This Lemon Tart is perfectly sweet and tangy, like your favorite lemon bars in pie form with a shortbread crust. So beautiful, but also easy to make. A truly lovely dessert that’s fancy enough for a holiday, but simple enough for any occasion!
Want a bite-sized lemon dessert? Check out our Mini Lemon Tarts!
Heads up lemon lovers – this Lemon Tart has your name on it! Similar to a classic French “tarte au citron” with a crumbly crust and a luscious lemon curd filling, it’s sweet and tart, rich and wonderful.
Lemon Tart Recipe
There are two main parts to this Lemon Tart:
- Shortbread Crust: The shortbread crust is made by combining all the ingredients in a bowl (or a food processor), then pressing the dough evenly in the bottom and all the way up the sides of a tart pan. It’s pre-baked before adding the filling.
- Lemon Curd Filling: The filling is similar to my easy lemon curd, but with less butter and the addition of heavy cream. It’s super easy to make and comes together quickly.
This tart is ideally made in a 9-inch tart pan. A tart pan has straight sides, typically fluted, and is usually metal. They can also have a removable bottom, which allows you to easily remove the tart from the pan without messing up the pretty edges.
What if I don’t have a tart pan? Although highly recommend, you don’t have to use a tart pan to make this recipe. Any 9-inch pie tin or pie plate will work. You could even use an 8×8 baking dish.
Lemon Curd Tart Recipe Tips
- Grease or line the pan: Greasing or lining the pan with parchment paper will greatly help in being able to remove the tart from the pan without breaking it. I like to trace out a circle with the bottom of the pan and place in the tart pan, and spray cooking spray around the inside edges.
- Adjust the amount of sugar: You may adjust the amount of sugar in the filling to your taste. 3/4 cup sugar leaves some tartness, while not being too sour. However you may add a bit more if you like it sweeter, up to 1 cup.
- Use a fine mesh sieve for the curd: Pushing the curd through a fine-mesh sieve ensures the texture is creamy and free of eggy bits.
- Got a food processor? The dough for the crust can be made in a mixing bowl (with some muscle), but if you’ve got a food processor, it’s even easier.
- Don’t over-bake! The tart can crack if it’s baked too long or if the oven is too hot. Remove the tart from the oven when it is still smooth on top and still jiggles in the middle. It will set up once it cools and is chilled. If it does come out looking rough or cracked on top, it will still taste fantastic! Just sprinkle with some powdered sugar before serving to hide the imperfection.
- Chill for several hours: Chill the lemon curd tart for several hours before serving or the filling will be too runny. After enough chilling time, the lemon curd will firm up, making it easier to cut through.
How to Store Lemon Tart
Do lemon curd tarts need to be refrigerated? Yes. Because there are eggs in the filling, the tart needs to be kept in the fridge. Covered tightly, it will keep up to 3 days.
Can you freeze lemon tart? Yes. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag. It can stay frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
How to Decorate Lemon Tart
The tart is great as is, but if you want to take it up a notch, there are several options for garnishing. Homemade Whipped Cream, Raspberry Sauce, meringue, powdered sugar, candied lemon slices, or fresh berries all pair well and look lovely.
Other Lemon Desserts
For the Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Lemon Curd Filling
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch tart pan, or line with parchment paper.
- Make the crust: Whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add softened butter and vanilla. Mix together until a ball forms. (A food processor works great for this.)
- Press dough evenly in bottom of tart pan, and all the way up the sides. Prick with a fork a few times around the bottom of crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Make the filling: In a medium saucepan whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until a thick curd forms, about 10-12 minutes. It should be the consistency of pudding.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in the butter and heavy cream.
- Strain lemon filling through a fine-mesh strainer, then pour into the crust.
- Bake tart until set, but still slightly jiggly in middle, about 15 to 18 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack for one hour, then chill in fridge for at least 3 hours.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar over top before serving, if desired.