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!
- 145 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 75 g icing sugar sifted
- ¼ cup ground almonds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 245 g plain flour all-purpose
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups caster sugar
- zest of 3 lemons
- 250 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup flour all purpose
- icing sugar to serve
- 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.
Wow, what stunning, but so easy, recipes I have found. Thanks so much.
This tart looks delicious ... Elle a l'air délicieuse 🙂
Your blog is very pleasant to look at ! I love tacting photos for my recipes, but I admit some recipes are more photogenic than others !
Thank you for your kind words PPoppy 😀 And I agree, some recipes are more photogenic than others 🙂
Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says
Mmm I love a good lemon dessert -- your tart looks perfect!
Isn't it sad when something that taste so good just doesn't happen to be that photogenic at all and we keep trying and trying ! Things we do for our love for blogging.
As for this tart ... you got my attention dear and I love lemon tart. This is now in my wish list.
If you decide to try it Kankana please do let me know what you think of it 😀
I totally know what you mean about taking photos...it can be so hard. Although yours are always so beautiful you really don't have anything to worry about 🙂 This tart looks delicious (and looking forward to the pasty post in due course!)
wow...sounds scrumptiously tasty..
chanced upon your space while blog hopping...
amazing space you have with gorgeous posts..
Am your happy subscriber now..:)
do stop by mine sometime..
Lemon tart is one of my all time favourites, it looks very similar to a recipe i make.
Your photography is stunning, i am shocked to hear you question it!
and the pasties sound really delicious.
Awww thanks Muppy 😀 The pasties were delicious, I just now have an excuse to make them again :p
Sweet Artichoke says
Yummy! This is one of my favourite desserts ever and it looks soooo delicious!
Your pictures are always pretty and could very well be featured in a magazine, but I agree with you, this is one of the most difficult part of blogging. There is one thing that I find personnally conforting: looking back at my own early blog pictures, which makes me realize that even if I am very far from taking professional looking photos, there are some improvements....
Thank you so much Sweet Artichoke, you are too kind! 😀
Vitchen Cook says
Your photo's are amazing, Jennifer. I often wonder how you get them to be what they are! And this tart is just calling my name... will definitely have to give it a try... Thanks for posting 🙂
Aww you are so sweet 😀 Thank you.
This tart loks perfect! I love lemon and I agree sometimes you have to find the base for the perfect filling.
Ellie | Gourmand Recipes says
I don't follow all the rules, just go with feel. Your photographs are stunning, so is the tart 🙂
Thanks Ellie 😀 I think your photos are stunning too, all of your food looks so good.
Baker Street says
I totally agree with you on the photography bit! I haven't posted quite a few things because of bad pictures! But look at that tart! Its just gorgeous. 🙂
You def sell yourself short in the photography department. Iwas just thinking the other day how I admire your styling as it always looks so effortlessly great.
I do love a good moutherpucker lol also a great excuse for some sweet sweet vanilla bean ice cream as a side 😉 WOO
Awww thanks Nic 😀 That is so sweet of you to say that.
Good to hear I am not the only one that likes a tart lemon tart 😉
Lovely lemon tart!
And I hear you about photography. I think it's the matter of practice and get used to your camera, and the space you have for organising stuff. it's a bit of trials and errors, dont you think?
It's funny you say that Anh, because you were one of the talented food photographers I was thinking of when I wrote this 😀
a spoonful of yumm says
melting part sounds great ! has that pick me up look 😀 i love lemon flavored tarts & cheesecake
Looks delish. Have to agree, I like your photos and look forward to seeing them. Surprising how we underestimate ourselves.
Thank you for your kind words Tania. I think we all underestimate ourselves 🙂
Jo O says
Your photos looks great 🙂 it doesnt matter how you photograph it's the taste that matters!! Is looks like a great recipe and I love a good lemon tart so I'm going to definitely try this over the weekend!!
You're right Jo, it's that taste that matters 🙂 If you make the tart let me know what you think of it.
Seriously the pic got me salivating. The tart looks really good. great photography 🙂
Thank you Ali 🙂
You don't know how many drafts I have sitting in blogger- never published because the photos just didn't turn out the way I envisioned. But I like going with the your attitude that your main aim is for people to cook your food. And this tarts looks fab 🙂 I'd bake it for sure!
Thanks Sukaina 😀 It's funny to hear you have drafts of things you've not published because I think your work is so beautiful. I guess we are most critical of ourselves.
Lovely tart. I've made it from Dorie's book a few times. As for the food photography part - you are doing a fantastic job and practicing, learning is all you can do to improve. The rule of the thirds is a good think to know and keep in your head but do not drag your creativity down but following the rule exclusively. I have it in my head but keep myself free from it when styling - it's your creative freedom and let that come out! ;o) And if you want to feel better - have a look at my photos from the earlier days (2007 for example). You'll feel better and see you are on the right road. Hugs!
Thank you so much Meeta 🙂
A wonderful tart! That is one of my favorite desserts.
The photography part is the one I also struggele with, but I've just accepted the fact that food styling is not my thing! But you know what I enjoy most about food blogs, the recipes they post. I find that the blogs whose recipes I actually bookmark tend not to be the most stylised. Even though I personally think your pics are definitely NOT amateur, your blog is one of the ones I bookmark the most recipes from!
Thank you so much, that really means so much. I am so glad you enjoy the recipes I share and was SO flattered when you made my mushroom, spinach and feta pies 🙂 And I don't think you struggle with photography, your photos are beautiful!
First time here, and you know what, your photography entice me to follow you! I think your photos are stunning, and what matters most is the recipes are genuine, you have a seriously mouthwatering collection here, keep up the delicious work!
Thank you so much Jehanne 🙂 Your blog is gorgeous too.
Jenn, your photos are totally amazing and you should have no doubts about them :)))
I personally don't think you have to improve anything... but if you want to feel more confident try reading Plate to pixel, it has some great advice about photography, styling, plating, etc tricks 🙂
Thanks Nadia 😀 I actually have Plate to Pixel (on my iPad) 🙂
ps - all of your pics are awesome. who cares what the photo peeps say. i like that you have your own style!
Thank you so much Amee 😀
i LOOOOOOVE anything lemon! i made a lemon tart years ago and got compliments on it but never made it again. i should! i love the powdered sugar.
Yummmm... Looks great I love anything with lemons!