This easy lemon tart recipe is light, creamy, and refreshing. It can be whipped up in no time from frozen puff pastry and a few simple ingredients.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- This easy lemon tart tastes so light, creamy and fresh, perfect for dinner parties or brunches. All you need is a freezer stash of puff pastry (which I always have on hand) and a few lemons. So simple!
- If you want to make things even easier, buy the lemon curd instead of making it. I won’t tell. I typically have a warehouse-sized bag of lemons on my counter, from-scratch curd is always within arm’s reach for me for desserts like this, lemon curd cake, or lemon curd cookies.
- Lemon is a total crowd pleaser. Especially when paired with a pillowy meringue or whipped cream topping (and if you love these things, you must also try my frozen lemon bars – they’re devine!). The fresh tartness and sweet creaminess in a charmingly messy wedge of crispy tart is irresistible. You could alternatively make this recipe with rhubarb curd instead the second the first ruby stalks materialize. It’d be so pretty and pink!
The Simple Ingredients You Need
- Frozen Puff Pastry dough provides the main structure for the lemon tart. No need to fuss with a shortbread crust or homemade tart crust (although feel free to try my easy No-Roll Pie Crust recipe).
- Fresh Lemon Juice helps to balance out the sweetness of the granulated sugar and salt.
- Finely Grated Lemon Zest adds an extra layer of citrus flavor to the filling.
- Granulated Sugar lends a lovely sweetness to every bite.
- Coarse Salt enhances flavor by cutting through some of the sweetness of the sugar.
- Eggs help to thicken and bind all the ingredients together. I love that this easy recipe uses whole eggs rather than separating egg yolks and whites.
- Cold Unsalted Butter contributes richness and creaminess that elevates each mouthful.
- Whipped Cream (for Serving) makes a delightful accompaniment to slice of tart heaven!
- Lastly, Thinly Sliced Lemon (for Garnishing) adds a refreshing garnish that will impress your guests!
How to Make This Easy Lemon Tart
How to Blind Bake the Tart Shell
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Roll out the puff pastry and place it on a pie pan.
- Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork several times to prevent it from rising.
- Cover it with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, then bake for about 20 minutes until it turns golden brown.
How to make the Lemon Tart filling
- Whisk lemon juice, zest, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until steaming hot and all of the sugar is dissolved.
- Whisk eggs in a heatproof spouted measuring cup, then slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly.
- Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the lemon mixture while whisking slowly, cooking it until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Whisk in some cold butter then scrape the mixture into already-baked crust.
- Refrigerate it for an hour until filling sets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your tart is set when the filling is firm and jiggles only slightly when you gently shake the pan. It usually takes about an hour of refrigeration for the filling to set.
If your lemon tart filling did not set, it could be because you didn’t cook it long enough or didn’t refrigerate it for long enough. Make sure your filling reaches the right temperature and refrigerate it until it sets.
Tarts with a wet filling such as lemon tart require blind baking the pastry to prevent it from getting soggy. Blind baking refers to baking the pie crust on its own, without the filling.
Blind baking prevents the filling from seeping into the pastry, making it soggy. It also helps the crust to become crispy and golden brown.
It’s best to refrigerate your lemon tart after serving to prevent the filling from going bad. Leaving it out overnight could spoil the tart and make it unsafe to eat.
How to Serve
Once the filling is set, you can garnish it with whipped cream and thin lemon slices (or fresh berries) for pretty presentation.
Serve the tart cold as a refreshing dessert, or room temperature.
Make Ahead & Storage
You can make this lemon tart a day ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve. Keep in mind that pastry gets harder and tougher the longer it is refrigerated (this is because the fridge’s temperature accelerates staling of the starches in the crust).
Store leftover lemon tart in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
One large lemon typically yields around 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Buy extra to garnish, and use a mandoline or sharp knife to carefully cut thin slices.
I used my great aunt’s rectangular tart pan, which is a treasure I keep on my counter filled with utensils typically, but I had the sudden urge to actually use it as intended. Although I remember my aunt mostly for her Christmas sweets, it makes me smile to think she served many homemade pies in this scratched up old tin.
If there’s any excess lemon curd (it’ll depend on the size of your pan), refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container for up to 1 week and enjoy it on toast, scones, yogurt, chia pudding, ice cream, or straight-up with a spoon.
Easy Lemon Tart
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ tsp coarse salt
- 3 large eggs
- 6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter cut in cubes
- Whipped cream to serve
- Thinly sliced lemon to serve, optional
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Roll out the puff pastry to fit your pie pan. Prick the bottom several times with a fork. Cover with a piece of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) and fill it up with pie weights (or you can use dry rice or other grain, or dried beans – you just won’t be able to cook with them after). Bake the pie crust for about 20 minutes, until nicely golden brown.
- Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, zest, sugar and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until steaming hot and sugar is dissolved.
- Whisk eggs in a heatproof spouted measuring cup. Temper the eggs (prevent curdling) by very slowly drizzling about 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly. Again pouring very slowly, whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the lemon mixture. Cook the lemon curd, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (if you’re unsure, pull out your thermometer – it’s done at 170ºF). It shouldn’t come to a boil. Whisk in the butter, then scrape into baked crust (and if it’s curdled at all, don’t sweat it, just force it through a fine-meshed sieve first to remove any scrambled bits).
- Refrigerate 1 hour or until filling is set, then top with whipped cream and serve.
- Use a 9″ round pie pan or a rectangular one like I’ve done, just trim your puff pastry to fit.
- One large lemon typically yields around 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Buy extra to garnish, and use a mandoline or sharp knife to carefully cut thin slices.
- If there’s any excess lemon curd, refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks and enjoy it on toast, scones, yogurt, chia pudding, ice cream, or straight-up with a spoon.
Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD