Proof that "almost" homemade is pretty great.
Mini Lemon Cream Pies
Credit: Greg DuPree

For the Month of Simple Suppers Challenge, I made Mini Lemon Cream Pies. No one needs dessert every night of the week, but these Mini Lemon Cream Pies are a delightful way to celebrate special occasions when you just don't have time to bake. Even though it took me twice as long to prepare the tarts as the recipe estimated, these pies proved that even a non-baker can whip up something spectacular in just 20 minutes.

This recipe couldn't have been easier to execute. I felt as if I was putting together an icebox pie after the filling and the crust had both been made ahead of time. The rich homemade whipped cream helped to disguise the store-bought components of the pie. The impressive presentation of the pies surprised me and I didn't want to ruin them with my sloppy lemon zest. Since my cocktail skills have a leg up on pastry skills, I strayed from the recipe and opted for a neat lemon twist on each dessert.

Mini Lemon Cream Pies
Credit: @brennan.long

Next time, I would plan to invest in a higher quality lemon curd. After visits to Whole Foods and Harris Teeter, I could not find the Stonewall Kitchen brand recommended in the recipe and opted for an inexpensive back-up. While my guests raved over the pies, I think that a creamier, less-tart filling might have upgraded the taste. Next time I host a dinner party, I am going to focus on the main course and treat guests to these "almost" homemade pies at the end of the night.

Want to join in on the Month of Simple Suppers Challenge? Check out the other recipes here.