Lemon lovers rejoice!
A lemon curd tart is a rich sweet and tangy curd nestled inside a flaky buttery crust.
Topped with fresh whipped cream, this dessert is absolute perfection!
What is a Lemon Curd Tart?
A lemon curd tart, also known as tarte au citron, is a classic French dessert. In the 19th century, this dessert was served to the King of France as a symbol of wealth and goodness. Today, this tart is made all over the world. It’s a delicious change of pace from chocolate tarts. It is light and refreshing, with a pop of sour. I love this dessert in the spring in summer. However, it tastes great all year long.
Looking for a perfect meal? This lemon curd tart pairs perfectly with my strawberry, dried apricot, and pistachio salad recipe. It’s the perfect light and fruity combination for spring or hot summer days. If you make this tart, be sure to post a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook. I am always so excited to see how your bakes turn out!
Lemon Curd Tart Ingredients
The great thing about a lemon curd tart, you only need eight ingredients, and most of them you probably already have! Here is a quick rundown of the ingredients you will need.
- Flour – I use all-purpose flour for the tart crust. Flour is the foundation of your tart.
- Butter – I recommend using unsalted butter and, if you can, European-style butter. The European butter has a higher fat content and is richer in flavor than the American version. This butter will make your recipe pop!
- Salt – Preferably, use coarse salt instead of table salt.
- Vinegar – Use just a couple of tablespoons when making the crust. Vinegar stops the gluten from forming and results in a flaky crust.
- Water – Always use cold water when making pastry.
- Sugar – Stick with standard granulated sugar.
- Heavy Cream – Gives the curd a rich flavor.
- Lemons – I recommend Meyer lemons if they are in season. If not, I use 4 – 6 standard lemons.
How to Make The Tart Crust
When it comes to crust, your first step is to decide if you will make a crust or if you are going to buy a pre-made crust. The decision will come down to time and personal preference. If you are using a store bought crust, skip this section and go to how to make the lemon curd section.
If this is your first homemade pie crust, I recommend reading my post a perfect pie crust recipe. In that post, I walk you through the steps of making your first pie crust.
This recipe is for two 9-inch tart pan/crust. A standard 9-inch pie plate will work as well. To make the crust, you will need:
- 1.5 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 8 ounces butter (cold and diced)
- 1/2 cup (4.5 oz) cold water
- 3 teaspoons (.5 oz) vinegar
Step One: In a medium or large sized bowl, use a whisk to evenly distribute the flour (1.5 cups/12 oz) and salt (1 teaspoon).
Step Two: Take the butter (8 ounces) and cube it into small pieces. Then using your fingers, combine the butter into the flour. Always use your fingertips. This ensures as little contact as possible and helps keep the butter from melting. The result should look rough like bread crumbs, some large and some small. But nothing fully combined like bread dough.
Step Three: Combine the water and vinegar. Then slowly drizzle about 1/2 of the water-vinegar combination and gently work the dough. Continue to add water a little at a time. You might not need all of the water, and that is ok. The dough is ready when it is in a cohesive but rough-looking ball.
Step Four: Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a disk and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or up to three days.
Step Five: Roll the dough to a 12 inch circle. Use your rolling pin to go over the top of the baking dish to create a clean cut.
Step Six: Dock your pie crust by taking your fork and piercing the dough all over, including the sides. Then place your pie crust in the freezer for 30 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Step Seven: Once the oven is heated and the shell is ready to come out of the freezer, you are almost ready. The next step is to line the surface with parchment paper and then fill it with pie weights. You can purchase pie weights at a baking store or use beans, rice, or lentils. I have an old set of kidney beans that I use and reuse.
Step Eight: Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes with the beans (note, if using a tart pan, place the tart pan on a baking sheet). Remove the beans and paper and continuing baking until the crust is just turning golden, about another 15 – 20 minutes. However, keep a close on the crust as baking times vary. Once baked, allow at least thirty minutes to cool before filling.
How to Make Lemon Curd
A lemon curd tart is filled with a rich, smooth and tangy lemon curd. Lemon curds are so easy to make and are busting with flavor. The curd comes together in only ten minutes. Watch it closely towards the end, as the thickening happens quickly.
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 2 lemon zests
- 3/4 cup butter, cut into slices
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
Step One: Start by preheating the oven to 350°F
Step Two: In a saucepan over low to medium heat, whisk the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and zest together. Add the butter slices and whisk until the mixture thickens about ten minutes. Note that the thickening all seems to happen in the final 90 seconds. You will want to watch the curd closely so that it is not overcooked.
Step Three: Pour the lemon curd into the tart shell and bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Once done, allow the tart to cool.
Step Four: Right before serving, dust with confectioners sugar and top with whipped cream.
Why is Your Lemon Curd Tart Orange?
Instead of yellow, my tart looks orange because of the eggs I use, organic and free-range. The sunlight and natural diet result in a healthier chicken. The healthier chicken then lays a richer egg, which you can see in the orange yolk color. There are many articles on this, and I recommend this one. It’s short and sweet.
How to Store
Once baked, you can refrigerate the lemon tart for up to three days in the refrigerator. Wrap tightly in cling wrap before storing. However, wait to top with confectioner’s sugar and whipped cream until serving. I do not recommend storing this tart in the freezer.
Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 2, Episode 2, Technical Challenge – Tarte au Citron
In this bake, participants baked a Tarte au Citron. I have lots of experience making lemon curd. However, I had never heard of a lemon tart before. This dessert is very straightforward, consisting of a crust and curd.
I have lots of practice with curd; however, I am relatively new to crusts. My only real struggle with the dough was adjusting to the higher altitude in Denver. It took a few tries, and the solution was simple, add more water. It was a learning experience and worth the extra effort.
GBBO Count: 22 down, 258 to go!
Lemon Curd Tart (Tarte au Citron)
- Tart pan or pie dish
- Medium saucepan
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces butter, cold and diced
- 1/2 cup water, cold
- 3 teaspoons vinegar
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup lemon juice
- zest of two lemons
- 3/4 cup butter, sliced
- In a medium or large-sized bowl, use a whisk to evenly distribute the flour (1.5 cups/12 oz) and salt (1 teaspoon).
- Using your fingers, combine 8 ounces of butter into the flour. The butter should remind in pea-sized chunks and resemble bread crumbs.
- Combine the water and vinegar. Then slowly drizzle about 1/2 of the water-vinegar combination and gently work the dough. Continue to add water a little at a time. You might not need all of the water, and that is ok. The dough is ready when it is in a cohesive but rough-looking ball.
- Divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a disk and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or up to three days.
- Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Use your rolling pin to go over the top of the baking dish to create a clean cut.
- Using your fork, prick the pie crust all over, including the sides.
- Place your pie crust in the freezer for 30 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- The next step is to line the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes with the beans. Remove the beans and paper and continuing baking until the crust is just turning golden, about another 15 – 20 minutes.Keep a close on the crust as baking times vary.
- Once baked, allow at least thirty minutes to cool before filling.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- In a sauce pan over low to medium heat, whisk the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and zest together.
- Add the butter slices and whisk until the mixture thickens about ten minutes.
- Pour the lemon curd into the tart shell and bake at 350 for 6 minutes. Allow the tart to cool then store the tart in the refrigerator for two hours before serving.
- When ready to serve, dust with confectioner's sugar and top with fresh whipped cream