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Classic Lemon Tart

This classic lemon tart, with its creamy custard filling encased in a sweet shortcrust pastry shell is the perfect way to end a great meal!

Why this recipe? Because it’s just so darn pretty!!! And also because lemon tart is one of my favorite desserts. The filling in this classic Lemon Tart is incredibly smooth and lusciously creamy. It’s lightly zingy, not too sweet, perfectly tangy, and beautifully refreshing… Truly one of the best ways to end a meal.

If you’re looking for an intensely tart and zingy lemon flavor, this is not the tart for you. I’m just being honest…

The flavor palette of this particular lemon tart, with its creamy custard filling encased in a perfect sweet shortcrust pastry shell, is soft and light. Just looking at it in all its delicately decorated beauty will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. The lemony tartness of it is like a gentle spring breeze; not a dramatic summer thunderstorm.

Classic Lemon Tart

If you prefer your lemon curd filling intense and tangy enough to curl your toes, you’ll definitely want to check out my Lemon Thyme and Blueberry Tart. If, on the other hand, you are looking for something light enough to savor at the end of a filling dinner, keep on reading.

This Lemon Tart is accompanied by a buttery sweet shortcrust pastry shell that straddles the right side of the line, being perfectly flaky without being crumbly.

The two components of a classic lemon tart are a shiny and perfectly balanced lemon filling with a buttery flaky crust. This tart absolutely nails it in the crust department with a blind-baked sweet shortcrust pastry recipe that you can find here. I’ll be the first to admit that this crust definitely takes a bit more time than simply rolling out a pre-made pie dough purchased at the store, but… oh, is it worth it!

As for the filling, getting a lemon tart filling just right can often be difficult. It’s easy to slip over the edge from perfectly sweet with just the right amount of tartness into a sweetness that is cloying and a tartness that grabs at your throat and makes you want to rush for the nearest glass of water. This Classic Lemon Tart is on the soft side of tart… Lightly tangy and wonderfully creamy.

If sharp, tangy tart lemon curd is more to your liking, definitely check out this Lemon Thyme Blueberry Tart!

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Classic Lemon Tart

The ingredients of a lemon tart filling are pretty simple and consist of eggs, sugar, about 4 fresh lemons (using the zest and the juice), and some heavy cream. Those few ingredients and a pastry shell are all you really need. The berries and meringue kisses are beautiful and tasty accompaniments, but certainly not essential to put a delicious tart on the table.

Lemon tarts can be enjoyed all year round, and it’s a simple matter to change out the fruit you choose to serve on the side depending on the season. I love to macerate the berries in some sugar and Limoncello a short while before serving, giving them an extra pop of flavor. Add a handful of meringue kisses for a light crunch, and you’ve got a sublime flavor experience coupled with an amazingly beautiful presentation at the table.

Strawberries in Limoncello
Classic Lemon Tart

The lemon filling for this tart is incredibly smooth and accomplished by not overly whisking the filling ingredients as you mix them, and straining the mixture before pouring it into the pastry shell for baking.

The result is a taste and texture rarely experienced in a tart, accompanied by a visual appeal that’s enough to take your breath away.

The lemon tart can be served garnished with macerated berries and meringue kisses (see separate recipe here), or simply dusted with confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving. Regardless of how you choose to garnish it, it’s the tart itself with its glorious lemon filling that will be the star of the show!

Classic Lemon Tart

Use an 8″ or 9″ round 1¼ inch deep tart pan with a removable bottom.

Recipe adapted from Soulful Baker, by Julie Jones

Check out the video where I show you how to make this beautiful Classic Lemon Tart pastry…

Servings:

4

Prep Time:

45 min + time to chill

Cook Time:

1 hr. 20  min.

Difficulty:

Medium

Introduction

About this Recipe

By: Tess

The flavor palette of this classic lemon tart, with its creamy custard filling encased in a perfect sweet shortcrust pastry shell, is soft and light, delightfully smooth, and delicately flavored.

Classic Lemon Tart

Ingredients

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Shell

Lemon Custard:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup caster (superfine) or granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

Macerated Berries

  • 1½ – 2 cups fresh strawberries, raspberries or blueberries (if using strawberries, wash, hull, and cut into halves or quarters depending on size)
  • 2 tablespoons caster (superfine) or granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Limoncello (optional)

Garnish With:

  • Meringue Kisses, optional (see separate recipe here)

  • Fresh mint or basil leaves (optional)

  •  Or simply dust with confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving.

Notes and Tips

The recipe calls for optional Meringue Kisses and macerated berries of your choice.

Classic Lemon Tart
Classic Lemon Tart

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Prepare pastry dough and blind bake your pastry shell as instructed in the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe, reserving any leftover pastry dough for another use. Let the blind-baked pastry shell cool completely, trim off any excess crust around the edges of the pan, and leave the shell in its pan while you prepare the filling.

Step 2

Turn the oven down to 275°F.

Step 3

To make the lemon custard filling, crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat them together using a fork or whisk, trying not to incorporate too much air while doing it.

Step 4

Add the sugar, ¼ cup of lemon zest, lemon juice of four lemons, and heavy cream. Mix together thoroughly on low speed of a stand mixer or by hand with a whisk. Set mixture aside for 10 minutes to rest and let any air bubbles come to the surface. If, after this time, any froth appears on the surface, spoon it off and discard.

Step 5

Pass the custard filling through a sieve or fine strainer, straining into a large jug, or something that can then be poured from easily.

Step 6

Place the cooked tart shell, still in its pan, on a baking sheet, and place it on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Pull the rack out a bit and carefully pour the lemon custard into the pastry shell, filling as close to the top as you can without it overflowing the top of the shell. If any bubbles rise to the surface, they can be easily popped by running the flame of a blow torch over the surface, but this isn’t a necessity. Very gently ease the rack back into the oven, close the oven door, and bake for 35 minutes.

Step 7

When ready, the tart should have a slight wobble towards the center. If, when gently shaken, you see it is still rippling towards the outer part of the tart, bake it for an additional 10 minutes and then re-check. Be very careful not to let it go too long, though, because the tart can quickly go from being seemingly under-cooked to being set and solid. Once you are happy with the consistency, remove the tart from the oven and, leaving the tart in its pan, set it out to cool completely. The filling will continue to set further as it cools.

Step 8

Place the berries (strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries) in a bowl, and add the sugar and Limoncello (optional). Toss to coat and leave the fruit to macerate until ready to serve.

Step 9

When ready to serve, add a few fresh and torn basil or mint leaves to the berries and serve alongside or over the top of a slice of the lemon tart, adding some Meringue Kisses for texture if desired.

Additional Comments:

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
8″ or 9″ round 1¼ inch deep tart pan with a removable bottom
Whisk
Zester
Juicer
Sieve or fine strainer
Jug to pour custard filling into tart shell
Baking sheet

Print
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Classic Lemon Tart

Classic Lemon Tart


  • Author: Tess
  • Prep Time: 45 min. + time to chill
  • Cook Time: 1 hr. 20 min.
  • Total Time: 5 hrs.
  • Yield: 10-12 1x

Description

The flavor palette of this classic lemon tart, with its creamy custard filling encased in a perfect sweet shortcrust pastry shell, is soft and light. Just looking at it in all its delicately decorated beauty will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. The lemony tartness of it is like a gentle spring breeze; not a dramatic summer thunderstorm.


Scale

Ingredients

1 Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Shell (blind-baked)
(See separate recipe here)

Lemon Custard:
6 eggs
1 cup caster (superfine) or granulated sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon zest (12 lemons)
4 lemons, juiced
¾ cup heavy cream

Strawberries, Raspberries or Blueberries:
2 cups fresh berries (if using strawberries, wash, hull, and cut into halves or quarters depending on size)
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Limoncello (optional)

Garnish with:
Meringue Kisses, optional (see separate recipe here)
Fresh mint or basil leaves (optional)

Or simply dust with confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving.


Instructions

1. Prepare pastry dough and blind bake your pastry shell as instructed in the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe, reserving any leftover pastry dough for another use. Let the blind-baked pastry shell cool completely, trim off any excess crust around the edges of the pan, and leave the shell in its pan while you prepare the filling.

2. Turn the oven down to 275°F.

3. To make the lemon custard filling, crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat them together using a fork or whisk, trying not to incorporate too much air while doing it.

4. Add the sugar, ¼ cup of lemon zest, lemon juice of four lemons, and heavy cream. Mix together thoroughly on low speed of a stand mixer or by hand with a whisk. Set mixture aside for 10 minutes to rest and let any air bubbles come to the surface. If, after this time, any froth appears on the surface, spoon it off and discard.

5. Pass the custard filling through a sieve or fine strainer, straining into a large jug, or something that can then be poured from easily.

6. Place the cooked tart shell, still in its pan, on a baking sheet, and place it on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Pull the rack out a bit and carefully pour the lemon custard into the pastry shell, filling as close to the top as you can without it overflowing the top of the shell. If any bubbles rise to the surface, they can be easily popped by running the flame of a blow torch over the surface, but this isn’t a necessity. Very gently ease the rack back into the oven, close the oven door, and bake for 35 minutes.

7. When ready, the tart should have a slight wobble towards the center. If, when gently shaken, you see it is still rippling towards the outer part of the tart, bake it for an additional 10 minutes and then re-check. Be very careful not to let it go too long, though, because the tart can quickly go from being seemingly under-cooked to being set and solid. Once you are happy with the consistency, remove the tart from the oven and, leaving the tart in its pan, set it out to cool completely. The filling will continue to set further as it cools.

8. Place the berries (strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries) in a bowl, and add the sugar and Limoncello (optional). Toss to coat and leave the fruit to macerate until ready to serve.

9. When ready to serve, add a few fresh and torn basil or mint leaves to the berries and serve alongside or over the top of a slice of the lemon tart, adding some Meringue Kisses for texture if desired.


Notes

Recipe calls for optional Meringue Kisses and macerated berries of your choice

EQUIPMENT:
8″ or 9″ round 1¼ inch deep tart pan with a removable bottom
Whisk
Zester
Juicer
Sieve or fine strainer
Jug to pour custard filling into tart shell
Baking sheet

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking

Keywords: lemon tart

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