This Meyer Lemon Tart is tart and buttery at the same time. Creamy, fruity Meyer lemon curd is combined with a nutty sweet crust for an amazingly tasty dessert. A lemon tart is one of the versatile desserts in that it goes with almost any meal. It's simple to make and perfect for every day or any special occasion, like Mother's Day.
I love lemon tarts and I am so happy to share this Meyer Lemon Tart with you. It's a simple dessert - a buttery sweet crust with a tart lemon filling. The combination is perfection. And if you love citrus tarts try my Blood Orange Curd Tart and Kumquat Rosemary Tart.
Paris is one of my favorite cities and whenever I get a chance to go two things are on my must-have list: Pain Au Raisin and a Lemon Tart. After I've had those I feel like I've arrived.
The other great thing about this recipe is that the sweet-tart crust and lemon curd are basic building blocks for baking, so once you have mastered one or both of them you can make a variety of desserts based on your taste. For example, you can fill the pre-baked crust with chocolate ganache, top it with whipped cream, and have an easy but decadent dessert.
Why This Recipe Tastes So Good
This Meyer Lemon Tart is based on the classic lemon tart and I think it is one of the best lemon tarts you'll taste. Meyer lemons are used to make a creamy tart filling and the pate sucrée crust is sweet and buttery with a slightly nutty flavor from the almond flour.
Meyer Lemon Tart Recipe Ingredients
Here's what you'll need to make this delicious lemon tart:
- Unbleached All Purpose Flour. Provides the structure for the dough.
- Powdered Sugar. Powdered sugar melts fast and combines quickly with the other ingredients, which allows you to mix the dough less and avoid the development of too much gluten in the dough.
- Almond Flour. Adds a nice nutty flavor to the dough.
- Whole Egg and Egg Yolk. The egg binds all the ingredients together and helps the dough hold its shape.
- Unsalted Butter. Use butter that tastes good because the flavor will be prominent in the final crust.
Meyer Lemon Curd
- Meyer Lemons. Use fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice. Use an electric juicer to get the most juice out of the lemons.
- Whole Eggs and Egg Yolks. The eggs add flavor, thicken the curd and create a creamy texture. They also make a stable emulsion - meaning the curd won't separate or break apart when it cools.
- Granulated Sugar. Sugar adds sweetness, but the main purpose of the sugar is to combine with the eggs to create a creamy custard. The sugar breaks up the protein clumps in the eggs, which results in raising the temperature in which the eggs set. Permitting the egg proteins to set slow and disperse with the other ingredients results in a smooth and creamy lemon curd.
- Unsalted Butter. Butter adds richness to the curd and helps make the curd satiny smo
For this recipe, make the tart crust first, and while it's baking make the Meyer Lemon Curd. Add the warm lemon curd to the crust and bake the assembled tart in the oven.
You can also make the lemon curd a week in advance and the tart crust 1 day in advance and assemble the tart on the day you plan to serve it. See the recipe for more details.
And if you prefer, this recipe can be used to make 4-5 small lemon tarts depending on the size of the mini tart pans.
What is a Lemon Tart
A lemon tart is plain and simple (lemon curd and buttery crust) which means the flavors of the two main ingredients are even more prominent. Is the filling too sweet or too tart? Is it creamy or grainy? Is the crust flaky and buttery or is it overbaked? To answer these questions you have to be willing to eat a lot of tarts.
I'm not sure when I had my first lemon tart, but I'm pretty sure it was in Paris. I grew up with my mom's lemon meringue pies, so a lemon tart on my first trip to France was revelatory. You savor every bite and are disappointed when it's gone. But if you're in Paris there's a patisserie every 2 blocks, so lot's of opportunity to get another.
How to Make the Pate Sucrée (Sweet Pastry Crust)
The tart crust is a sweet crust (or Pâte Sucrèe) that I like to use for tarts. It's tender, but sturdy enough for rolling out and fairly easy to make. This crust is also used for my Apple Crumble Tart.
In this recipe, you're mixing the ingredients just long enough to combine them. Don't overmix the dough or mix it at high speed, which can result in a tough crust.
Sift the powdered sugar and the all-purpose flour into separate bowls to remove any lumps.
Place the butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until the butter is creamy and the ingredients are combined.
Add the powdered sugar and mix on low just until the ingredients are combined. Add the almond flour and vanilla extract and mix on low just until the ingredients are combined.
Next, add the eggs and part of the flour, mix them in and then add the remaining flour. Mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix the dough to avoid developing the gluten in the flour which can make the dough tough and harder to roll out.
Divide the dough into two equal parts and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You only need half the dough for this recipe so the other half can be frozen. Refrigerate the dough in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How to Bake the Pate Sucrée Crust
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes so that it softens a little to make it easier to roll out.
Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle. Fold the dough into the quarters and lift it into the tart pan. Unfold the dough and press into the lower edges all the way around. If the dough breaks use the dough that is overhanging the top edge to patch the dough.
Go all the way around the pan until the dough has an even thickness and is even across the top. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and line the dough with aluminum foil. You can use parchment paper or foil for this step, but I prefer aluminum foil because it's easier to press against the dough.
Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the dough for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, remove the beans and foil; and bake for another 15 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Take the crust from the oven. If using it the next day, let it completely cool and then wrap in plastic wrap.
How to Make the Meyer Lemon Curd
The recipe for the Meyer lemon curd filling can be found here. The curd can be made the same day or up to a week earlier and chilled in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the lemon tart.
If you don't have Meyer lemons you can substitute a combination of lemon juice and mandarin orange juice. You can also use regular lemons in this dessert and substitute the Meyer Lemon Curd with regular Lemon Curd.
Make sure to cook the Meyer lemon curd to the correct temperature so that it sets properly and will slice into beautiful clean cuts.
If you're making the crust and the lemon curd all in the same day, the warm lemon curd is added to the pre-baked crust.
How to Assemble the Meyer Lemon Tart
If you're making the crust and the lemon curd all on the same day, add the warm lemon curd to the pre-baked crust and bake for 10 minutes. The intention is not to cook the lemon curd (because it has already been cooked), but to help it set so that it cuts smoothly.
Remove the lemon tart from the oven and let it completely cool to room temperature before serving it.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- See my tips for Meyer Lemon Curd to successfully made fruit curd.
- Use a scale to weigh the dry ingredients to ensure accuracy and to avoid adding too much flour which will result in a dry crust that will easily cracked.
- Mix the dough on low to prevent the development of too much gluten in the tart dough which can result in a tough hard crust.
- Don't skip refrigerating the dough. Chilling the dough will make it easier to roll out and help it hold its shaped when it's baked.
- Make sure the dough is cold and your work surface is cool to the touch. If the dough becomes too soft (too warm) while rolling it out, stick it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill and then continue rolling it out.
Meyer Lemon Tart - Frequently Asked Questions
The lemon tart is best eaten within 2 days of being made, but it will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. As it sits, the crust does become softer.
The unbaked dough is good for 5 days in the refrigerator.
If your crust is hard or chewy it is most likely because it was overworked either from overmixing or when you rolled it out, if you rolled it out multiple times.
More Meyer Lemon Desserts
If you like Meyer lemons, check out these other Meyer lemon recipes:
If you love lemon or citrus desserts, you'll definitely want to try this lemon tart. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. And if you want to stay up to date on new recipes please sign up for my Baking Newsletter.
Meyer Lemon Tart (Tart Au Citron)
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (115 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (28 grams) almond flour sifted to remove lumps
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 large (50 grams) egg
- 1 large (20 grams) egg yolk
- 2 3/4 cups (314 grams) all-purpose flour sifted
Meyer Lemon Curd
- 3 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large (80 grams) egg yolks
- 2 large (100 grams) whole eggs
- 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter
- 3 (90 grams) large egg whites
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- This recipe makes enough dough for two tarts. If only making one tart, the other half of the dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.
- For the recipe the crust is prebaked. Prebaking ensures the crust will be nice and brown when the lemon filling is added.
- Sift the powdered sugar and the flour into separate bowls.
- With a stand mixer beat the butter and salt together on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the almond flour and the vanilla and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add the eggs and 1/3 of the flour and beat on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. The dough will be soft.
- The dough will weigh about 670 grams. Split the dough into two pieces, 335 grams each, shape each into a circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Lightly butter a 9-inch tart pan. Do not use too much butter. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to 1/4-inch thick circle. Fold the dough in half and place into the pan. Unfold the dough and gently press the dough into the base and sides of the pan being careful not to tear the dough. Remove excess dough for the edge of the dough is even with the top edge of the pan.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Blind bake the tart dough. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill the paper with pie weights or beans. I use dried beans and keep a jar of beans in my pantry. Bake the dough for 15 minutes. Remove the dough from the oven and remove the beans and paper. Return the dough to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until it is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling it.
Meyer Lemon Curd
- While the tart crust is baking make the lemon curd. Place a strainer over a large bowl and a spatula, near the stove.
- In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the eggs yolks, whole eggs and sugar and whisk until well blended. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter.
- Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is thickened and 185 degrees F. When the mixture has thickened and reached a temperature of 185 degrees F pour into the strainer. Do not let the curd boil or it will curdle. Press the curd through the strainer with a spatula into the bowl.
- Scrape the lemon curd into the pre-baked tart shell and bake for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool to room temperature.
- NOTE: The ingredients for the tart can be made in advance. The curd can be made one (1) week in advance. After making the lemon curd cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap, gently pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd. Place the curd in the refrigerator and chill. Place it in a sealed container. When ready to make your tart bring the curd to room temperature, stir it to loosen it up and follow the directions above.
For the Meringue (Optional Topping)
- This lemon tart is delicious all my itself, but if you would like to add a topping use this recipe for a meringue tart.
- Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F then immediately put the bowl on the mixer, attach the whisk attachment, and whip at medium high speed until the mixture is cool and the whites hold stiff peaks, about 5-7 minutes.
- Scrape the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a ring around the perimeter of the tart. Or spread in a ring around the tart with a spatula. Use a kitchen torch to toast and brown the meringue.