Classic Desserts/ Dessert/ Fruit Desserts/ Pies, Tarts & Crumbles

Lemon Tart

December 14, 2015

A traditional French-style lemon tart with creamy, dreamy lemony filling.

Perfect Creamy Lemon Tart | prettysimplesweet.com

My favorite lemon tart tastes just like a classic ‘tarte au citron’ from Paris. It has shallow sides, a crumbly, sweet, cookie-like crust, and classic lemon curd filling with just enough butter to make it creamy and not too sour. Since the filling is quite rich, the lemon layer isn’t very thick. 

This tart requires 2 steps:

  1. Make the tart crust. In this post, you’ll find not just the recipe, but also tips for making a perfect crust. You’ll need to prepare the dough, then fully bake the crust before filling it with the lemon mixture. If you’re using a store-bough tart shell, you’ll only need to make the lemon curd.
  2. Make lemon curd for the filling. This post includes many tips on how it’s done, so be sure you read it. Once the lemon curd is ready, fill your crust with it and chill.

Perfect Creamy Lemon Tart | prettysimplesweet.com

The filling
The filling is similar to my favorite lemon curd, except for 2 adjustments. First, there’s the addition of heavy cream, which is optional but adds richness and great taste, and you can use up to ¼ cup of it.

Second is the amount of butter. I usually don’t like a lot of butter in my lemon curd, but here it helps to mute the bold lemon flavor, which I find really makes this tart superb. You can cut the butter by half if you prefer, or on the contrary, add more. The butter also adds a thick, creamy texture and the long whisking when adding it makes it light and airy. Instead of whisking the butter by hand, you can use a blender; just add the lemon mixture and blend, adding a few cubes of butter at a time, until completely smooth.

Chill the tart for several hours before serving or the curd will be too runny. After enough chilling time, the lemon curd will firm up, making it easier to cut through the pie.

An interesting and delicious option is to add basil to the lemon curd. Add ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves along with the sugar, eggs, and other ingredients, and let them cook together. You’ll discard the leaves upon sieving the mixture through a strainer.

Perfect Creamy Lemon Tart | prettysimplesweet.com

You could top the tart with meringue, whipped cream, or berries if you want, but it’s just as good as is.

Read more about crust making here.
Read more about lemon curd here.

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Lemon Tart
Yields: one 9 in/23 cm tart crust
 
A traditional French-style lemon tart with creamy, dreamy lemony filling.
Ingredients
For the lemon curd:
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (or 3 whole eggs)
  • ¾ cup (150 g/5.3 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons for both zest and juice)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, optional
  • ½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Instructions
  1. To make the lemon curd: In a medium heatproof bowl, place eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and heavy cream and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (bain-marie). Cook on moderate heat, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes thick (mine was ready in 10 minutes, but it can take up to 20). If you have a thermometer, it should register 170F/75C; otherwise, it should coat the back of a wooden spoon and leave a clear pass if you run your finger through it. The curd will thicken more once cooled.
  2. Remove from heat and immediately strain mixture through a sieve. Add butter, a few cubes at a time, and whisk until completely melted and incorporated, and mixture is smooth. Take your time with it—the whisking makes for an airy and light texture. Allow to cool to room temperature before filling the tart. (Lemon curd can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or can be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw, place overnight in the fridge. Whisk the mixture to smoothen it before using.)
  3. Fill the tart shell with lemon curd, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours until chilled. Serve with berries and whipped cream if you like. The tart is rich, so cut your servings small.


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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Laila
    December 14, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    I just made your lemon bars, which were winners, so I reckon I can put this next on the agenda for ma famille 😛 Looks dreamy as usual ♥

    • Reply
      Shiran
      December 15, 2015 at 5:22 am

      That’s so sweet of you Laila, thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoy my recipes 🙂

  • Reply
    nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps
    December 15, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Absolutely stunning!!!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      December 17, 2015 at 4:20 am

      Thanks Nicole! 🙂

  • Reply
    Theodora
    December 16, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Looks amazing! 🙂

    • Reply
      Shiran
      December 17, 2015 at 4:17 am

      Thank you Theodora 🙂

  • Reply
    Becky | The Cookie Rookie
    January 5, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    I just found your site, and it’s STUNNING! I’m opening every post and gawking at all the gorgeous photos. Bravo!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      January 7, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Thank you so much, Becky! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kat
    March 7, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I just found your site and I love all the detail and information you give! Thank you. I have an 11″ tart pan so how can I adapt the recipe to fit it? Going to make this lemon tart tonight! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      March 8, 2016 at 1:41 am

      Thanks, Kat! 🙂 I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure, but I did make it once using a 10-inch pan and it was fine. If you want to make extra filling just to make sure you have enough, multiply the recipe by 1 and 1/3 (4 eggs, 1 cup of sugar…).

      • Reply
        Kat
        March 8, 2016 at 10:45 am

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! 🙂 I held off and will make this Sunday. I will let you know how it goes. Where are you based out of? I LOVE your blog!

        • Reply
          Shiran
          March 9, 2016 at 10:02 am

          Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Reply
    R.E.Cox
    March 7, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Will definitely try this one,, sounds wonderful

  • Reply
    Eden Passante
    March 7, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    This looks so delicious! The texture looks heavenly!

  • Reply
    Brittan
    March 29, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Hi, if I make the lemon curd in advance and fill my tarts after it I chilled and set up, will it not lay flat/look as nice?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      March 30, 2016 at 4:59 am

      Hi Brittan, you can make the lemon curd in advance – no problem. Before using, whisk the lemon curd for a few seconds until smooth, then fill your tart. It should look just as nice 🙂

  • Reply
    Mel
    May 22, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Made this for family dinner last night and it was divine! So creamy, delicious and not overly sweet!

  • Reply
    plasterer bristol
    July 19, 2016 at 12:50 am

    My favorite of all time. So delicious. Awesome recipe.

    Simon

  • Reply
    nabil
    October 7, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    it is beautiful very good

  • Reply
    Michael
    January 12, 2017 at 6:05 am

    This may be a really stupid question but Is it possible to make the tart crust and curd the night before and refrigerate ? And would it be better to chill them seperatley and then combine when needed or make the complete tart then refrigerate ? … baking newbie sorry!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      January 12, 2017 at 8:23 am

      There’s no such thing as a stupid question! Yes, it’s definitely possible, and both options you’ve mentioned are ok. You can make the complete tart a day ahead (I do this all the time), and keep in the fridge to let the custard set.

  • Reply
    Sandra Roberts
    March 6, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    I have a couple of pints of Myer Lemon curd (without the cream) in my freezer, so I whipped about a cup of heavy cream with a little powdered sugar to fill my tart (Myer Lemons are out of season and I love their flavor) I combined it with the Curd (none to gently since I wasn’t going for a Mousse) It wasn’t overly sweet or tart. I can’t wait for fall to try this your way and see the difference it may make!!!!

  • Reply
    Joanne
    April 12, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I have some Myler Lemon juice in the freezer. Can I use that? Do I have to adjust any ingredients. Would like to make it this weekend for Easter.TIA.

    • Reply
      Shiran
      April 14, 2017 at 6:43 am

      Hi Joanne! If it’s freshly squeezed lemon juice, you can use it.

  • Reply
    Nicki
    April 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Looks scrumptious – can I use whipping cream instead of heavy cream? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      April 16, 2017 at 6:56 am

      Yes, use cream with high fat percentage, at least 30%.

  • Reply
    Susanne
    July 2, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Hi,I tried your recipe. Unfortunately the filling didn’t thicken. Any tips what I can do about it? Thanks a lot because the taste was awesome.

    • Reply
      Shiran
      July 3, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Hi Susanne, it can take a while until it thickens, and it won’t look very thick while still warm. If you use the amount of eggs in the recipe, then it should eventually thicken. Make sure that the water is simmering, and that the mixture gets warm.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    August 4, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Hi, I had the same issue as Susanne. However Im a newbie to lemon curd so perhaps the consistency was right. It got firm enough to slice however, I still pictured it should be much firmer such as … jello? Horrible comparison I know but hopefully you understand. Mine was a thicker version of pudding. Everything has been chilled for about 6 hours and I cooked it so long to do the spoon test drawing a finger through. ….. thoughts ??

    It is quite delicious so bravo indeed and i’d make it again either way I just feel that mine may be off.

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      August 6, 2017 at 5:03 am

      Hi Jessica, it sounds just right actually. Lemon curd, or any kind of curd, is quite soft, and isn’t as firm as jelly, but it should be stable when you cut the tart. If there are any leftovers, chill it for longer to check if it becomes more stable. Usually it does.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    August 31, 2017 at 3:37 am

    Hi, I made this lemon tart today, but my filling didn’t look nearly as pale or creamy looking. Did I miss something? I did only have small eggs so I added 3 whole eggs plus one yolk, could this be the reason? Everything else was to the recipe. The flavour reminds me of my grandma’s lemon butter she makes. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      September 3, 2017 at 8:04 am

      Hi Jessica, the eggs aren’t the reason for that.My first lemon curd wasn’t that creamy also, so I guess it takes practice. It’s also important to strain the mixture through a sieve.

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