This lemon tart recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and tart! It’s perfect paired with a warm cup of tea or as a sweet treat after a savory meal.
When I think of lemon tarts, I want that mouth-puckering lemon tang, and this lemon tart certainly delivers in that department—which I love!
What are Lemon Tarts?
A lemon tart is a traditional dessert dish with a crunchy pastry shell and a creamy lemon filling.
It’s been around since Medieval times in Europe and was relatively popular due to its widely available ingredients: eggs, milk, and sugar.
When settlers in the United States brought the tradition of lemon tarts to America, they used the lemon peel instead of cream, which explains why many lemon tarts nowadays are made without cream.
Though this recipe doesn’t use a lemon custard, it’s just delicious as any other lemon tart you’ll find!
Finding the Perfect Combination
This recipe is actually a combination of two different recipes.
The filling for the lemon tart comes from a lemon slice recipe by Belinda Jeffrey. I’d made Belinda’s lemon slice a little while ago. While I adored the filling, I didn’t like the base as I found it too soggy and a bit bland.
Because this lemon tart filling is so soft that it melts on your tongue, I wanted a crisp base to provide contrast and a bit of texture. For the base, I turned to Dorie Greenspan’s trustworthy sweet tart dough.
I’ve tried many tart dough recipes, and in my humble opinion, Dorie’s is the best. It’s easy to prepare and more importantly doesn’t shrink when baked (as long as you following the chilling times).
How to Make a Lemon Tart
Let’s start by getting the lemon tart dough ready!
Put the butter in a large food processor bowl that has a metal blade inside. Process the butter until it’s nice and creamy.
Some of the butter might get stuck to the side of the bowl and not get processed. When you notice this happening, grab a rubber spatula and scrape the butter off the sides.
Once all the butter is creamed, add the icing sugar. Keep processing the butter and sugar until they are well blended together.
Next, add the ground almonds, salt and vanilla. Continue to process it until the mixture is smooth. Remember to scrape the side with a spatula if something isn’t being mixed in well! Then add the egg and process.
When well mixed, add the flour and change the setting on the processor to pulse. Just as the mixture begins to form a ball, stop the processor and remove the mixture.
Place the mixture on top of cling film and separate it into two parts. For the two parts into two flat discs. Then wrap each disk separately in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours.
If you prefer, you can freeze the second dough disc to use another time. That means two times the yummy lemon tart!
After chilling, remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. You want the dough to be 3 mm thick.
Place the dough carefully into a 24 cm tart tin. Be careful with it so it doesn’t break!
Press the dough against the bottom and edges of the tart tin. Make sure it’s well fitted to the pan so you can fill it with as much lemon goodness as possible.
If the dough does break, just use additional pastry (from the edges) to patch the hold.
Then, trim the edges off the tart. An easy way to do this is to use the rolling pin and roll it over the top of the tin. This will trim off the edges.
Refrigerate the dough in the tin for at least 30 minutes. Do the same with the second portion of dough (unless you’re saving it for another day).
Now, you can preheat the oven. Preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Line the tarts with baking paper and add something, such as dried beans or pastry weights, to the tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. You want it to be lightly colored.
Set that aside while you make the filling.
You’ll also need the oven for the filling, so turn the heat down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius).
Whisk the eggs and caster sugar in an electric mixer bowl until well combined. Then whisk in the lemon zest and juice.
Sift the flour over the top and keep whisking until the mixture is smooth.
Once ready, pour the filling into the tart crusts (of course remove the beans and pastry weights). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is set.
When the lemon tart is cooled, dust it with icing sugar.
Now enjoy the most delicious lemon tart you’ve ever had! Let me know what you think! If you know of any other crispy tart crusts, I’d love to hear about how to make them!
- To make the tart dough, place the butter in a large food processor bowl fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Add the icing sugar and process until well blended.
- Add the ground almonds, salt, vanilla and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary before adding the egg and processing until combined.
- Add the flour and pulse the mixture until it just starts to form a ball and stop. Remove the mixture from the food processor bowl and place onto cling film and form into two flat discs. Wrap each disk separately and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, you can freeze the 2nd dough disk to use another time.
- Once chilled, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick.
- Carefully place the dough into a 24cm tart tin and press the dough against the bottom and edges of the tin to ensure it is well fitted. If the dough cracks or splits simply patch with additional pastry. Trim the top of the tart – the easiest way to do this is to roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart case which will trim the edges neatly.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and repeat with the second portion of dough.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and line the tarts with baking paper and add dried beans or pastry weights and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly coloured.
- Set aside while you make the filling.
- To make the filling, preheat the oven to 150 celsius (300 Fahrenheit) whisk the eggs and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until well combined. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice before sifting the flour over the top and whisking until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the prepared tart cases and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is set.
- Once cool dust with icing sugar.