Simple elegance defines this luscious French Lemon Tart with a buttery tart shell baked around a silky lemon curd. It’s a dessert for all seasons!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an absolutely insatiable, and times insufferable, sweet tooth. My philosophy regarding dessert runs roughly “Life is already too sour to ‘learn’ to like mature desserts.” I don’t want to have to ‘appreciate’ the biscuit-like qualities of ‘black coffee cookies,’ or ‘acquire the taste’ for faux-brownies or imposter-cupcakes whose sole source of ‘true’ deliciousness is the supposedly healthy qualities blended into them from whatever the day’s ‘super vegetable’ or ‘miracle oil’ happens to be.
Instead, dessert should be like an ardent admirer who’s constantly in pursuit of your affection. There should be tempting qualities to dessert, qualities that embody the culinary variant of nigh-irresistible seduction that requires virtuous fortitude to resist rather than to consume. Dessert should be that after dinner pleasure that you anticipate with each savory bite of your nightly meal, or that forbidden pleasure that you sneak away to indulge during the day. Dessert should leave you feeling guilty yet satisfied, as opposed to ‘superior’ for your supposedly ‘mature’ taste.
In other words, if you have to ‘learn’ to like your dessert – it isn’t worth your attention in the first place.
Naturally, that brings us to today’s dessert – French Lemon Tart.
To start things off, we begin by sifting about two cups of all-purpose flour into a bowl, and then cutting up about half a cup of butter into the sifted flour. Then, using your hands, work the mixture until you achieve ‘breadcrumb like’ bits. Once that’s done, add in powdered sugar and work the mixture again. No, you can’t just throw in the sugar with the butter and then work it all at once. Follow directions!
Next, add in the egg, a bit of vanilla, a tablespoon of cold water, and mix again. Yes, all this mixing will eventually be worth it, I promise.
Now, roll out the resulting pastry dough on a thoroughly floured surface until it’s no more than a quarter of an inch thick, and then fit it into a 9-inch pie tin that is lined with parchment paper and bake it for about ten minutes.
Finally, the filling. We begin by whisking together six eggs, and then adding a cup and a half of sugar, half a cup of unsalted butter. Stir this mixture over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add in the lemon juice and rind. For this recipe, I’m using Living the Gourmet’s lemon of choice – Limoniera, whose delicious, organic, ultra-high quality lemons are a recurring guest on my site. Continue cooking over a low heat, stirring continuously, until the lemon curd has thickened slightly.
Pour the lemon curd into the pie shell and bake for twenty minutes until the mixture has just set. Then remove from the oven, set on a wire rack to cool, and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
French Lemon Tart
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 1 tart 1x
For the Tart Shell:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tbs. powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1–2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tsp. vanilla
For the Filling:
- 6 eggs – beaten
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Grated rind and juice of 4 lemons
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat Oven 400 degrees F.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour.
- Using your fingers, crumble the mixture into fine breadcrumb like pieces. Add the powdered sugar and work again into the pieces.
- Add the egg, vanilla and a tablespoon of cold water and continue to work into a dough.
- Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to a ¼ inch thickness and to fit into a 9-inch pie tin prepared with parchment paper. Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before filling.
- To make the curd beat the eggs and put the eggs, sugar and butter into a small pan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add the lemon juice and the lemon rind and continue cooking until the curd has thickened slightly. Pour the curd into the prepared pastry shell.
- Bake 20 – 25 minutes until the mixture has set.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Dust with powdered sugar when ready to serve.
- Serving Size: 8 pieces
And just like that, you’ve got a decadent, bitingly sweet dessert that you’ll love indulging in. Enjoy with Love!
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Love this tart .Absolutely love lemon !
One of my favourite desserts! Yours looks bakery perfect 🙂
DAVID J MYERS says
Catherine, Great looking tart! One of my favorites… Reminds me of the lemon bars of my youth, always a winner. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave
Allison - Celebrating Sweets says
What a stunning tart! Simple and classic – the best combo. Looking forward to trying it.
Claudia Lamascolo says
I just wished I could be the one eating all the wonderful new recipes as a taste tester.. This is right up my alley as I love lemon .. amazing tart of perfection!
This French Lemon Tart sounds and looks terrific! I wish I could reach through the screen and try a piece right now.
Marisa Franca says
You and I think alike. I don’t always eat dessert but when I do I want the real thing! I don’t want faux chocolate, cream, etc. This tart really calls to me because I love lemon! The tartness plus the sweet satisfies all my cravings. What a wonderful way to finish a meal.
Elaine Benoit says
I love your take on dessert! I’m with you all the way on that score!! I love dessert and would love to eat it after every supper I eat like I did as a child! What a beautiful and delicious lemon tart! Truly, just looking at your photos I can just imagine what it would taste like!! I can’t wait to try your tart!
Veena Azmanov says
Such a beautiful looking tart. I love anything lemon and you make it look so desirable. Can’t wait to try your version. Sounds yum.
Jenni LeBaron says
I usually chose savory over sweet, except when it comes to delicious sweet treats like this. I love lemon and this tart looks absolutely delicious!
Mahy Elamin says
I LOVE how easy and delicious this is! Good idea! Looks very tasty! I am going to make this! This recipe really impresses! I really like! Thank you.
Kelly Anthony says
I love lemon! And this tart looks absolutely perfect! I want to try this holiday season for sure!!
Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen says
This tart looks absolutely divine! I didn’t enjoy lemon much as a child, but I’ve certainly been making up for that for the last several years. I love that this looks like it has a similar texture to lemon bars, but in a more elegant form. Yum!
This pie looks absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to give it a try. thanks for sharing this recipe
Kiki Johnson says
Wow wow wow! This Lemon Tart has the perfect ratio crust : filling! LOVE how creamny it looks
Eileen Kelly says
I agree dessert is something I eat and appreciate. I don’t have it every day, so when it is a dessert I want it to be the best! Your gorgeous French Lemon Tart is a perfect dessert! You have given perfect directions for everyone to make this recipe with ease and the final result, delicious!
Lemon desserts are my dad’s favorite so making this for his birthday and so excited!!!
Amanda M Mason says
This looks and sounds delish…but why is it called French Lemon Tart? Is it a french recipe? I love me some tarts so I’ll definately be making this one!!!
Jackie @ The Seaside Baker says
This is my absolute favorite tart! I could eat year around and after every meal. This one looks perfect!
Such a beautiful dessert for weekends.. or anydays really. Not only does it look fantastic it sounds super delicious and so tasty. I never made tart before. Maybe this is a sigh I need to start. I’m saving the recipe to give it a go.
Nicolas Hortense says
Always been a favourite of mine. Can never get enough of that tang that makes your eyes squint a bit from every bite (:
I thought this looked amazing! I tried to make it and the crust just did not want to come together. It kept cracking as I rolled it out and no matter what I did, it didn’t help. I followed the recipe to a T, what did I do wrong?
Living the Gourmet says
Dear Caitlin, I am so glad you decided to give my lemon tart a try! So sorry the crust did not turn out as you had hoped. That being said, this is a recipe I’ve used on several different occasions for a few other tarts I have made. My best suggestions are to make sure you are using enough butter in your recipe and make sure it is nice and chilled. I make mine in the food processor rather than mixing it by hand which may help it all come together easier for you. Finally, made sure the egg is room temp. I hope you give it another try and that you enjoy it as much as I have! Thank you for stopping by and if you have any more questions, just let me know. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
I had to add extra water to help the crust come together and I had leftover curd…..it was right up to the top of the crust. I think it would be easier to roll out the crust if you refrigerate it for 10 to 20 minutes. Also not sure it really needed the parchment paper, I’ve never used that with other tarts I’ve made. I had it in the oven for 30 minutes and it still wasn’t set, but I took it out because it was starting to burn on the sides.. I’m wondering if it was a typo to put the whole egg in. I’ve made lemon curd many times and have never used the whole egg, only the yolks. Maybe because the curd is then baked. It did turn out alright in the end, the crust wasn’t as baked as I would have liked, so I will not use parchment next time. The flavour was good though and I will try it again.
Supposed to bake it 10 minutes b4 you put the curd in according to the blurb above, but it isn’t in the recipe instructions.
I’m making it right now, I notice in your blurb you say to bake the crust for 10 minutes before you add the filling, you do not say that in the recipe instructions. Might want to change that.
Danielle Wolter says
i want this so bad! lemon is one of my favorite flavors ever, and this pie sounds absolutely incredible! Plus it looks gorgeous!
Syl Fowler says
Thanks for sharing this recipe Catherine and LTG. We love lemon desserts! This recipe seems very easy and will probably make it in the next couple of weeks. I froze lots of fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice (in 1/2 cup cubes) last season. How much lemon juice do 4 lemons yield?
Should the pie shell be baked at 400 for 10 mins? It doesn’t say a temperature for that! Just in the final recipe which I am assuming is for the filled pie!?
Catherine Pappas says
Dear Jaymi, No, the pie shell does not need to be prebaked for this recipe. I hope that helps! Good luck and enjoy! If you have any other questions, please let me know! 🙂
Kristin R says
Does this tart need to be refrigerated?
Catherine Pappas says
Dear Kristin, Yes, it keeps best when refrigerated. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy!
Hi, can I use a premade pie crust? If so, how does that change the baking time for the curd? Thank you!
Catherine Pappas says
Dear Anda, You may certainly use a premade crust! It will have no effect on the curd. Just skip ahead to the sixth step! Enjoy and feel free to reach out if you have any other questions! Cheers~
Just made this for the second time. My brother in law is not a dessert person at all and usually skips any that I make but he loved this lemon tart! A new family dinner tradition xx
Stacey Miller says
Your instructions in your post do say to bake the crust for 10 minutes before filling it with curd, but the recipe doesn’t mention it. Which one is it?
2lbs of powdered sugar seems a lot is that a typo?
Living the Gourmet says
Dear Jill, the recipe calls for 2 tbs. not lbs. I’m not totally sure where you are seeing lbs in the recipe card. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the tart! 🙂
I’m about to try this recipe. It looks delicious! I will post a review after I make it! I have a question though….why do people post a 5 star review when they haven’t even done the recipe?? I don’t get it! I read reviews and base whether or not to try a recipe based on those reviews, not reviews from people giving it 5 stars because it LOOKS delicious! Maybe it’s just me, but that’s weird and misleading.
Sagar Sahay says
I tried lemon tart at Christmas and everyone loved it. Thank you for the recipe
This recipe is awesome am really like it its have an magical taste
You made my last diner full of LOL
Thank you so much
This recipe is supper cool in taste am enjoy this so much you made my day
You made my last dinner full of LOL
Thank you so much
Hi there, do you have any suggestions for a gluten free alternative crust option? Wondering if anyone has tried this with the Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gf flour or something similar
Living the Gourmet says
Dear Allison, I have not tried it with gluten free flour but I think an almond flour mix would work really well here. It would give the crust a little added texture and sweet nuttiness. Please let me know how it comes out for you! Thank you for stopping by!
Hi! I tried making this tart yesterday and it didn’t turn out ok 🙁 I don’t know why:
– The tart shell was bland and when I made it I had to add more flour because with the measurements of the recipe it turned out very humid and not mixable. I used a quiche mold but it was far too big for the shell, I couldn’t even cover the edges so I had to change molds (although it seems that in your photos the mold has similar measurements).
– The lemon filling I was very happy about until I tasted it… it was delicious but it had a granular texture. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t do the sugar dissolving part in the pan correctly? I thought I achieved the texture required, like almost a marmalade, and it looked great.
I hope you can help me with what went wrong, because I know that done right has to be a great tart. Thank you.
Looks like a beautiful and delicious tart! Lemon tarts are the best! 🙂
Have made this several times with perfect results and everyone loves it. But recently, something I’m doing has caused the filling to become runny. All looks perfect until the very end of cooking and then it becomes watery. I’ve retried three times and each time total failure. Anybody have any thoughts on what I could be doing wrong?