This stunning and classy Lemon Tart boasts the perfect balance between sweet and tart with a buttery shortbread crust that will melt in your mouth upon the first bite!
This simple yet sophisticated lemon tart can be enjoyed as a tea-time sweet treat or zesty dessert served with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
Keep your masterpiece plain or get creative by decorating it with some fresh berries and edible flowers! This lemon tart recipe is the perfect dessert for special occasions, an afternoon girls’ tea, or for the family to enjoy together.
If you love fresh and zesty lemon desserts, be sure to also try something just as refreshing such as this irresistible Key Lime Pie!
Table of contents
What is a Lemon Tart?
Lemon tart is a baked dessert tart made with a biscuit base and a lemon curd filling. The lemon tart is usually served plain but can also be garnished with fresh fruit such as fresh blueberries and slices of lemon.
The lemon filling in a lemon tart can vary depending on the region it’s made but usually, it differs from a lemon meringue pie or lemon cheesecake in that it contains an egg mixture without the addition of milk or cheese.
Variations and Substitutions
- While this lemon tart’s filling does not include milk or cheese, you could add in some of these ingredients to make more of a custard lemon filling which is more aligned to the way lemon tart is made in Britian.
- I’ve used a package of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies to make the tart crust. Feel free to use another variety of shortbread cookie that will provide the same buttery shortbread consistency and flavor or swap in a graham cracker crust.
- For a stronger lemon flavor in the lemon tart filling, consider adding in a small amount of lemon extract or lemon oil.
This lemon tart can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Cover your tart tightly with plastic wrap when storing it in the tart dish so that the tart filling doesn’t absorb any other odors from other foods in the refrigerator.
Absolutely! This lemon tart can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months!
Never add your freshly baked tart to the freezer. It should cool down completely first on a wire rack and only then be added to the freezer. Make sure to cover your tart dish tightly with plastic wrap and then again with aluminum foil when freezing. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator in preparation for serving.
Lisbon lemons are a great choice of lemon when it comes to making the lemon tart filling. If these can’t be sourced then I recommend you use another lemon with similar tartness such as Eureka lemons.
Sweeter lemons such as Meyer lemons can also be used but then you’ll need to reduce the amount of sugar called for in this recipe otherwise you will upset the sweet and tart balance of the filling (unless you prefer a much sweeter lemon tart!).
Yes, you can. If you don’t feel up to making your own tart crust from scratch then feel free to use a store-bought crust.
I’ve made this tart with buttery shortbread cookies. It’s incredibly easy and makes this lemon version super delicious. You also only need 1 full package of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies to get a nice thick crust that will hold together when you pop it out of the tart pan.
Consider making a few homemade tart crusts and then store them in the freezer for quick and convenient use whenever the need arises.
If you’ve been whisking your lemon curd mixture for longer than 10 minutes and the curd is still not thickening, simply turn the heat up slightly but don’t go beyond the medium heat setting.
Tips For Making Lemon Tart
- When making the filling, you’ll soon realize that it’s pretty much the same as making lemon curd. While there are various methods for making a good lemon curd, I usually opt for the simplest which merely involves adding all the ingredients at once in a saucepan, heating the mixture slowly and stir constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
- Again, you want to make sure that you cook the lemon curd slowly on a medium heat. You will end up curdling the mixture if it becomes too hot or boils too hard.
- For a smooth and glossy result, strain the lemon curd. Some people skip this step and the tart still comes out just as delicious.
- A tart pan or tart shell with a removable bottom will become your best friend when it comes to easily removing your baked pastry. If you don’t have one, you will just need to work a little more carefully when removing the tart dough and ensure the tart is chilled to assist the process.
- Having all your lemon curd ingredients at room temperature prior to cooking will help them to combine smoothly and cook properly.
- Have fun decorating your tart. While this is completely optional, I always love doing it – making the tart particularly pretty to serve. Only add fruit to your tart just prior to serving and make sure that it is completely dry. Clean edible flowers are another pretty addition or dusting with icing sugar!
More Zesty Lemon Treats
Lemon Tart Crust
- 1-10 oz. package Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
Lemon Tart Filling
- 1⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 tbsp lemon zest grated finely
- ½ cup salted butter cut into pieces
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10” tart pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse all cookies until finely crumbled.
- Add the melted butter to the cookie crumbles and pulse until the cookie crumbs begins to clump together.
- Press crumbs into a tart pan and tamp down with the flat bottom of a measuring cup or tamper to compact.
- Bake crust for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, lemon juice, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, and butter pieces.
- Heat over medium low, whisking constantly.
- After cooking and whisking for 8-10 minutes, the mixture should begin to thicken. If it does not thicken, turn the heat up just a bit, but keep it at medium heat or below.
- Pour the lemon filling through a sieve to remove any zest, stray seeds, or lumps.
- Pour filling into the baked crust and use an offset spatula to spread it smooth.
- Bake for an additional 5 minutes to help set the lemon filling.
- Cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.
- Pop the tart out of the tart pan and place on a large serving plate.
- Top with lemon slices, fresh berries, edible flower petals, etc.