Lemon Tart

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Filled with vibrant lemon flavor, this French-style lemon tart is just the thing for entertaining. Ideal for any season, but particularly welcoming in wintertime for a burst of brightness.

Did you know that even though we tend to enjoy lemon most in the summertime (hello lemonade and lemon bars), lemon actually hits its peak season in January and February?

A lemon tart with a slice taken out of it.

I think that’s perfect, because lemon and other citrus automatically bring to mind sunny days and warm temperatures — something we definitely are longing for here in the Midwest as the snow and ice piles up outside!

This lemon tart is one of my absolutely favorite ways to enjoy the season. Tarts feel fancy but I promise you it’s incredibly easy! 

Ingredients for lemon tart

Full list of ingredients with quantities is located in the recipe card.

You only need a few simple ingredients for this tart, plus a tart pan with a removable bottom.

Tart Pan

9-inch fluted tart pan, perfect for desserts or savory quiches!

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Both a round or a rectangular tart pan will work. I use a 9.5-inch tart pan; if you use a larger pan the tart will just be thinner.


You’ll need:

The ingredients for a lemon tart are laid out on a marble countertop.

Butter – Use unsalted butter both for the crust and the lemon filling. No need to bring it to room temperature!

Flour – I use all-purpose flour for the crust.

Granulated sugar – The crust contains a little sugar, and you’ll also need more for the filling.

Salt – Just a little salt is needed for the crust. I use fine sea salt.

Milk – To help bring the crust together, we add a little milk. You want it to be cold! Any variety of milk is fine; you can also use cream.

Lemons – You’ll need 3-4 lemons, depending on the size. Both the zest and the juice is used, plus don’t forget any garnishes! I always buy extra lemons as they come in handy for other recipes.

Eggs – Eggs are added to the sugar and lemon juice to turn it from a liquid into a lovely, velvety curd. Use standard large eggs.

A lemon tart with raspberries on top.

How to make this recipe

First, we’ll make the crust. This can be done in advance, as it needs to chill before baking and then cool afterward.

Grab a food processor fitted with a blade and add the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt. Pulse just a couple of times to mix together.

Cut 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter into pieces and add it to the processor. Now pulse again until the mixture is starting to come together and look very crumbly, like a coarse meal.

Pour in half of the milk through the feeder tube while you pulse, just until the dough comes together into a ball. Add a little bit more if needed to bring it together. You might not use all of the milk!

Scoop out the dough and shape it into a disc, then wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly dust your countertop with flour and roll out the dough into a large circle. Set the tart pan on top to make sure the dough is rolled out enough — remember it needs to go up the sides too!

Once the dough is rolled out, transfer it to the tart pan and gently press it into the pan and up the sides. Use a sharp knife to trim across the top to remove excess and create a neat edge. (You can trim after baking to account for any shrinking, but I think it looks cleaner to do it before baking.)

Use a fork to prick the crust all over. Place the tart crust in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until just golden brown. I usually put mine on a baking sheet just in case of any butter seepage. Keep the crust in the tart pan and let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

To make the filling, zest the lemons until you have 2 tablespoons. Then, juice the lemons to yield ¾ cup of juice. I usually get 1 tablespoon of zest and ¼ cup of juice per large lemon.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a bowl with a hand mixer), combine the eggs and remaining 1 cup of sugar. Whip at medium speed to mix completely, gradually adding the juice and zest.

Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and set over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture (making sure it does not boil), until it thickens into a custard texture. This will take just about 5 minutes.

Use a silicone spoon or spatula to stir, making sure to scrape from the bottom to prevent any scorching or the eggs scrambling. The filling is ready when it coats the back of your spoon.

Don’t be tempted to walk away from the stove while the filling is cooking! While it might seem like it isn’t coming together at first, the mixture will go from thin to thickened rather quickly toward the end of the 5 minutes.

Pour the filling into the crust. If you pour directly into the center, the filling will pool out evenly, creating a smooth and shiny surface as it cools.

Place in the refrigerator and chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To remove the tart from the pan, set the bottom onto a jar or can and carefully lower the ring down. Then, set it on a plate or cake stand. Slide a knife or a cake turner between the crust and the tart pan bottom, and slide the tart onto the plate while pulling out the pan bottom.

To slice, use a sharp knife, wiping with a paper towel between cuts, for nice clean slices.

A slice of lemon tart on a plate with raspberries.

I do not recommend covering the tart with plastic wrap, as it can very easily flop onto the top of the tart, ruining the beautiful smooth finish. If you want to cover it, place the tart pan inside a larger, deeper cake pan, and then carefully and tightly cover.

Don’t worry if your tart top isn’t smooth, though! It will still be just as delicious, and you can hide imperfections with a garnish!

A lemon tart with raspberries on top.

Garnish options

Lemon tarts are so pretty even if they aren’t dressed up, but why not add a little flair?

You can dust over powdered sugar, add crisp meringue bites, or pipe on whipped cream.

I used a few slices of fresh lemon along with raspberries (raspberries are a great complement to lemon!), but fresh blueberries and strawberries are good options as well. You can make them look even better by brushing them with an apricot glaze — simply warm some apricot jelly and mix it with a bit of water. It will give the fruit a beautiful shine!

Candied citrus slices are also a lovely addition. Feast + West has a great tutorial on making candied lemon slices!

A slice of lemon tart on a fork.

More lemon desserts

Brighten your days with more lemony delights! Try simple lemon shortbread cookies or lemon poppy seed bread.

Bake up a beautiful ricotta cake with raspberries and lemon or mini lemon cakes dipped in chocolate.

Or, enjoy the delicate flavor of Meyer lemons in a lemon meringue pie!

A slice of lemon tart on a plate with a fork.

You’ll love this delicious lemon tart. It’s the perfect antidote to the winter blues!

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star review below!
It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.

A lemon tart with a slice taken out of it.

Lemon Tart

Bright and refreshing, this easy lemon tart is perfect for perking up winter!
Author : Megan Myers
5 from 39 votes
Print Pin Recipe Review
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Crust chill time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 356 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the crust

For the filling

Instructions

To make the crust

  • In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Cut the 8 tablespoons butter into pieces and add to the processor, then pulse until the texture is like very coarse meal.
  • Pour in 1 tablespoon of the milk, pulsing until the dough comes together in a ball. Add more milk, a little at a time, as needed (you might not use it all).
  • Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • After chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the piecrust, and gently press into an ungreased 9-inch tart pan. Trim excess crust off the top. Prick it all over with a fork, and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool.

To make the filling

  • Zest lemons to get 2 tablespoons of zest, then juice the lemons to get about 3/4 cup juice.
  • Whip the eggs and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed. Gradually add the lemon juice and zest.
  • Pour the filling ingredients into a medium saucepan, add the butter or margarine, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, being careful not to boil, until the lemon thickens into a curdlike custard, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour filling into the baked crust. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 356 kcalCarbohydrates: 44 gProtein: 5 gFat: 19 gSaturated Fat: 11 gCholesterol: 115 mgSodium: 177 mgPotassium: 109 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 29 gIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

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About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

5 from 39 votes (39 ratings without comment)

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