This is the traditional French style lemon tart with creamy lemon filling and buttery crust. You will need just a small piece to fall in love with this delicate french pastry !
What is French style Lemon Tart and where it comes from?
Do you like creamy lemon custard and melt in mouth sweet pastry? Then you are on the right blog. I am going to show you how to make this ideal Sunday dessert with crisp buttery pastry shell and silky smooth lemon custard filling. This is a dessert called “Tarte au citron” and it is one of the famous French desserts you must try. And now you can taste it even without visiting France.
Mention: This video was tailored by the video food blogger and my friend Marie from SUGAR SALT MAGIC .
If you are following my blog for quite long, you must have noticed, that I really love lemon desserts. Not long ago, I have posted this delicious recipe for BEST LEMON CHEESECAKE. And many of you have commented how delicious and tangy flavours it has. So if you like sweet and tangy desserts like me, you will definitely understand, why I love so much this French style Lemon Tart recipe.
What tart pan to use
The lemon custard filling is very rich, this is why a little quantity will go a long way. This dessert is meant to be thin in custard, so it can set faster, plus because it’s very rich, a thicker slice would be too much to digest. This is why I would recommend using a shallow tart pan 10″ or 9″ inch in diameter, but no smaller. I have used a shallow ceramic tart pan 9″ inch in diameter. I have left a link to it on the bottom of this post.
How to make a sweet pastry crust (in French Pâté sucrée)
Sweet pastry needs to be done quickly, so the dough won’t become gooey and rubbery. You can make it in hand, in stand mixer or in food processor. I recommend using either stand mixer or food processor. Both methods are explained after the pictures.
Pastry shell needs to be pre-baked in this case, because our lemon custard will me cooked separately over double boiler. Making pâté sucrée is way faster while using electric mixer. But you can also prepare it by hand, which requires more energy. It is important to let the pastry dough rest the time indicated to allow it to relax and soften. This will prevent it from cracking when it is rolled out and from shrinking as it bakes.
Sweet pastry dough made by hand
- Sift the flour onto working surface. Sprinkle with salt and add room temperature butter. Rub the flour and butter together in between the palms of your hands until the texture of the Pâté Sucrée is as fine crumbs and the butter is well incorporated. Mix the sugar together and add this to the flour mixture along with the ground almonds. Make a nest in the center of the mixture and pour an egg into it. Using your fingertips, mix the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours.
Sweet pastry dough made in stand mixer or food processor
- Sift the flour and sugar separately. Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside. in a bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter until soften. Add sugar, ground almonds, salt, eggs and lastly the flour. Mix slowly until the mixture comes together. Remove from electric mixer wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for minimum of 2 hour.
Baking the sweet pastry dough filled with chickpeas, rice or cooking beans
The sweet pastry dough shell needs to be baked in advance and weighted down with chickpeas, rice or cooking beans. This will prevent the tart from losing its shape while baking. Cut out a disk (round shape) of parchment paper, fold the disk in half several times to make a triangular shape. Then clip the outer edge with scissors.
Line the tart pan with the pastry dough and cover the bottom with a cut-out parchment paper disk. Fill it with rice, dried beans or chickpeas. Bake in the preheated oven and once it’s in the middle of the baking time, remove the beans and lining paper and return the shell to the oven to finish baking.
How to make the lemon custard
Making lemon cream/custard will require a lot of patience. The time until the temperature of this creamy lemony mixture will reach the required temperature, might take a good 15-20 minutes. So I strongly suggest using electric hand mixer, you will be thanking me later.
First zest the lemons in large heatproof bowl and then you add in sugar. Using both hands, rub the lemon zest into the sugar. Add the eggs and whisk everything together. Stir in the lemon juice. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and mix and mix and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches 82-83 C (180-181 F) it will take good 15 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve into a large bowl and let cool to 60 C (140 F). Then star adding butter pieces. One by one, mixing them with an immersion blender is best. Pour the lemon cream filling into the baked pastry shell. Let it cool down and set the tart for at least 4 hours in the refirgerator.
TIPS & TRICKS
- When making pastry dough by hand, use a marble or wooden pastry board.
- Knead the dough as briefly as possible to avoid rubbery dough.
- Let the dough rest at least for 2 hours, this will prevent the dough from cracking when it is rolled out and from shrinking as it bakes.
- For the full experience and better taste of lemon custard/cream, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Do not mix in the butter, until the mixture cools down to 60 C (140F), it would become watery and wouldn’t combine.
- To make airy lemon custard/cream, at the end mix with immersion blender for full 10 minutes.
You might also like these recipes
- Lemon Blueberry Muffins
- Lemon Pound Cake
- Glazed Lemon Scones With Poppy Seeds
- Key Lime Cheesecake Tart
- Best Lemon Cheesecake
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- Tart pan 9 inch
Sweet pastry crust
- 2 cups (250 g)flour
- 2 pinches of salt
- 3/4 cup (150 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cups (95 g) sugar
- 1/3 cup (30 g) ground almonds
- 1 large egg
Lemon cream (custard):
- 5 large lemons
- 1 1/4 cup (240 g) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 cup (160 g) fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/3 cups (300 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
Sweet pastry crust
- Sift the flour and sugar separately. Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside.
- In a bowl of stand electric mixer, beat the butter with paddle attachment, until soften and creamy. Add sugar, ground almonds, salt, egg and lastly the flour. Mix on slow speed, until the mixture comes together, do not over mix. Remove from electric mixer wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours.
- Roll out the sweet pastry dough on floured surface to 3-5 mm (1/8 “-1/4”). Slip the metal spatula underneath to prevent the pastry from sticking. Drape the pastry over the rolling pin and roll up halfway so you can lift it. Carefully because the dough might be braking. Place the dough over the tart pan and unroll the pastry dough. Press the pastry dough into the bottom and up the side of the pan. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the ring to cut off the excess pastry dough. Using your fingertips, press the pastry dough into and up the sides of the pan.
- Cut out a disk of parchment paper , fold the disk in half several times to make a triangular shape. Then clip the outer edge with scissors. Line the tart pan with the pastry dough and cover the bottom with cut out parchment paper disk. Fill it with dried beans or chickpeas. Bake in preheated oven 180 C (350 F) for 18-20 minutes. Now it will be partially baked. To bake it fully, remove the beans and lining paper and return the sweet pastry shell to the oven for another 5- 6 minutes or util golden brown.
Lemon cream (custard):
- Zest the lemons in large heatproof bowl and then you pour in the sugar. Using both hands, rub the lemon zest into the sugar.
- Add the eggs and whisk everything together. Stir in the lemon juice. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches 82-83 C ( 180-181 F) About 15 minutes.
- Strain the mixture into a large bowl and let cool to 60 C (140 F). Then add butter pieces, one by one, mixing then with an immersion blender.
- Pour the lemon cream filling into the baked pastry shell and smooth the surface with a metal spatula. Let cool the tart in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- For the finishing touch, sprinkle with confectioner sugar. For smooth slices, cut with knife immersed in hot water and wiped with clean cloth.
- When making pastry dough by hand, use marble or wooden pastry board.
- Knead the dough as briefly as possible.
- Let the dough rest at least for 2 hours, this will prevent it from cracking when it is rolled out and from shrinking as it bakes.
- For sharp taste of lemon cream, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Do not mix in the butter, until the mixture cools down to 60 C (140F).
- To make airy lemon cream, at the end mix with immersion blender for full 10 minutes.
Thank you so much 🙂
Do you use NAPPAGE GLAZE?
No I haven’t used nappage glaze in this recipe. But if I use fruit on my tart, then yes it’s a good idea to add more shine onto the fruits. Hope this answer your question. Have a great day Julia.
SO beautiful ! I think we are friends on me we.
Thank you 😃
this lemon tart looking absolutely divine. Loved the step by step detailed recipe with pictures. I am bookmarking it for making tart shell. Thanks for sharing
I am so happy to hear you find the step-by-step picture recipe, it always helps 🙂 Let me know how it goes!
Two guests are lactose intolerant. What will happen if I use margarine?
Hi Diane, I haven’t tried it with dairy-free margarine myself, but with some research on the net, I found plenty of recipes recommending substituting butter for dairy-free margarine called Earth Balance or coconut oil. Both the tart (tart might be less flaky) and the lemon custard should work with it. If you do give it a try with the margarine or coconut oil, please let me know how it turned out. Happy baking!
Nart at Cooking with Nart
Made this last weekend and it was such a hit! Thanks so much for sharing!
So happy to hear it was a hit in your family Nart! Thank you for letting me know:)
This is glorious! I would love to have a slice or three with a huge cup of coffee right now!
Thank you Shashi:) Hope you will have a chance to make this tart one day, it’s so worth it!
That looks divine. I love lemon in any dessert. This is definitely the one for me and it looks lush. Thanks so much for the recipe. Drooling here. sharing this too!
So happy to hear Jacqueline, that you love this lemon dessert and glad you are sharing a slice with your family and friends:)
This was so yummy, and so easy too. I love lemon anything, and so will definitely be making this again! Thanks for the recipe xx
Thank you Bry! So glad you found it easy, so agree with you on lemon love in anything 🙂
Great recipe !
FYI, in France, we call pâte sablée the tart shell.
Pâté is with meat (I don’t know the english word, sorry) like pâté de foie gras
Thank you Franck for your feedback, I have updated the post with the right French writing of Pâte Sucrée 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the lemon tart:)
This was delicious! But too much for just 2 people … can I freeze the rest ??
Yes you can freeze the leftover from lemon tart, however the crust might become lightly soggy, loosing its crispiness after defrosting. I am so glad you enjoyed it:)
Love this recipe so happy you use measurements and weights rather than cups/spoons which are not universal.
Thank you so much, Melodie ! I am so happy to see hear that metric measurements are also used by my viewers 🙂 it’s my focus now to add both measurements to all my recipes. Happy baking!