at a time.  To this day, when the tarts are ready she will wait for one to be offered.

Our girl, Shelby is also part of our “quality team”.

This recipe is now one that is requested and requested often.

You need at least 90 minutes to make this.

Lemon Tarts with a Gluten Free Shortbread Based

Click here Gluten Free Lemon Shortbread Tarts  for a pdf of this recipe

Pre heat the oven at 375 ̊


Shortbread Base:

 ½ cup butter – at room temperature – cut in cubes

½ cup icing sugar

1 cup gluten free flour*

After the Blind Bake

1 egg white

Lemon Filling

 3 egg yolks (sometimes I will use up to 5 egg yolks)

1 tbsp lemon zest (from approx. 3 lemons)

¼ cup lemon juice (from approx.. 3 lemons)

¾ cup sugar

3 tbsp cornstarch

1 cup water

1.5 tbsp butter

 *I like the Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend.


  1. For the Shortbread base, soften the butter.  Then add the icing sugar and gluten free flour.  Mix until this becomes like small balls.
  2. Prepare a small tart pan, I like the one that has 18 tarts.
  3. This recipe will make close to 18 tarts.
  4. Form a small ball that covers most of the base of one tart and press into the individual tart pan.
  5. Puncture the shortbread with a fork.  This will help to reduce the “puffing” of the shortbread.
  6. Do a “blind bake”.
  7. Cut small squares  of parchment paper and place in each tart.  Fill with beans or weights for baking.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, at 375 ̊, until the shortbread is a light brown.
  9. Take out of the oven and remove the parchment and beans/weights.  Then press the shortbread into the pan, once more.
  10. Paint the shortbread lightly with egg whites.  Bake for another 5 minutes at 375 ̊.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Prepare the Lemon Filling


  1. Clean your lemons.
  2. Using your grater and the finer setting, grate the lemon to get your lemon zest.
  3. Find a bowl and put a sieve in it. Cut your lemons in quarters and then manually squeeze these lemons into the sieve on top of the bowl.  This will help to catch any of the seeds.
  4. Place water, sugar, button in a bowl and heat this up. Add egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, and cornstarch while mixing on low to medium heat.  Once the cornstarch is well mixed turn off the heat.  Continue to whisk the mixture.  As I do like a tart lemon filling please do taste.  If it tastes too tart, add more sugar.  If the mixture is too runny, then small amounts of cornstarch.  Continue to whisk and taste.
  5. The mixture should thicken nicely.
  6. Once the mixture is the desired consistency, carefully spoon into the cooked shortbread shells. If you have any remaining lemon sample this with sugar cookies.  It is divine.
  7. Then bake for another 5 minutes. The lemon mixture should bubble. Take out of the oven.
  8. Let the tarts cool in the pan for 2 hours.
  9. Once cooled, remove from the pan with a knife.
  10. Then put in a container.  These can be stored very well in the fridge, for up to a week.

These are perfect to enjoy with afternoon tea, an add on to dessert or a small gift to someone who enjoys lemons.

If you would like to learn the ways you can enjoy more gluten free baking, please do reach out.

I am available to host a workshop and share my many insights on how you can build connection with delicious gluten-free small batch goodies.  If you would like to purchase some gluten free goodies, with no added fillers please do reach out to

Be kind. Be patient. Be nourished in all you do.

Photo of Sharon K. SummerfieldAt The Nourished Executive we help leaders invest in wellbeing, with a holistic lens, to prevent burnout.

Our founder, Sharon K. Summerfield,  is a Wellbeing Coach,  Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Smart Growth Advisor, with a demonstrated success in nurturing healthy employees and high performing organizations. 

We have a strong commitment to giving back, investing and supporting local community. 

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