How to make lemon and mascarpone tart with a naughty touch of Drambuie

Now that you can have friends around for afternoon tea in the garden once more, you'll want something nice to serve — and this lemon and mascarpone tart, with an added hint of Drambuie, is an ideal fit.

The recipe for Drambuie — so the somewhat far-fetched story goes — is that the tipple was created by Bonnie Prince Charlie’s official Royal Apothecary, who apparently blended the whisky and honey liqueur to boost strength and vitality with a few drops a day.

What else goes in to the 275-year-old drink is a closely-guarded secret, known by (at present) only three people, one of whom personally mixes each batch of the essence. (Presumably the other two are people he once blabbed to after over-doing the sampling one night.)

As well as being a fine aperitif and cocktail bar staple, it also works well in sweet recipes — as this lovely example demonstrates.

Recipe: Lemon and mascarpone tart with Drambuie


Serves 6

For the pastry cases 

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  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cubed
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

For the filling 

  • 100g mascarpone
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 50g clear heather honey
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp Drambuie

For the honey mascarpone

  • 150g mascarpone
  • 4 tbsp heather honey, or to taste


To make the tartlet cases, place the flour, butter and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively use your fingertips to rub together. Add the egg yolk, thyme leaves, and 1 tablespoon cold water. Pulse again until it starts to from clumps, or use a butter knife to mix it together, then tip out onto a surface and bring it together with your hands, being careful not to overwork the dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Grease 6 x 10cm fluted tart tins.

Roll out the pastry to 3mm thick. Using a 12cm cutter, stamp out six rounds from the pastry and place into the tartlet tins, using your fingers to gently push the pasty into the fluted sides. Cut off any excess pastry. Place in the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 200ºC / 180º fan / gas mark 6. Prick the bases of the pastry with a fork, line with a circle of greaseproof paper and baking beans, and bake blind for 10 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and set aside too cool. Reduce the oven to 170ºC / 150ºC fan / gas mark 3.

Once the tart cases are cool, beat together the mascarpone, caster sugar, honey, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks until combined and smooth, followed by the Drambuie. Pour into the tartlets cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until set. Leave to cool.

The tartlets look best served when just cooled, but can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, whip the mascarpone with the honey and serve on the side — and, for an extra touch, a few edible flowers.

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