Last updated on August 8th, 2022 at 05:27 pmJump to Recipe
Lemon Tart Recipe [Video]
Lemon Tart is a sweet and tart dessert with an incredibly creamy, custard-like citrus filling on a buttery, homemade pie crust. This easy recipe is my family’s favorite summer dessert and I love making it because it does not take much time. It is also incredibly delicious. In fact, if you have a few lemons, you probably already have all the ingredients to make one of these tasty lemon tarts.
Are you looking for a fast and easy way to make lemon curd? Our Instant Pot Lemon Curd is done in under 30 minutes. If you want more lemon recipes, try making our Lemon Meringue Cupcakes made with lemon pie filling, egg whites, and fresh lemon juice, or this recipe for Air Fryer Lemon Squares you can make in minutes.
As you probably figured, the lemon tart originated in France as early as 1806. The cook who wrote the first recipe was Elizabeth Goodwell from Philadelphia though. So did the lemon tart really start in America? Not really. The basic lemon custard tart can be traced back to the 12th century in Europe.
Also known as a Tarte au Citron in France, this buttery and crumbly crust is loaded with a lemon filling that is so tart and sweet that you will swear you are at some high-class French restaurant in Paris. No matter where the lemon tart originated, it is always delicious.
Are you looking for other lemon desserts? We have plenty on our food blog. Try our blueberry lemon muffins with lemon glaze or these scrumptious lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream icing. No-bake lemon cheesecake is also delicious and easy to make with cream cheese, gelatin, and whipped cream.
For this nine-inch tart, you will need to gather these simple ingredients. When you are ready to begin, scroll down to the recipe card where you will find the step-by-step instructions and precise measurements.
Pie crust with lemon zest:
- Sweet tart crust: You can use homemade pie crust or a store-bought nine-inch sweet pie or tart dough.
- Lemon zest: From one lemon.
Lemon tart filling:
- Lemon zest from one lemon: We used Meyer lemons, but you can use what you have.
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice: From two lemons.
- White granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter: Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Large eggs: Whole eggs or egg yolks plus two tablespoons of heavy cream.
- Egg yolks: In addition to the three large eggs.
- Vanilla extract: 100% pure vanilla extract is best.
How to make lemon tart from scratch?
- Make the tart crust: First, bake crust in a nine-inch tart pan following the tart crust recipe for this Amish pie crust. This includes blind baking. Press the dough into a tart pan and let it cool completely before you fill so it does not get soggy.
- Preheat oven: To make the lemon mixture, first, you need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk the tart ingredients: Next, whisk all the tart ingredients together except the eggs and yolks in a medium saucepan. Let it cook over medium heat whisking constantly, to keep the butter moving as it melts, until the butter is completely melted. If you do not whisk it enough, it will probably split.
- Cook the custard: Combine eggs and yolks and add them to the mix. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for about five minutes or until it holds its shape for a few seconds when dolloped. It may take longer depending on your stovetop and the thickness of the saucepan. Do not remove it from the stove until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon or it will not set correctly.
- Strain the zest: Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the filling into a medium bowl, making sure you remove all the lemon zest so it will not mess with the setup process. Pour it into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to let it cool completely.
- Fill the tart shell: Immediately, pour the tart filling into the shell and smooth it out with an offset spatula.
- Bake the tart: Lastly, bake your classic lemon tart for five minutes or until the crust is lightly golden around the edges. Don’t worry if it is still soft when you touch it because it will set as it cools.
- Cool to room temperature: Finally, let the tart cool completely before slicing.
- Serve: You can serve this French lemon tart with fresh berries, whipped cream, lemon slices, or your own favorite.
How to make instant pot lemon curd from scratch?
- Prepare the pot: For this lemon curd recipe, add two cups of water to your instant pot and place your trivet at the bottom.
- Make the butter mixture: Then, add the lemon juice and zest, butter, and sugar and beat with a mixer until it is light and fluffy.
- Combine egg mixture: Add egg yolk, eggs, and lemon juice, mixing on low speed until it is combined but still lumpy.
- Fill the jars: Immediately, place several canning jars in the pot on top of the trivet, filling them about 3/4 of the way before securing the lids.
- Close and lock: After, close and lock the lid, setting it to pressure cook on high with the steam valve in the sealing position.
- Release the pressure: Once the cooking time is finished, let it do a 10-minute natural release before venting to release the rest of the pressure.
- Open and stir: After the pin drops, carefully open the lid and remove the jars using oven mitts. Stir the lemon curd filling in the jars until it is creamy.
- Chill until the mixture thickens: Last, serve in small bowls or use in your lemon tart recipe once it has chilled in the fridge for several hours.
- Powdered sugar: For a sweeter crust, use confectioners sugar’ or powdered sugar.
- Other juice: Try lemon juice and zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, or pineapple juice for an amazing flavor twist.
- Another citrus: Additionally, you can make the exact same recipe with lime, orange, or grapefruit!
- Salted butter: You can use salted instead of unsalted butter if that is all you have. It does not make that big of a difference.
- Less sugar: Cut sugar by a 1/2 cup for a tangier tart.
- No sugar: In fact, you could also use a sugar substitute like Splenda instead.
How to serve:
Serve this absolutely delicious lemon tart with decorations like mint leaves, berries, edible flowers, or lemon slices. This recipe makes the best lemon tart that is not overly sweet or too tangy. It is just sooo tasty that your family will call it the perfect lemon tart. Try one of our fun serving ideas or share one of your own:
- This dish also makes the perfect dessert for lemon chicken or you can try our lemon pepper wings.
- Instead of the fruit and mint on top, why not add some icing sugar or your favorite glaze?
- Top your lemon tart with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Try our easy homemade whipped cream recipe.
- Why not toss some chopped strawberries or oranges into the lemon curd just after it cooks?
- Another way to top this delicious dessert is with a scoop of vanilla or pineapple ice cream.
- Toss a handful of chocolate chips on top for chocolate lovers.
- Serve with a glass of our sweet and tangy homemade lemonade made with fresh lemons.
Frequently asked questions
What is a lemon tart filled with?
Any delicious lemon tart filling is made of lemon curd. It is not too sour or sweet but right in between and it is so light that it melts in your mouth. The lemon curd filling is made from fresh lemon, butter, sugar, and eggs and it has a pudding-like consistency for a decadent dessert.
How do I blind bake my pie crust?
Also known as par-baking, blind baking your crust is an important step in many homemade pie crusts. To blind bake your tart crust, first you need to weigh it down, so it does not puff up in the middle and shrink the sides. You can use pie weights, beans, or even rice.
Place weights on top of a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of your crust and bake for about 13 minutes. Then, remove the parchment paper and weights and poke several holes in the bottom of the crust. Put the empty pie crust back in the oven for two more minutes until the bottom is golden brown.
What is the difference between a tart and a pie?
A pie is served right from the pie pan with a flaky and light crust. It typically has a top crust such as with an apple pie that has a top or a latticework crust. A tart is made from a firm and crumbly pastry dough that is sweetened and much thicker than a pie crust.
What are the nutrition facts in this recipe?
In one serving of this lemon tart, you get 200 calories, 15 grams of carbs, 13 grams of fat with 8 grams being saturated fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 grams of sugar, and 35 milligrams of sodium. But you also get 1 milligram of iron, 470 units of vitamin A, 5 milligrams of vitamin C, 17 milligrams of calcium, and 3 grams of protein.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: If you have any leftovers, store them in a covered tart pan or another airtight container. It will stay fresh and delicious for about three days in the fridge.
- Freeze: For the extra tart that you cannot eat in a few days, feel free to wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in freezer bags. You can freeze it for about three months.
- Thaw: Move the tart from the freezer to the fridge the day before you want to serve it. You want it to thaw for a full 24 hours in the fridge so it will not build up any condensation.
- Reheat: This dish is best served at room temperature, so you do not need to reheat it.
More lemon desserts:
- Be sure to whisk constantly during the melting process so your lemon curd filling does not boil, or it will curdle.
- When making your pie dough, use cold butter to make it extra flaky. Use a pastry cutter to work it into the flour mixture.
- Or you can shorten prep time by using a store-bought pie crust.
- Try using a food processor to make your dough without getting your hands all dirty.
- Using a whole egg with your egg yolks makes the crust sturdier.
- When you blind bake the tart crust, wrap the bottom and edges of the dough with aluminum foil so they do not get too brown.
Creamy Lemon Tart
- 1 Amish crust or 9" store-bought pie crust
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest if making your own crust
Lemon tart filling:
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup white sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
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- Follow the recipe for making the crust and also add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest to the ingredients.
- Also, follow the instructions for blind baking the empty tart crust.
- Allow to fully cool before adding the filling.
Lemon tart filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan and give them a good whisk to combine.
- Place the saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens enough to hold its shape briefly on the surface of a spoon when dolloped, it should have a thick pudding, custard-like texture. The process will take about 5-8 minutes.
- Using a fine mesh strainer strain the lemon curd.
- Pour the lemon mixture into the tart shell and smooth the top using a spoon or spatula.
- Bake for 5-8 minutes in the preheated oven. The filling will still have a soft custard texture, but it should not be liquidy. It will set more once cooled.
- Cool the tart fully at room temperature and after that refrigerate it for a few hours to fully set.
- Serve topped with fresh berries and whipped cream or ice cream on the side.
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