Lemon Tart; simple, elegant and oh so French… it’s also one of my favourite desserts.
I couldn’t tell you the number of lemon tarts I made this past month, they were a lot : ) I received so many beautiful and untreated lemons as gifts from friends and also picked some myself. A classic Lemon Tart was certainly the best way to utilise those gorgeous fruits.
I first made this tart 11-12 years ago after seeing it on a cookery show. Through the years I played quite a bit with its sweet and sour balance and came up with a recipe that’s light and fresh.
Lemon Tart is generally prepared in a couple of different ways. First and probably the most common one is made using lemon curd. You bake the sweet crust fully then fill it with a classic lemon curd made using plenty sugar, plenty eggs and butter. Then you put it back in the oven for a little while more. There is no denying that it’s delicious made this way but a little too sweet, a little too heavy for my liking. I enjoy lemon curd paired with unsweetened crusts, pancakes etc., it just gets too much when it’s sweet on sweet.
The other option is simpler and also the way I prefer to make my lemon tart. Again, there is the fully baked sweet tart base that you fill with an uncooked filling. The filling then gets gently cooked in a very low temp oven. You should take it out of the oven while it’s still wobbly in the middle as it will keep on cooking a little more with its own heat.
I reduced the amount of sugar as much as possible in this recipe so you taste the lemon. Looking at other recipes I was shocked to see how much sugar was used in some of them.
If you need a few tips on making the perfect shortcrust pastry (pâte sucrée) you should have a look at my Fresh Fruit Tart post.
- SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY - PÂTE SUCRÉE
- 250 gr flour
- 150 gr butter, at room temp
- 75 gr powdered sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 3 large egs
- 40 gr granulated sugar
- 100 ml lemon juice
- 120 ml heavy cream
- 2 lemons, finely grated zest of
- To prepare the pastry beat soft butter with powdered sugar in your stand mixer until pale and fluffy.
- Add in the egg yolks, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and continue beating for a couple more minutes.
- Add the flour and mix on the lowest speed just until the flour disappears.
- Toss it all on a piece of plastic wrap and bring it together. As we'll only need half of the dough for this recipe,divide and form two disks with the help of the plastic as it will be too soft to handle. Remember NO KNEADING! Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Butter and flour the sides of an 8 inch tart tin and place a piece of parchment on the bottom.
- Roll the chilled dough between two pieces of parchment paper to a thickness of an ⅛ of an inch (3-4 mm) Gently place on the prepared tart tin and remove excess. Rest in the fridge for about 45 minutes or in the freezer for 20.
- Preheat oven to 170 C (340 F).
- Prick the base of the crust with a fork and line with parchment. Fill with baking beans and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and the paper and bake for a further 10-13 minutes until golden and fully cooked.
- Let cool for 5 mins, brush the base and the sides of the crust with a little beaten egg white. Return to the oven for 1 minute (The egg white will act as a layer of protection and the crust won't get soggy).
- Reduce the oven temp to 140 C (285 F)
- For the filling lightly whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest.
- Whip the cream until fairly stiff and gradually whisk it into the egg mixture.
- Let the foam settle for a few minutes and pour the filling into the pastry case. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges set and the middle is still a bit wobbly.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin.
- Once at room temperature chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Serve dusted with powdered sugar.
Lemon Tart will keep in the fridge for three days if wrapped well.
The unbaked shortcrust pastry will keep in the fridge for three days and up to three months in the freezer. Make sure to wrap it tightly.