The French lemon tart (Tarte au citron) is a fine dessert for anyone who likes citrus. It is a traditional lemon tart with shortcrust pastry and lemon custard baked in the oven, with or without meringue. For a sophisticated tart, pipe French or Italian meringue on the top (rosettes, drops, or tourbillon) and bake. It’s preferable to use Menton or Meyers lemon.

Chantilly cream, raspberry or strawberry, icing sugar, some mimosas, yellow or violet pansy flowers, will add a delicate and memorable touch, to this simple and delicious tart. Use the same recipe for four mini-tarts (tartelettes).

How To Make Pastry Shell For Tarts

Use one pre-baked 9 inch Shortcrust Pastry Shell (See Basics/How To). Follow the recipe as directed.

Lemon Curd Filling Ingredients

  • 200 g        granulated sugar
  • 4                eggs +2 egg yolks
  • 40 g           unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp        cornstarch
  • 35 cl           heavy cream
  • The juice and the zest of two lemons 

French Meringue Ingredients

  • 90 g              icing sugar
  • 2 g                aged egg whites
  • Pinch cream of Tartar

How To Make French Lemon Tart

Method / Preparation:

  1. Prepare the lemon curd: In a medium saucepan mix lemon juice, lemon zest, heavy cream, and cornstarch, whisk well until all ingredients are well combined.
  2. Put the lemon mixture over medium heat, don’t stop to whisk with a spatula, add eggs, egg yolks, and butter, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens.
  3. Pass the lemon curd through a strainer, let it cool down about 2-5 minutes; when just warm, pour over the pre-baked shell, smooth the lemon filling.
  4. Bake the lemon tart in a preheated oven at 350ºF, about 5-8 minutes, or until the curd is golden brown. Set aside, to cool. At this stage, if you prefer a Lemon Tart Meringuée (with meringue), proceed to step 5, and continue as directed.
  5. Prepare the French meringue: In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, gradually add the icing sugar, without stopping whipping until you reach stiff peaks.
  6. Pipe the meringue over a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm round nozzle, or any other nozzle, dust lightly with icing sugar.
  7. Brown the meringue lightly with a culinary blow torch, to caramelize, you should get a golden meringue, not a dark one, for the taste.

La Dorure’s Tips:

  • For a quick recipe, just combine all lemon filling ingredients, pour over the pre-baked shell, and bake about 18-25 minutes, or until the curd is golden.
  • If you don’t have a torch, just use the oven broiler over very low heat, for a few minutes, keep an eye on the meringue.
  • Without meringue, it is preferable to serve the lemon tart with Chantilly cream.

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