whole-lemon-tart Recipes

whole lemon tart

Everyone has a favorite lemon tart, don’t they? I think of them as one those pastries that people obsess over to the point that crafting a great one is practically considered a higher calling. And I’d joke about this (okay, well, just a little) but if you’ve ever had a good, nay, great one, you totally get it. An awesome one will blow your mind. Some are filled with only a simple lemon curd, others with a creamier lemon filling, some are studded with fresh raspberries or have bits of candied lemon peel inside and the rare one even has a chunk of a fresh lemon segment within. I have never met one I didn’t like.

partially baked unshrinkable tart shellmeyer lemonwhirled fillingpouring the filling

But I do have a favorite, and it is so ridiculously simple that when I made it last week I actually kicked myself for waiting so long since the last time I gave it a spin. Where are my priorities? Seriously. I won’t slip up again.

whole lemon tart

This is such a great one to have in your files because it doesn’t demand a lot of your grocery list: just one whole lemon. That right, peel, pith and all. And because you only have to buy one, you can go ahead and splurge on the gorgeous Meyers around right now (but fortunately, this works with any kind of lemon). Everything else comes from common ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs and a parbaked tart shell that promises not to shrink up on you but when it all comes together… you won’t believe how much came from so little. Or how quickly an entire tart can disappear. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

whole lemon tart

One year ago: Matzo Ball Soup

Whole Lemon Tart
Loosely inspired by a version from the Paris pastry shop, Rollet-Pradier

[Updates, 1/26/11] More eggs were added, which help the tart set and not bubble over, as some (yikes, sorry) experienced with the first version. I’ve also drastically streamlined the directions — the whole tart is now made in the food processor, as I always have at home. The butter doesn’t need to be softened or melted. You’ll have the filling made and the tart out of the oven in 45 minutes. This is the perfect dessert to bring to a dinner party. [One final tip, 8/21/14] When I used a riff on this filling for the Whole Lemon Bars in my cookbook, I found over dozens of obsessive retests that the only times that the filling came out too bitter was when the white part of the lemons I’d bought were especially thick. I’ve adjusted the directions below to have you take a look at your peel thickness when you cut it, and to use less skin if it’s especially thick.

1 partially baked 9-inch Great Unshrinkable Tart Shell, or your favorite sweet tart shell

1 average-sized lemon (about 4 1/2 ounces; 130 grams), rinsed and dried*
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons (14 grams) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon table salt

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven 350°F (165´C). Place the tart shell on a baking sheet, which you can line with foil or parchment paper to make any spills a breeze to clean up.

Cut the lemon in half and take a look at the thickness of the white ring of the skin. Does it look thick to you, perhaps 1/4-inch thick or larger? If so, go ahead and remove the skin from one half of the lemon before proceeding. If it looks normal or not especially thick, you’ll be just fine. In both cases, slice the lemon halves into thin wheels, remove any seeds, and toss the rounds — lemon flesh and peel — sugar and chunks of butter into the container of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the container as needed, until the lemon is thoroughly pureed. Add the eggs, cornstarch and salt and pulse until the batter is smooth.

Pour into prepared tart shell. It will fill it completely but if due to slight variances in tart pans, egg sizes, lemon sizes or crust thickness, you have too much, do not pour it past the top of of your crust or it will become difficult to unmold later.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the filling is set. You can test this by bumping the pan a little; it should only jiggle slightly. In my oven, I find that the point at which the filling is set is also when it starts to get very light brown on top.

Let cool on rack, unmold tart pan and serve. I actually prefer this tart completely chilled, which makes it a great dessert to make in advance of a dinner or party.

* Meyer lemons might seem the obvious choice here, and they will work, but I actually prefer this with the sharp, less floral, intensity of standard grocery store lemons (Eureka variety).

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430 comments on whole lemon tart

  1. Tracie

    Here it is….the recipe to transition us out of the insane amounts of your rice pudding that has been made in our house during these last few crazy cold months! I can almost smell spring now….

  2. I adore lemon tart and have been wanting to make this since the first time you mentioned it. I consider the coincidence of having four fresh lemons and your post as all the fate I need. Thank you in advance for what will be tomorrows wonderful dessert!

  3. This looks so ridiculously easy and yummy. I swear I need to move back to NYC so that I can feed my family and friends again. Cooking all this good stuff for two people’s nuts on our waistlines.

  4. I agree with a previous poster and say this says SPRING! I love lemons and will have to give this one a try. I just have yet to find a lemon tart that I like. I am sure this one will be it though – you’ve never steered me wrong :)

  5. I crave lemony desserts when I’ve been over-chocolated for too long (doesn’t sound possible, I know, but, it always happens in February (and then again in mid-summer, for some reason…)). Now I have a reason to see if I can master that tart shell….

  6. Oh, lovely! I bet all the pectin in the lemon helps it set up w/only 1 egg and that wee amount of corn starch. Very cool recipe! And, by the way, who needs a tart crust when you could just use vanilla wafers to dip this stuff up like salsa?! :D

  7. deb

    Beyond (who’s wants it less sweet) and Cameron (who is concerned about bitter) — Basically, if you use a standard lemon it is slightly more bitter/sour (thicker peel, sharper lemon). A Meyer one makes for a mellower, sweeter tart. Cameron, you should use a Meyer and Beyond, if you use a Meyer, dial back the sugar by a tablespoon or two — but you’d probably prefer a regular lemon.

  8. I have never made a lemon tart. I don’t even know why not, come to think of it, since I LOVE them. Finally, a recipe that dares me to try. Thank You!!
    Sara in Salt Lake City

  9. Monica

    Oh, I wish DH liked lemon….then again, more for me! I’ll have to go buy a tart pan. (Oh darn! Shopping for kitchen stuff?!) And my neighbor DOES have that big ol lemon tree that hangs over into my yard, heavy with fat yellow globes. She did say we could have whatever we can reach. :D

  10. This looks amazing. And it looks like it’s just me, but frankly give me a regular lemon over a Meyer any day. The Meyer isn’t lemony enough to go by “lemon”. They should call it something else…But with a regular lemon? All about it.

  11. Lindsey

    I have been making this tart ever since you posted it the last time and OMG it gets rave reviews each time. I also love eating it cold, and it never makes it past the second day!

  12. deb

    Normally you add eggs one at a time in a cake. However, this is just 1.5 eggs, or an egg and a yolk. You can add them together. Just whisk them well.

    I haven’t tested this with key limes though I am sure it would be great — especially if you get tiny, yellowish ones. I’d just weigh out 4.5 ounces of lime and maybe up the sugar by a tablespoon.

  13. I realized last year that I never go for the lemon flavored desserts. I think it’s because I don’t have much experience with them and so I don’t pick them to make or eat. I’ll have to give this a whirl and see if I like it.

  14. So fun! I am totally making this tomorrow. Do you think it would taste good with an almond crust? I’m on a gluten-free diet and if you think a good wheat crust is hard to find (and oh! It is! Your unshrinkable crust is ah-MAZE-ing!), a good gluten-free crust is a whole ‘nother WORLD of difficult! I have this almond crust recipe that I use to replace graham cracker crusts, do you think the tastes would go? Or do I need something plainer that doesn’t distract from the lemony part? Advice from someone who’s made this would be super helpful! Thankyou again!

  15. Kua

    This tart works best (at least, my friends beg for it) when it’s balanced between sweet, tart, and bitter. Meyer lemons don’t have the same bitter note to them, so if I use one, I balance it with a chunk of grapefruit.

    The filling is thicker than lemon curd, so it doesn’t work as well for dipping cookies or fruit. It does, however, make a damned fine tart! I sometimes sub in almond or hazelnut meal for some of the flour, so I imagine an almond crust would be delicious.

  16. Pallavi from Australia

    That looks fantastic!
    And I just noticed that you’ve put in the metric/celcius measurements for everything, thanks! Much appreciated.

  17. This looks amazing, I can’t wait to make it.

    I have a gluten-free cake on my website that uses whole oranges and have been wanting to make a dish with whole lemons for a while now. I think this tart will be fantastic.

    Thanks for your great recipes, I love your site!

  18. Yiwen

    Thank you for including the measures in metric – you have an international audience and it’s very helpful to the readers to show quantities in both systems. This detail has made your site even better!!

  19. I am impressed with the crust. I would be happy with just that… but then there is the lemon rind… swoon. I made a wedding cake earlier this year where I made rasberry curd, and I can foresee a good place for it in this tart. Ahh, now the wheel are turning in my head. Yippee!

  20. june2

    I like mine showered with long chocolate curls on top. I love the whole-lemon concept though. Will have to try it this way. Thanks!

  21. Oh Deb, I have been making this tart of yours with every citrus fruit I can lay my hands on (blood orange being favorite and grapefruit least – too bitter) and was planning to blog it. Now you have buried it out again. No Meyer lemons here (Rome, Italy) and I was weary of regular lemons till now. I just might try!

  22. Oh my God! Now I know what I’m doing this weekend. I had plans for this quince and goat cheese tart, but I guess I’ll be changing that plan. I splurged on one of those cream whippers, so it’s going to be topped with fabulous lemon zest whipped cream!

  23. I made this pie last week and loved it. The fact you have to put in a whole lemon was so interesting. I am having a bunch of my girlfriends over for a valentines party and plan to make the pie again!! I am new to the whole blogging thing, and yet I think I have read almost all your posts!

  24. Shocking admission: I don’t love lemon tarts!! I know, I know. I love lemon cake, lemon cookies, and even lemon cheesecake but lemon tart leaves me cold.

    That said, that looks really nice, and I am tempted to make it … well make four smaller ones that I can share with my friends who ADORE lemon. I think I smell a weekend project! Or, is it lemon? :)

  25. Kate

    So, I love your website. I think it’s great and I share it with pretty much everyone I talk to. And I think it’s great that people will pay you to advertise on your blog. But TEETH WHITENING?!!! No offense, but it’s SO gross to see a picture of someone’s nasty yellow teeth as I’m scrolling down the page reading about lemon tarts.

  26. Oh wow. It is only 7:30 in the morning, I haven’t even managed coffee yet, yet I am salivating over your lemon tart. I actually don’t think I’ve ever had one. I need to rectify that situation.

  27. Ah such beauty…and I totally agree. The difference between a good and great lemon tart is pretty vast. If you’re looking for other versions, the one in the River Cafe Cookbook totally blew my mind.

  28. Susan

    I’m with Christine #34, I like the Eureka lemons best. The Meyers just don’t have the the same bright lemon flavor to me. However, grinding the whole fruit, a Meyer might be better since the fruit has less pith. I wonder how a few Kalamunsi’s might taste for this tart? You’d probably have to scale back the sugar if those were used.

  29. MMmmmm This looks delicious!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to try it! I stayed in the Liguria region of Italy a few years ago during their Lemon Festival and they had so many beautiful lemon-oriented foods available. I also just happen to have a batch of gorgeous Meyer Lemons begging for this tart! :) thank you

  30. viscult

    Seeing that you only need one really nice lemon, this would also be a good time to splurge on an organic lemon, as pesticides are concentrated in the peel and pith of citrus fruits. Looking forward to making such a nice, simple treat!

  31. deb

    Kate — I hate those teeth ads — so gross! They’ve been running since yesterday and unfortunately, there isn’t an obvious way to get rid of them (they’re from Google, not my usual ad providers where I can nix stuff that doesn’t fit); you have my sympathy. [Update: I think I found a way to block them. Let’s see how long it takes to work…]

    Amanda — Depends on the recipe. For mine (linked to in the recipe and entry), you would bake from the freezer lined with foil for 20 to 25 minutes, then another 5 minutes empty. But most tart shell recipes will give you parbaking instructions.

  32. Hi! I’ve just stumbled across your blog and can’t, for some reason, stop drooling! (: Amazing pictures! The food looks fab!

    I’ve tagged you in my blog, take a peek at my post “Tagged” for the rules! Hope you can take part!

  33. I can’t believe it only takes ONE lemon!

    I am really excited about the crust; I missed that crust post in November and I have been going mad with falling tart crusts lately! And I hate weighing the crusts down with perfectly good beans. This is almost jumping up and down excitement here!

    I have Meyer lemons left. This will be fun. I’ll make it tomorrow; I have to go work in the garden today.

  34. I just made this last week from your other post on it! Mine wasn’t nearly as combined.. guess my food processor sucks. It cost $6, hahaha. I used meyers though, and forgot to cut back the sugar. So I just added an extra. It was quite delish. I want to try another that is more silky/custardy, though.

  35. Carrie

    I actually have lemons in the fridge because I was going to try a lemon bar recipe. I think the lemons are too old now, but I will definitely try this recipe this weekend.

  36. I think this is going to be my boyfriend’s new favorite lemon recipe. He’s very partial to lemon bars– I have to make them with the cook’s illustrated filling recipe and a graham-cracker-y crust from scratch, though. This one is so much easier and I bet it tastes just as fab!

  37. There is legitimately nothing I love more than lemon bars and I consider the tart to be an elegant equivalent. Beautifully done, filled with my beloved lemon curd and, in my house, served with fresh raspberries both for flavor and for aesthetics. Because it’s February in Chicago and the whole house needs a dose of of golden yellow and rougey pink that tastes like that “higher calling.”

  38. deb

    Donna — It depends on what kind of rectangle. I have one of those long thin (13 x 4) ones… I find it uses about 80 to 90 percent of the filling for a standard tart pan (which makes sense because it’s volume is 52 square inches versus a 63.5 inches for a 9-inch round), so yes, but you’ll have to leave a little out. I know there are wider ones… they might additional filling/crust, depending on their size.

  39. Jennifer

    The last time I made this (from your first recipe), it turned out phenomenally well– beautiful color, great flavor.. but it was also extremely greasy! I suspect it was all the butter, but still, it freaked me out.

  40. dina

    This is so good. I’ve made it several times. My friend and I decided to use half of a Meyer and half of a regular lemon and that worked out really well.

  41. Jessica

    renaissancetrophywife – I want your lemon bar recipe with graham cracker crust! jessica (dot) diettrich (at) gmail (dot) com.

  42. Nadia

    I’m not a pie person but that looks stunning. All it needs now are a few raspberries scattered (rather than studded) lazily on top.

  43. Made this last night and am so sad! I love your recipes, but this was not a hit. Came out beautifully, smelled heavenly. Even eating it is delicious. Problem is once you swallow. My fiance compared it to that horrible dry, bitter taste in your mouth after you throw up. Don’t use regular lemons! I did and I’m regretting not hunting longer for Meyers. But, as always, gorgeous photos and I adore your site.

  44. stephanie

    I’m neverrrrr able to find meyer lemons anywhere. Any clues on where to get them? Does Whole Foods usually have them? Because my usual Kroger and Ukrop’s definitely don’t.

  45. I used a regular lemon (as far as I know). I cut off the ends (all the extra fleshiness), so the pith, rind, and juice would be balanced. It turned out fine.

    -JJ

  46. It just so happens that I have not one, but five Meyer lemons in my fridge. There’s nothing wrong with making five tarts, is there? I could even share one…

  47. Shannon

    Deb, I recently made the bittersweet chocolate tart with gingersnap crust and loved it. could I use that crust for this do you think? (I am scared of real pastry crust but my husband loves lemon desserts) I would love to make this for valentines!

  48. valerie

    Just a note to say that I just recently found your blog and I like your work! I love lemon tarts. My question to you is how do you keep the filling from “cracking” down the middle? I have this problem often. Thanks.

  49. deb

    Hi Valerie — That should not be an issue with this tart. Any time you bake a “custard” — cheesecake, eggy fillings, pumpkin pie — there’s a risk of it cracking. It can be avoided by baking the pan in a water bath. Yet for whatever reason, this tart is shallow enough that it doesn’t split.

    Shannon — I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You could also make a graham cracker crust.

    Graciela — I mentioned this in comment 79… It will depend on the recipe. For mine (linked to in the recipe and entry), you would bake from the freezer lined with foil for 20 to 25 minutes, then another 5 minutes empty. But most tart shell recipes will give you parbaking instructions.

  50. Lindsey

    Hi-

    So I made this tart for some friends tonight.
    I’m in Germany with very few baking supplies- thus I did not have a food processor.
    I highly recommend the sans-food processor method!
    I sliced the lemon up into bite-sized pieces that exploded with flavor in the mouth!

    Guten Appetit!

  51. deb

    I find it delicious. But don’t believe me, read the comments from those who have already made it. If you’re wary about the flavor, however, definitely hold out for a Meyer lemon, which will make it milder.

  52. Nancy

    It’s cooling now. All I can say is wow!. I had to stop a fight over who could lick the batter bowl clean.
    To counter potential bitterness from the pith, I did remove rind with vegetable peeler, cut off most of rind and then used fruit. I compensated by thinly slicing ~ 1/2 lemon which I placed on top of tart before I placed in oven. I figure that slices should give me just the right balance of bitterness.

  53. Aurora

    Deb, this is an incredible recipe. I love the crust (SOOOO easy and fast, especially rolled out between sheets of parchment) and the whole-lemon thing.

    I have one question, though. When I baked it, after the 20 min at 325, I cranked the heat up to 350 and after about 10 minutes, the filling bubbled so much that it overflowed the tart pan (good thing it was on the baking sheet!) and looked quite brown and bubbly on top. I turned the heat back down and gave it another 5 min (total 15 min) but now the filling refuses to set. It stayed a bit goopy in the middle (but DELICIOUS!!) even after refrigeration. What can I do next time to make this work better?

    BTW, hubby and I are eating the tart anyway because it is so incredible tasting. I just want to know for next time (when I serve it to guests).

  54. Aurora

    Oh, and Hande… tell me about the blood-orange version of this recipe… just 4.5oz of blood orange with peel and all? Do you scale back the sugar?

  55. deb

    Hi Aurora — You know, I had meant to add a note about baking until “set” but it looks like I forgot to. I actually found our tart underbaked too (but my oven takes significantly longer to bake everything) and baked it longer until it was set. Not sure why it bubbled over… I’ve never had any bubbling. Were you using a 9-inch tart pan and did the crust shrink at all? Perhaps your lemon was bigger and you ended up with more filling…

  56. Aurora

    I don’t think it was a particularly large Meyer… but maybe. 9-inch pan and no shirking at all (love that recipe! Thanks!) In retrospect, I think I may have over-whisked the lemon curd, or possibly (can’t be verified now, of course) may have cranked it up to 375 instead of 350. Frick. Oh well. So next time bake at 350 until less giggly in the center, eh?
    Think the tart would stand to be popped back in the oven for a few more minutes after cooling, to finish setting up? (I see disaster looming…)

  57. One whole lemon?! I love this concept.
    Wanted to let you know that I finally tried the chocolate peanut butter cake and it was amazing (why did I wait so long to bake this?) all the ladies at the scrapbooking party gave it rave reviews and I have sent them all to your blog. :)

  58. dh

    My beautiful and talented chef-of-a-spouse made this tonight. Bitter-bomb. Looked beautiful. Came out beautifully. Except that it was waaaay too bitter. Even my wife rejected it as way too bitter, and she said the filling was fine going into the oven. The baking must concentrate the bitterness, because it was super ultra disappointing bitter. Maybe it was the lemon, but bitter haters beware.

  59. John

    Deb — This recipe has more character than a typical lemon tart filling. I like the extra texture that comes from processing the whole lemon. If tartness was a concern I’d serve smaller pieces or add a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. But I find the tartness to be a feature, not a bug.

    Your brown butter shortbread cookie recipe makes an excellent tart crust, reducing the flour by 2 T so it’s easy to work with, sandwiching it between layers of plastic wrap to press and roll it out, and pressing scrap pieces as needed into the tart pan, since it’s much more delicate than a pie crust dough:

    https://smittenkitchen.com/2008/12/brown-butter-brown-sugar-shorties/#more-1430

    About a third of the cookie recipe is excess, which I just throw on another pan and bake as cookies along with the tart crust.

  60. dh

    @Aurora — nope, not a Meyer. Suggested it to the wife and she said she’d consider trying it again with a Meyer. Wish she would have read the comments more closely before hand — most comments rave about the idea of the recipe, but haven’t actually made it! There should be a checkbox for comments — [] Actually Made This Recipe [] All Other Comments

  61. deb

    Hi dh — Sorry it was such a disaster! I think you will definitely enjoy it more with a Meyer. And yes, a comment filing system would be wonderful — perhaps one day, the technology will catch up.

  62. housecooling

    How about if we type REVIEW in front of a comment that is actually a review of the recipe? Doesn’t break netiquette rules by typing the entire post in all-caps, as some have suggested, and might make it easier to scan the longer entries. Just a thought–I think it might catch on, as regular readers/commnters can set the tone.

  63. I made this last night and I’ve decided this recipe is seriously dangerous–because I have to resist the urge to eat all of this myself, straight out of the pan. I’m taking all of my slices so I can’t eat it alone!

    I also had some bubbling over when I baked, but the final product still tasted great.

    thank you so much for sharing!

  64. Nancy

    It was fabulous and recieved rave reviews. Thank you.

    I however am my own greatest critic. I’m not sure if I undercooked it, needed to refrigerate first, or add extra cornstarch to compensate for the lemon slices because the tart was runny. Also, I found the filling a little grainy from the sugar. Is this normal?
    I am thinking about trying confectioners sugar next time. Any thoughts?
    ( BTW- Lemon slices were a big hit– tasted just like candied lemon rinds.)

  65. Tana

    Hi Deb. I made the tart today and it looks beautiful (dinner party dessert – taste to be determined) but when I lifted it out of the tart pan it was dripping with excess butter. Did I do something wrong? I’m thinking perhaps I didn’t cook the shell long enough. Thoughts?

  66. Andrea

    My tart did exactly the same thing as Aurora’s – bubbled up at the sides (I was using small Meyer lemons and weighed them to be sure I had the right amount, so it wasn’t too much filling). I took it out of the oven when this started happening (after 15 mins at 350) but it was a bit underbaked – the filling was softer/runnier than I would have liked. It was a big hit nonetheless but next time I think I’ll bake it at a slightly lower temp to try and keep it in for longer.

    I suspect I could have overwhisked the filling too so will try adjusting that.

    Thanks so much Deb for another great recipe!

  67. deb

    Bummed to hear that so many are coming out underbaked and or overflowing. I’ll update the recipe to note that people should definitely not use all of the filling if it brings it up to the brim (with my no-shrink tart shell, I never had an issue with having too much volume…) and to bake it until it is clearly set.

  68. Nicole

    Deb I made this for an engagement party for my college roommate last night (okay one thing of many things) and it was very well received. Thanks! I paired it with some pureed raspberries that were a nice tart contrast. It was tasty and pretty!

  69. Deb, your tart looks great. I fell in love with this tart the instant I tasted it in Paris and was thrilled to discover that it was so easy to make at home and, as you point out, so easy to make on the spur of the moment because the ingredients are basic.

  70. @Aurora: I used one blood orange whole (everything), it was around 10 oz and I didn’t change the sugar amount. It worked perfect. The one time I used a small grapefruit it was definitely too bitter, blood organge (as is regular orange) was perfect.
    I didn’t have any underbaking or overflowing problems, btw.

  71. jen

    I made this. It was oh-so-easy and oh-so-amazing. My husband and I fought over it like greedy little children, and we just couldn’t believe that so much delicious, tart lemon flavor came from just that one little lemon. The tart shell was also perfect… I didn’t use a bit of tin foil and it still lived up to its unshrinkable title. AND while I’m gushing… as as 2st time commentor I should also say I’ve really enjoyed a number of your other recipes, but your PB Brownies with Choco Ganache and Peach Hand Pies really knocked my socks off. The Hand Pies in particular (although I used a different filling) had such perfect crust that I am unable to finds the words necessary to properly thank you.

  72. Connie

    This was fabulous. So easy (though a bit more of a time commitment if you make the tart shell the same day). A little bit grainy, but maybe I just didn’t process enough. I did have to bake it for about another 5 minutes or so beyond the recipe to avoid it being undercooked. The only change I’d make next time is to use a bit less sugar. Regardless, it was delicious. Great recipe, as usual – thanks!

  73. catty

    this was a great tart!

    i read all the reviews and held out for a meyer lemon, which i found at whole foods.
    i think next time i’ll use my blender instead of the food processor. all the lemon bits weren’t broken down enough and i had hunks of lemon in my tart. also, it was a tad sweet for me, so next time i’ll scale back on the sugar. I used the tart recipe suggested and it was absolutely delicious! half way through making the tart i had to run an emergency errand and left the tart mixture out on the counter. by the time i got back, a good half an hour later, i put the mixture in tart and baked it. no problem with bubbles or boiling over. i wonder if letting it sit out for awhile had anything to do with it. also, when i brought the tart out it was kinda greasy..but i guess that’s expected when you use that much butter..

  74. Juliana

    have I told you latley that you are a pregnant womans best friend?! I swear most of my cravings come off this site lol. I am totally diggin this as a dip or topping on nilla waffers during some good TV…or for a 3am snack when the hubbs is asleep lol. he bought me two lemons yesterday, one for me and one to share :)

  75. Man, I just made this tart and is was a DISASTER! It was sickeningly sweet, and ALL the butter came to the top until I had a big butter lake. Then the tart bubbled like mad, burnt on top, and then overflowed and set the fire alarm off. I’m usually a good cook. My husband says no-one can have a 100% success rate :(

    Um… I guess I was trying to make do with what I had, but here’s what I did: I used a GF graham cracker type crust in a smaller pastry shell (7″?). I had a bowl of egg yolks left over from making an angel food cake, so I used 1tbs egg yolks in place of the second yolk. I substituted sweet rice flour for corn starch (ran out, figured sweet rice does the same thing, might work?), and I was in too much of a hurry to let the butter cool so I put it right in warm.

    I’m planning in trying again after I get some corn-starch from the store. I really like the whole lemon idea, but I feel like this recipe could be improved. A lot of people seem to have remarked that their tarts didn’t set, and in pics from other blogs many tarts that “turned out” look a lot browner than Deb’s. Do you think maybe it should be cooked at a different temperature/time combo? Or is there a better way to get the tart to set so it doesn’t have to be cooked so long?

  76. Shannon P.

    Bravo on the crust recipe! It is completely fool-proof, as evidenced by mine turning out wonderfully despite the fact that I am crust-challenged!

    I had a couple problems with the tart filling:
    -I had to bake it for 35 min. after turning up the heat to set it, at which poing the top was getting darker than ideal.
    -I couldn’t find a meyer lemon at our local grocer, so used a regular lemon. While the flavor was good, there were small bitter bits throughout. Would this be solved by processing the lemon and sugar longer? I don’t mind the bitter, but think it would be better spread throughout. If I use the recipe again (because I love the simplicity and elegance of it!) I may zest the lemon, then remove the white part of the peel, the pith, and the seeds before adding the rest. Any other suggestions?

  77. Maggie

    I haven’t made this yet, but am wondering if those who found it too bitter could get around that problem by zesting the lemon, cutting off all the bitter white pith, and then putting the zest and lemon ‘meat’ into the processor with the sugar.

    Or does the white pith make some contribution to the jelling process when it bakes? I know the pith has a lot of pectin in it….

  78. I had a similar problem with this recipe, but I can’t blame anyone but myself. I made this in 4 5″ tart pans, and forgot to accordingly decrease the time. They were very brown, though not burned. They lacked the creaminess of a tart, but I think they were the best meyer lemon cookies I’ve ever had. The top bubbled over and carmelized, and the filling ran over the crust, creating a sandwich of meyer lemon with tart crust in between. They were fabulous with a little vanilla whipped cream!

  79. Well, darn me! I have read almost ALL of these comments on your amazingly easy Lemon Tart and almost without exception the respondents are saying, “Ooh! Wonderful recipe! Must try it! Ooh-ooh-ooh!”. And Becks, who DID try it – er, hello!? Did anyone ever tell you that recipes are to be FOLLOWED?

    Well, I am a bloke (yeah! that’s right!) and I tried it. Simple to bake, easy to take! I may well get lucky tonight as a result! SHE loved it too!

  80. Tanya

    Once I saw Meyer lemons in my grocery store, I was so looking forward to this tart. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for me at all.

    I followed the recipe exactly, but I had problems: 1) the tart shell shrank. The dough had rested for hours, the 9″ shell was frozen and had double-thick walls, I used the foil as directed, but when it came out of the oven the walls had slouched down almost half an inch, leaving almost no room for filling. 2) the filling didn’t cook up properly. As it cooked, all the butter rose to the surface. In the tart itself it ended up working out, since the filling was so shallow (couldn’t fill the tart very high because the sides shrank) that the butter spread out, but in the little ramekin of leftover filling the butter was at least 1/4″ deep on top. No idea what happened, but it looked awful. And again, I followed the instructions religiously, no changes or substitutions.

    Someone tell me what happened to ruin my tart!

  81. Kiyomi

    hahaha! I read your update a little too late! Though gooey this tart is certainly delious, and you tart crust is my far my favourite crust recipe ever.

  82. My filling bubbled over too. I used a 4.5 oz Meyer lemon and my crust didn’t shrink, so the volume wasn’t an issue. It also browned too much before really setting, which leads me to think it was a temperature problem with my oven and not the recipe.

    I have a convection oven which self-corrects temperatures by automatically lowering your temp input by 25 degrees, and it usually bakes beautifully, but maybe with a filling with this much sugar content that adjustment isn’t enough?

  83. Aubrey

    Mine also failed, and I was careful to not overfill, per the updated instructions. This tart is great in theory, but all the butter rose to the top and even after an additional ten minutes of baking, it just looked like butter simmering on the top of the tart. I finally took it out just to see what would happen, and the next day it looked ok, but had a terrible aftertaste. Maybe a Meyer lemon would have fixed this, but I was careful to remove the ends of the regular lemon I used. I chaulked my problems up to altitude (I live in Denver) but it looks like I’m not the only one with these problems. Bummer.

  84. deb

    So sad to hear it is not working out for people! I’ve made the three times, and as you can see from the pictures, find it to be a delight, and easy to make.

  85. leonine

    It turned out GREAT for me; it was absolutely delicious, and I loved the texture of the filling. It poofed up as it cooked, and it did take longer than I thought, but no pools of butter, and no overflowing. I made it in a smaller tin (8 inches?), so now have leftover (as yet uncooked) filling in the fridge. Any way I could bake it, or should I just let it go?

  86. I made this last weekend. SOOOOOOO good! I used two meyer lemons (they were kind of small), and it was perfect. However, I cooked the tart for 13 minutes before checking it, and the crust was pretty dark. Should I have “partially” baked it for a shorter time? Or should I just check it earlier and cover it with foil?

  87. Mojo Riley

    Sorry to be a bummer, but this recipe was an epic failure for me, and I am a decent cook who has always had good luck with pastries and such. I followed the recipe to a T. After I prebaked the crust, it looked just fine, and I was really looking forward to the final result (I *adore* lemon tart). Unfortunately, after cranking the oven up and cooking for the final stretch, I found that the top was a greasy swimming pool of butter and had begun to turn brown, but was not close to be being set. I left it in for another 10 minutes (checking every 3 minutes or so) and it was still not even close to being set. After yet another five minutes, I had a blackened, charred crust, and an oily, unset, yet brown filling. It went right in the trash. Thanks anyway- the pictures were lovely, but I wish I’d done my due diligence and read through the comments before wasting ingredients.

  88. Sandra J.

    I also had similar problems. Crust and filling alike. But at it made a tasty, butter- separated mess. Maybe I should have used a tart pan instead or a pie plate? How much of a difference does that make?

  89. Caroline

    I wish I’d read the latest comments before making this, as this recipe was rife with problems. I had to bake the tart twice as long to get the filling to set, and by then the crust sides were dark and the filling was an unattractive browinsh-yellow color. Moreover, the butter had separated and pooled on the top (yuck). Finally, the flavor was unpleasantly bitter, most likely a result of using the whole lemon (unlike the rest of the food blogging world, I have never seen a Meyer lemon and have no idea where I would find one). I tried the filling before it went in the oven and it tasted fine, so some heat-induced process must have caused the bitterness to come out.I would have thrown it out but one of my roommates liked it.

  90. Heidi

    I’m sorry to join the parade of disappointed bakers, but the tart’s failed me twice now, too. Both times the crust has held its shape but turns out dense and too dry. I found the filling too bitter with a regular lemon on attempt #1 so the second time I used a Meyer, which did help (my Whole Foods was out, but Trader Joe’s carries them, too). I’ve had the same issues as many writers with the butter lake and taking at least an hour for the filling to set. There has to be some explanation for why so many good bakers are having such similarly poor outcomes with this recipe…right?

  91. deb

    Hey all — Such a bummer so many of you are having trouble. I added a warning at the end of the recipe. For the life of me, I cannot understand why something I’ve made three times, precisely as it is written here is turning out so differently for so many people, but at least future readers will be warned that not everyone is having a successful run with this. And it comes from such a great restaurant via such a well-tested Dorie Greenspan book! Le sigh…

  92. I’m actually here saying that while I didn’t follow the recipe precisely (since I did a little fiddling and used grapefruit instead of lemon) the tart crust turned out perfectly and my tart filling (which was pretty close to what was here) turned out beautifully. It did take a while to set, but I wasn’t in a hurry and didn’t even check it for two hours. By that time it was perfect. And I agree that it is wonderful served cold. So very good.

    Is it possible that it’s just a problem with variety in ovens and variety in ingredients? No two lemons are alike, right? :-)

  93. Mojo Riley

    I just wanted to update to say that I attempted the tart crust again today with the “citrus tart” filling recipe from epicurious. The crust was truly wonderful, and I had no problems at all with shrinking. It was tasty, crunchy, and a perfect golden brown color. Your tart crust recipe will definitely go in my bookmarks- thanks! If anyone is looking for an alternative filling, try the one on epicurious- it was divine!

  94. Soozzie

    Sounds terrific. Here on Maui we have guests coming, a meyer tree, and I have two pink lilikoi (passion fruit)in the fridge. I’m going to try the tart with a hint of passion fruit….

  95. Could all the variations in the lemon tart results be due to the fact that lemons come in different sizes, some with more pulp and others with more rind? Just a thought…

    One question about the crust. I have been making Dorie’s almond-cream filling and topping it with fruit (red raspberries once, nectarines today), but it is this unshrinkable crust recipe that is giving me fits. It’s delicious, but I have a horrific time with the edges burning. I have set the springform pan (I don’t have a tart pan—could this be the problem?) on a cookie sheet and also wrapped the springform pan in foil. Still, it continues to turn out too dark. Any ideas???

    Thanks!
    -JJ

  96. Hello,
    Wanted to take a moment and say that I made “your” tart on Monday & it only lasted until Tuesday afternoon because it wasn’t done until after the kids had gone to bed. I used a meyer lemon for the filling. I did find the tart shell recipe confusing but it didn’t shrink, I also overfilled it but luckily it didn’t overflow. My crust was also a bit too thick but that’s because I didn’t roll it out, I patted it into my 14×5 rectangular tart pan and then popped it into the freezer before filling it. Overall I’m very happy with my first time at making a tart & a homemade crust.
    Thank you!
    ~ingrid

  97. It worked for me! The filling does have a touch of bitterness to it, but I thought it was pretty delicious. I did make mine in an 11-in tart pan, and I did not up the filling at all. I love the unshrinkable tart crust! I multiplied the ingredients by 1.5 for my 11-in tin, and it created a tasty, substantial crust that pair nicely with the tart/bitter filling.

  98. Hmm. Count me as another disaster. It’s quite unfortunate, too, because I had to restrain myself from licking the bowl of the food processor (it tasted just like a lemon drop. Yum! Lemon + Sugar = delish!). Unfortunately, it started to brown evenly in the center, but then bit by bit, the liquidy-bubbly part around the edge grew inward until I was left with an inch of liquid mixed with brown flecks on top, and a soggy curdled mess below. So sad! I love lemon tarts!

    I think I was very careful to follow the directions exactly, but I may have to try again, just to make sure I didn’t mess anything up. I kind of wonder if maybe the temp needs to be adjusted, because it seems that it was just before the 2nd 15-minute mark that it was looking closest to what I would have expected it to look like. The longer it went after that, the worse it got. So maybe it needs to be lower and slower? Or maybe higher/faster? I don’t know, but I think the flavor profile of the bitter lemon and sweet sugar was almost exactly right for me, so I will be trying again.

  99. Chris

    I MADE THE TART FOR VDAY AND IT WAS DELICIOUS! Deb, I’m new to your site and so happy to have found it. My crust didn’t shrink–what a find! And I was lazy and just just pressed it into the pan.

    I did have a little butter leakage but I think I figured out why–I didn’t carefully read the tart recipe and failed to notice that even for the partially baked version, you’re supposed to put it back in the oven for 5 minutes. So I think I leaked because the bottom of the tart wasn’t as crispy as it should have been. Also, my crust was cooled but due to time constraints not totally completely room temp.

    Also I couldn’t find a Meyer lemon but to avoid bitterness I didn’t use the end slices of a regular lemon that had a lot of pith. I replaced them with center slices from another lemon and my filling wasn’t bitter at all. If anything, I’d cut down on the sugar next time.

    I also really love this recipe because you get great lemon flavor without lemon curd–which my husband isn’t too crazy about (he’s not keen on the egginess of it). Thanks again!

  100. this crust is incredible — my first ever sweet tart crust (as compared to a pie crust). made this with a regular lemon, instead of a meyer, and the tartness balanced the sweet crust perfectly. i may have eaten the last few slices of this as breakfasts last week…

  101. CW

    This was my first attempt at pastry (I made the dough from scratch b/c I couldn’t find a pre-baked shell), and it came out just fine–I might cut the butter a little, but great overall. Thanks for the recipe!

  102. Judy

    I made this yesterday and it was fantastic to say the least! I loved the tangy flavor of the lemon peel which is normally missing when using lemon juice alone. Now I want to experiment with this “whole lemon” process in a cake and icing. I’ve tried so many of your recipes since I discovered your blog and have yet to be disappointed. I don’t know how you find the time to do all that you do, but keep it up!

  103. Judy

    I just noticed from looking at the pictures of your tart shell that I forgot to pierce the crust with a fork before baking and it still came out perfect. The recipe for the tart crust is definitely a keeper.

  104. Sharon

    I made this over the weekend, and had no problems. I used a meyer lemon, and it was a little sweet, but I like a stronger lemon tart. I checked on it after 35 minutes in the oven, and it looked like the butter had come to the top. Another 10 minutes and it was perfect. That said, I much prefer either Inas lemon bars, her lemon curd tart, or Dorie’s lemon cream tart. Just a matter of consistency and personal preference. I wonder if the posters who had a problem with the butter coming to the top needed to bake the tart longer, or if they used melted but not cooled butter. Just a theory

  105. I made vegan mini-tart versions of this with Meyer lemon and they came out amazing! You weren’t kidding about that tart dough—it was my first time making a tart of any kind and I was absolutely thrilled with this, warm out of the oven, as the end of our Valentine’s Day meal.

  106. Lynn

    For Valentines, I made this scrumptious lemon tart for my boyfriend, using lemons from my eureka lemon tree, we both loved it! I doubled the recipe and made a few little tarts along with one large. I was a little nervous about cook times for the little tarts, but I kept my eye’s on them. The regular cooking time worked just fine. BTW, this was my first attempt at tart making.
    I prefer eating the tart chilled the next day. Feeling just a little, the texture of the whole lemon was unique . So far though, the lemon bar recipe Deb published (Jan 7, 2008) is my favorite.

  107. therese

    Hello, made it last night and it took a lot longer go bake. It was really easy tho. But used a ‘normal’ lemon and I think that is a mistake. I got a bitter aftertaste as well. If Meyer lemons aren’t around, I wonder if a peeled lemon or two peeled ones would do the trick? That can’t be hard. I may make that and post my results.

  108. K

    I hate to add to the naysayers, and I hope you know, Deb, that one non-perfect recipe doesn’t mean that this isn’t my absolute favorite food site on all the internets (really really), but this one is going in the no pile, unfortunately.

    I used a regular, smallish lemon but trimmed out some of the pith and added an extra tsp of sugar just for good measure. Bitter, major bad aftertaste like other posters have mentioned. It had a texture that was chewy in some places and like a sour creme brulee in others.

    BUT! All is not lost. This was my first time making the Great Unshrinkable Tart Shell and it came out great. Will definitely make it again and fill it with other kinds of yumminess.

  109. DebitNM

    Sorry! Just realized I posted the Q on the page with the tart shell recipe. If anyone on here knows how to adapt tart shell for high altitude, I would appreciate it.

  110. anna

    I had bought a meyer lemon with the sole purpose of making this tart, life got away from me and next thing I knew the lemon was going soft and I had the stomach flu :( However, being the martyr that I am, I made it anyway, and somehow, between under-baking the crust, cutting myself while slicing the lemon and my boyfriend not having the right sized baking sheet and therefore my spilling 1/3 of the filling onto the bottom of the oven, it turned out fabulously. and it was the only thing I could keep down yesterday! So thank you Deb, for the miraculous stomach-flu proof lemon tart :)

  111. Emily

    This tart looks great, but I’m a little confused by one thing. If I wanted to use a Meyer lemon, wouldn’t I need more than one because they’re smaller than a normal lemon?

  112. DebitNM

    I was not happy with my results. I had to cook it longer at the higher temp and it still didn’t not set up properly. There was butter on top, but not huge pools of it. It did set a bit more as it cooled.

    I didn’t care for the taste, it was sweet when you first put a bit in your mouth and then I was left with a bitter aftertaste after each bite.

    I had brought 6 meyer lemons back from my recent trip to San Francisco and have been searching for the best recipes to make with my bounty. I am glad I only used 1 here. It wasn’t the lemons, because I made a pasta with Meyer Lemon sauce also and it was excellent.

    The crust was very tasty, will try it with a different filling.

  113. deb

    Emily — There is a weight suggestion for your lemon — 4.5 ounces. Whatever kind of lemon you use, you’re looking for that weight. If one is bigger, it can be trimmed down.

  114. I made this on Saturday and I too had some problems with the filling. I have a question – the picture you have above of your food processor – is that just the lemon and the sugar? Because my mixture was pretty granulated. Less juicy lemon perhaps? I’m wondering if because my mixture was thicker I had a problem with the bubbling as and the overflow – due to the sugar fully dissolving in the oven versus in the mixing bowl? Or something?

    It tasted fantastic though. Yum. And I’ll definitely be using the tart shell again.

  115. deb

    I don’t remember, but I believe it was all of the filling ingredients. I get the lemon and sugar as smooth as possible before — I may have used it to beat in the egg and butter as well. I wonder if this is why I have never had a separation issue, and others have, as I am still perplexed as to why others are getting entirely different results from my perfect ones. [I will update.]

    I updated a few weeks ago with a note to make sure you leave room on the top for bubbling, though once again, this has never been a major issue for me.

  116. I finally made this, and was a bit worried about the outcome because I had to make some changes to make this gluten free. I used Pamela’s GF lemon shortbread + butter as my crust. (It tastes like a graham cracker crust after it’s baked.) Just pulsed in the food proc until doughy and smashed into the pie plate. Baked about 25 – 30 min…until pretty crispy.

    Everything else, meyer lemon, sugar, cornstarch, egg + yolk and melted butter into food proc. It whirled around in there a good while, once as I was mixing it up and then again before I put it into the crust. (Crust took a while to cool.) Baked exactly as directed. 20 min at 325, then 20 at 350. worked perfectly, even with modifications. The top of the pie / tart made a beautiful crispy / sugary, almost caramelized sugar-type crust on the top. OMG…so good.

    Boys will be home from school in 30 minutes….let’s see how long this lasts. My bet…gone before tomorrow.

  117. Deb, this tart was delish!
    Key word being was.
    And it only came out of the oven, well, lets just say less than 4 hours ago.
    And in hind-sight I did all sorts of things wrong.
    I’ll be trying this again.

    My tart certainly wasn’t as good lookin as yours, but for my first attempt we all ate it up. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  118. zahava

    I noticed a comment from someone about the “pink grapefruit idea”. Could you tell me what that is? Can this tart be made with a pink grapefruit?

    1. deb

      Hi Georgia — It looks quite soft and a little underbaked. (Unless you sliced it while it was still warm, but still — it is much softer than mine comes out.) Some earlier commenters noted that when they baked it longer, the butter separation issue disappeared.

  119. Holly

    I made this today and was very pleased with the results. Mine did bubble, but did not overflow my tart pan. I probably could have baked it 5 more minutes but it was nicely set up by the time it was room temp. This is the first time I’ve made a tart, and am happy it was a success. (So are the friends who helped me eat it!)

  120. Fran

    I tried both the tart crust and the lemon filling. The crust was wonderful and the filling was bitter. I am sorry I did not peel (regular California lemon) some of the lemon skin away and add some bottled zest.

    I am going to try the tart with other fruit fillings and some glazes that I have on file.

    Nothing ventured nothing learned.

  121. Heather

    I made this with a regular lemon and it turned out perfectly, and oh-so-delicious, tart and sweet and so welcome in gray February. I especially enjoyed heating up the second day’s slices in the microwave: warm summery delight! I’ll be making it again this week with a Meyer lemon.

  122. Adina

    I made this yesterday, using about 1.5 Meyer lemons, and it’s the most delicious thing ever! Thank you for giving the expected weight of a medium lemon, because that let me weigh mine and use that to decide how much to use. That filling is so, so good–I was tempted to just eat it plain instead of putting it in the tart shell.

  123. Alice B

    I made this yesterday, also, and it turned out very very well. I have an 11″ tart pan, so I used that, and I had a little leftover filling which I cooked up in a ramekin. Don’t get Meyer lemons here in rural Nova Scotia, so I used a regular lemon. The only thing I’d alter for next time (& yes indeedy there will be more of these tarts made!) is to roll out the dough instead of just pressing it in.

    The perfect dessert for a cold sleety winter’s night (and now, day).

  124. i got a huge stock of kumquats. Maybe i can use them in the recipe? this oughta solve the peel problem? does it need juice? i can add 1 lemon worth of juice… what do you’all think???

  125. I am planning to use pre-baked tart shells with this lemon recipe. But my tart shells are rather small.. how much time should I reduce from the original recipe?

  126. Mmm – I quite liked this – it’s like a really good lemon square. I used a Meyer, and I would probably use less sugar next time, and maybe two whole eggs. But it’s pretty wonderful.

  127. What a disaster. My great unshrinkable crust shrunk badly, so I overfilled my tiny crust. Of course, it overflowed. I could have lived with all of that. But the pie has a foul bitter aftertaste from the lemon rind. It ruins the whole thing and leaves you with an awful taste in your mouth for a long time, similar to the taste Lunesta gives you, if anyone has ever taken that. I’m so disappointed.

  128. I just made this lemon tart today for the second time. It’s wonderful! Be careful if mixing in the egg, cornstarch and butter with the food processor or blender. My tart overflowed a little this time because beating it with the food processor added too much air. It just billowed over the sides this time. But the good news is that it still tastes marvelous!

  129. Lauren

    Ohhhhhh I made this last night and it was fairly disastrous. I could have cried. I’ve just bought a set of American measuring cups, which open up a whole new world of US-origin recipes to me (I live in the UK), and this looked like a lovely place to start. It was, however, weirdly greasy and the filling just wasn’t quite right, but I’ll persevere. I only found your beautiful website yesterday and have since read pretty much every recipe and am not going to let the lemon-meltdown put me off…

  130. kate

    Yummm, I have made two of these in the last week. The filling was perfect. Such a great balance of sweet and tart. My crust recipe needs some work . The second crust was better. The whole parbaked thing is new to me. I think next time (how long can I wait?!? ) I will try the crust recipe you recommend on your site and then a graham cracker crust. I have a new favorite dessert…right up there with lemon merigue pie…I should just buy a lemon tree…maybe a dwarf tree…

  131. Tiffany

    The first time I tried it, it came out near-perfect. I didn’t cook it quite long enough to set, and so it was a bit runny, and yes, a little buttery too. Sadly, my second attempt hasn’t gone as well – the filling puffed up and the top caramelized into a thin, brown crust. Tasty, but not a beautiful lemon yellow! What went wrong? This is what I did:
    1) I used a mix of regular granulated sugar (3/4 c) , Powder sugar (1/4 c), and 1/2 c raw can sugar.
    2) I mixed the cornstarch, eggs and softened butter with the lemon-sugar mixture in the food processor. I did notice that the mixture this time looked a paler lemon-yellow and seemed stiffer, but I attributed that to using a Meyer instead of the regular.
    Was it the not-melted but softened butter? mixing with a food processor? or the multiple types of sugar?

  132. Ruby

    Made 24 mini lemon tarts with this recipe and while the taste is fantastic – I used one whole meyer lemon and made up the rest of the weight with a regular lemon – the results were very inconsistent. Even within the same batch, 3 would come out perfectly, puffed and pale yellow while 3 would be absolute disasters, having the appearance of sunken craters. BUT… nothing a healthy dose of icing sugar didn’t cure:)
    My question is now that I have a lot of filling left over, could I use this to make lemon bars or do you think the filling is too soft to hold up to being crustless on the sides?

  133. kate

    This is Kate from #213. I made it again. Twice. The latest one, I forgot to turn up the oven from 325 to 350. It looked beautiful going into the oven, but the butter floated up to the top during baking. When I took it out I used a spoon to stir the filling and it cooled just fine. It was still separated near the crust where I didn’t stir…but it tasted wonderful. FYI…if you’ve had problems with separating, I would suggest turning up your oven just a tad…

  134. Jenn

    I just finished eating a piece of this, and it was great. I used a regular lemon and actually found it a bit on the sweet side – no trace of bitterness at all. I baked it for 20 minutes after turning the temperature up to 350, and when I took it out I panicked a little because it appeared that the butter had floated to the top and I wasn’t really sure if it was set. I would say it looked as set as cheesecake is supposed to be when you take it out, i.e. still a bit jiggly, but there was a more liquid-y top layer that freaked me out a bit. I made myself leave it alone on the counter for 10 minutes, and when I came back, it had set perfectly. Oh, and this was my third time with this tart shell recipe, and the first time I have worked up the courage to roll it out instead of patting it and to bake it without weights… and guess what, it rolled out perfectly and didn’t shrink! Amazing!! I probably had around 1/2 cup of extra filling despite my tart shell not shrinking, but maybe it was because I was scared to fill the shell all the way after reading about other people’s tarts bubbling over.

  135. Ashley

    This was SO GOOD and super easy. I’m a little afraid of baking pie crusts and tart shells from scratch but this was very easy. I used the nonshrinking tart shell (mind did a little bit and it cracked but I don’t think I made the sides thick enough) and it was awesome, even though it cracked. The tart itself is very tart, which I like since I think desserts are too frequently sickly sweet. I made it for Easter and my whole family loved it. I did have to cook the tart longer than 20 minutes (about 35-40 minutes) but my oven has a mind of its own when it comes to baking. Will DEFINITELY make again and I’m trying to perfect the tart shell again soon. EXCELLENT recipe!

  136. Emily

    I just made it, and oh my GAH was it bitter! However, the tart shell came out lovely, and didn’t shrink at all. And best of all, I just coated a 9-inch cake pan with aluminum foil, and baked the crust in that, so the whole thing came out super-easy and i didn’t even have to buy a tart pan! Also, my filling didn’t bubble over but it did take at least 15 minutes longer to bake, and even still it was reeeally wiggly. I cut out about 2 tablespoons of butter from the filling so i didn’t have any floating on top like some of the other commenters. If anyone out there doesn’t like bitter or, like me, is used to sweet stuff, definitely hold out for a meyer lemon because this tart… oh my GAH!

  137. Meilin

    Please excuse the geeking…

    I made this 2 days ago using 1 Meyer (~135 gm) with a different tart crust and filling worked out fine. It had a mild but lovely floral/orangey flavor and set up without issues. Yummy!

    But the point of this entry is that it wasn’t until AFTER I made mine did I read all the comments and noticed all the sad cases of oozing butter.

    So I did a little research in O’Corriher’s book “Cookwise” and found some reasons why the butter might separate. It sounds a bit like the butter is separating because the proteins in the eggs are coagulating too much and squeezing out the butter. This jives with at least one comment where the longer they cooked it, the more butter pooled out. Things that make the proteins coagulate faster are: acid, heat. Things that make the proteins coagulate SLOWER are (most) starches, including flour, cornstarch, arrowroot, tapioca, potato starch. So if you made this with a regular lemon *and* your oven ran a teeny bit hot, that might be the reason that your tart filling oozes butter. Or if you skipped the cornstarch that could be the problem too.

    Other factors: this recipe seems to have much more butter than my normal lemon bars recipe. This might taste better but maybe the issue is that there’s not enough eggs to coagulate the butter. The book says at least 1 egg per cup of milk (or 2 egg yolks) is the minimum and that makes a very soft gel. So maybe for this recipe it would be more reliable with an extra yolk or even a whole egg.

  138. I just made this and it turned out beautifully!

    I did follow your lead and use the food processor for the entire mixing process. I added the butter in a slow continuous stream (almost like making a mayonnaise) and I had absolutely no problems with separation.

    I wonder if using the food processor for everything vs. mixing the butter in by hand makes a difference?

  139. Stacey

    Deb,

    I have been reading this site for quite a while now, and have had a lot of success with previous recipes. I tried making a test tart before making it for a birthday treat this weekend, and while the Great Unshrinkable Tart Shell worked amazingly, the filling did not. I was prepared for this outcome (based on some of the comments), but what I wasn’t prepared for was what specifically went wrong.

    It was way, way too sweet. I used a plain, organic lemon (meyer was not available) weighed out to 4 oz, and a slice of an orange to make up the extra .5 oz. I thought that it would help keep it from being too bitter, but boy was I wrong! I weighed out all the ingredients on a digital scale, but the final result was extremely sugary. I did the entire process in a food processor as well.

    I have never thought to comment before, as the recipes have always, always yielded wonderful results, but just in case anyone else was thinking of tinkering with the recipe, I thought I’d issue a warning!

    Stacey

    p.s. – Again, I love the tart shell, it’s fantastic!

  140. Meg

    First off- Deb, thank you for a beautiful, first-rate site. I’ll be a frequent visitor from now on!
    I made the lemon tart today for my Dad’s birthday- lemon is his favorite. I had great success with the unshrinkable crust (fab!). The filling was not quite as wonderful. I am a pretty decent baker, and still can’t figure out why only 1 (I like butter) stick of butter would have caused SO MUCH pooling, but it did. I did nothing quirky with the filling, just a nice whisk, and BAM– am a veteran butter user in most all recipes- and have never seen such a lake of butter atop a crust. I left it in the oven (covered in foil so as not to char!!) , and nothing came of it. Thankfully, I found a meyer lemon at Whole Foods, and am hoping that the butter debacle will only be a visual distraction and not affect the taste of the finished product.
    Why oh why the many butter-pooling problems??
    Thank you though, for such a beautifully presented lemon tart recipe.

  141. Michelle

    When I saw meyer lemons last week at the store I couldn’t wait to try this tart. With all the mised reviews….I was up for the challenge…..but prepared if it was less then stellar. Well…let me tell you….Wonderful!!! is all I can say. The crust was amazing and the tart so easy….cannot believe all that deliciousness was from one …..one….meyer lemon….and a lot of butter. I followed your recommendation and just mixed everything in the food processor. Wonderfully easy, delicious tart. Thank you….I am throughly enjoying your website.

  142. Viola

    couldn’t find meyer lemons down under in australia at the moment…
    but tried the tart anyway with a regular lemon..
    i also used less sugar as i like the tart and bitterness..

    although my tart didn’t boil over.. (i made sure i didnt overfill it.. :) )
    the tart turned out ugly!! – all lumpy and full of pimples all over the surface!!
    everyone thought the tart base was too greasy and i thought the filling itself was also too greasy..

    mm..think i’d stick with your awesome lemon bars instead next time for my citrus fix…

  143. Daphne

    Mine is in the oven on its last 3 mins run…. so far… no bubbling over and looking good… but the crust did shrink more on one end than the other… hence… that explains why i am tilting the whole pan to one side… lol… First timer with crust, pie, lemon filling and all….. lets see how it goes from here..

  144. Christina

    My crust also shrank a little on one side, but I barely left it in the freezer for the 30 minutes so I’m figuring that’s why.

    After all the failed tarts, I was so curious to see if this would turn out for me and it did! No explosions, no butter lakes (although I did cut back on the butter by a tablespoon just in case). It jelled up perfectly within the given cooking time. I used a regular lemon but it *barely* had any pith – I probably should have cut back the sugar a little but I didn’t and my mom said it was too sweet (it tasted like a lollipop – how could that be bad?!). I loved the bright flavor that came with using the whole lemon, and it’s wonderful to have a recipe that calls for ingredients I already have at home. Thank you!

  145. Flavia

    Thanks!…this Tart brought back some nice memories…I made it last night it was a big hit…I agree with the über-sweetness..I was glad I only used 1/2 cup of sugar and since the meyer lemon was very sweet I could have used even less… also the pastry shell in itself is very sweet already..
    regarding the problem with the butter “lake” on the tart (not me)… are people using a bottom removable pan? (like the one pictured above) I think it’s essential to do so since I noticed a lot of butter leaking out of the pan ..glad I had alu and a baking sheet under it…I will try with less butter next time…

  146. Lauren (UK)

    Has anyone had any luck adapting this tart to be a little dairy-er, i.e. adding cream or creme fraiche or using the whole-lemon technique but beating the resulting pulp into a custard? I know I could go and find a recipe for a specifically creamy lemon tart filling, but I love the simplicity of blitzing this in the blender and think it could work well with a slightly creamier filling. Any input much appreciated!

  147. Kristin T.

    I tried this last week and it came out ok. Definitely not the knock-my-socks off experience that I usually have with recipes on this site. My tart dough shrunk (probably my fault), which meant that I only ended up able to use about half the filling. After baking, I didn’t get the pool of butter that a lot of people described, but I think this may have been just because I didn’t use all the filling. The tart was greasy — not gross, but off-putting enough that I don’t want to make it again. The flavor was excellent, though (I used a Meyer lemon).

  148. AFoodie

    I tried to make this recipe recently for a large dinner party — and it turned out to be a big BITTER disappointment. Almost unedible. I followed the instructions exactly, and used beautiful Meyer lemons, fresh local farm eggs, organic ingredients. But it was completely BITTER. Not just tart. I like tart, I even like many bitter foods. But this was over bitter. Unfortunately, all that hard work and fine ingredients went to waste.

    I suspect it was because the pith is included in this recipe. Next time, I’ll stick to those that use only the juice, peel, or both. But no pith.

    Bummer. I usually really enjoy the recipes on this website, and find that your opinions are usually spot on.

    Thanks anyways :-(

    Kristin — I have the shrinking problem with the tart dough — try making the walls of the tart extra tall before baking.

  149. Frances

    I made this today and it turned out almost as well as yours! I blended everything in the food processor and used a Myer lemon. For those having trouble, I really think not filling up the tart shell all the way and allowing the tart to set are key in getting a good tart. It was great and my parents loved it, so I will be making it again.

  150. I just took a bite of mine . . . still making up my mind about it . . . it has a (small) sea of butter on top, and bubbled over while cooking so the edges are weirdly chewy/caramelized. The lemon filling is also a much deeper yellow, almost brown. (Maybe because I baked it at a lower temperature, 305 to start and then 335, thinking this would prevent said bubbling/lakeing.) And it took almost an hour before I dared take it out of the oven. Any event, doesn’t sound like the heavenly tart you made.

  151. I was wondering, if I only have lemon juice (I juiced all my meyer lemons and froze the juice this year), what measurement should I use for that? Given that the pith and zest all have non-liquid bulk to them, I don’t think it would be a straight 4.5oz of juice, but I’m not sure how much it would be or how else I could make this. I like that this tart is baked rather than the shell being baked and filled with lemon curd as are a lot of the ones I’ve seen.

  152. I baked this last night and mine turned out very similar to Natalie’s (comment 235) – darker yellow/brown filling with a chewy edge. Personally, I think the edge is delicious – sort of like lemon caramel. After reading the comments about butter bubbling problems, I put the tart in at 350 (the temperature I used to blind bake the tart crust), then immediately turned it to 300 for over an hour. I got impatient and turned it up to 315 for another 20 minutes or so and the butter had just started to bubble up and pool on the top when I took it out. So, again, not like the tart you describe, but pretty delicious in its own right. Mmm, lemon caramel…

  153. Jennie

    Baked this over the weekend and it was wonderful. My guests loved it. My 5 year old daughter loved it. And it came out perfectly — probably because my oven runs cool, and I made sure not to fill the tart to the top. And the tart shell didn’t shrink at all. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  154. Jen

    I made this tart twice, once for New Years and one today. The one for New Years was perfect! Just like in your pictures.

    The one today had a sadder ending, for some reason I got this brown-ish white crispy layer on top, kind of reminded me of a meringue. Maybe I over beat my eggs? Luckily it was still edible. I plan on making this again since I have an abundance of fresh home grown Meyer lemons

  155. MissAna

    Okay so I made this tart. Let me preface this by saying that what came out of the oven tasted very good. However, mid way through searching for my tart pan I discovered that I had lent it to a friend who was on vacation. I had already made the filling and so I used a glass cake pan (square).

    I used a pre-made crust and sprinkled it wish sugar, pre-baking it off. The filling, made to the specifications listed here was a bit thin but still looked good.

    When I took this out, some of the filling had seeped into the bottom of the pan, the crust looked a little burnt and there was a crust that formed over the top which looked like a thin film of sugar – but even WITH all of these things – it’s delicious.

    Next time, however, tart pan and freshly made crust.

  156. Tiny Kitchen

    Thinking about the separation/bubbling over issue… What about cooking the lemon custard ingredients in a pan on the stovetop and stirring until set, then pouring into the tart shell, sprinkling very lightly with sugar to encourage browning (not so much sugar that it becomes lemon creme brulee) and baking at a higher temp (say, 375-400) until brown? Would that work?

  157. Robin

    I’m very sad to say that this didn’t work for me either, and my oven does run cool. The tart crust did shrink on one side, but I didn’t mind that so much. And the filling overflowed (I didn’t use all of it) but event that was okay. But it took well over an hour to set, and when I took it out it still wasn’t completely set, but it got really brown and hard on parts of the top and the crust was starting to burn. But I didn’t get any separation of the butter, so that’s a plus! Oh well. I knew I might have problems with it when I started, but I’m glad I tried anyway.

  158. this tasted amazing, but it it only set about 80% the center never set completely and that was after being in the oven for over 40 minutes. I’ll have to try it again to see what i did wrong.

  159. Erica

    Made this last week and it was DELICIOUS – I was at my friends house and I made a point of keeping the temps low (310 instead of 325, 330 instead of 350) and I didn’t have any issue with separation, but I DID get that crusty whitish-brown thing on the top like Jen (#240)… tasted just fine, but was definitely not nice and pretty. Will try it in my oven (which runs cool) and see how it goes…

  160. tina

    First comment (eek!) and it’s a question. Say I wanted to use the tart shell from your easy jam tart (which I made the other day and it was an absolute hit with my coworkers, hence the desire to reprise the shell), do I need to parbake it? If so, how hot/long? I’m worried the “wetter” filling will make the shell soggy. Love the site! You are really and truly an inspiration : D

  161. Made this tonight and was a bit apprehensive about whether it would work out, but it did (wonderfully!)! I made the pastry as well that you recommended! I took care to make sure it would set – I used 2 whole eggs instead of the one plus one yolk. I also doubled the amount of cornstarch and turned my oven down a little and kept an eye on it in the oven. It set just fine. With the lemons, I used two smallish regular lemons, peeled the zest off both and removed all white pith to avoid over-bitterness, and followed your recipe. I used just one cup of sugar too, as I like a more zingy lemon tart, rather than really sweet.

    I am yet to taste it though, I’m bringing it to a BBQ tomorrow! I’m also making your Cauliflower & Caramelised onion tart to bring along. Very excited :)

  162. Amanda

    I made this a few months ago for the first time at a family dinner. It went down SO well that in the words of my Argentinian brother in law, he was left “sin palabras….” Such a great recipe, so easy to make and such a great balance between a sweet curd and the freshness of the whole lemon. Thanks Deb for making a Kiwi family very happy!

  163. ELISE

    Just made it and had the seperation/refusing to set situation. Any more info on how to fix it? What lower oven temperature would I choose??

  164. Deb – australia

    hi my names deborah too! :)
    anyways i really want to try out this tart, but i don’t have a 9 – inch pan, only four 4 inch ones, how long would you recommend me to bake the tarts if i made smaller ones? do you think they would still ‘work’

    btw love your blog! pictures look so great and also tasty

  165. Deb, I bought all the ingredients for this and am planning to try it tonight (adjusting the temperatures on my own) but I was wondering if you had any suggestions for how much lower a temperature I should do? I honestly have no idea if my oven runs hot or cold….it seems to run pretty normal? :) Thanks!

    1. deb

      I still haven’t gotten back to this. Babies and cookbooks, they mess up everything! :) I would go low, like 300. It will definitely take longer to bake, but if it is indeed the temperature that is the culprit, you’ll at least end up with a tart like the one you see above.

  166. adwoa

    i am so sad i just now saw this comment. i thought my oven ran normal – but just opened the oven to an exploded tart for christmas dinner. i’m so upset: i’ve never tried baking with lemon before and i’m so disappointed! i know it will probably be edible anyway, or so i hope, but i feel like i just ruined christmas :(

  167. Louisa O

    I have a lemon tart recipe that I love and I find very reliable. 1 lemon, 4 eggs, 1.5 cups Sugar, 1/2 cup butter and 1 tsp vanilla. Blend all the ingredients until smooth and then bake about 50 min. The texture is awesome and I’ve never had it overflow or separate — though it is meant to be eaten cool. I wonder if the extra eggs help, as was suggested in comment 220? Anyway, hooray for simple lemon tarts!

  168. Ana

    The tart didn’t separate or boil over but it took a lot longer to cook and still didn’t set fully, not sure why. I think the culprit was mainly the oven I was using, which wasn’t mine, and was schizophrenic in its temperature settings.

  169. Zoë

    How would this recipe adapt to a 4″x14″ rectangular tart pan? I’d like to try this recipe and cut it into 1″x4″ bars. Should I change any amounts or cooking times?

    1. deb

      Those tart pans usually hold only 3/4 of what 9-inch round tarts (48 versus 63.5) do, so you will have to scale up the recipe and watch for doneness.

  170. Deborah

    I just made this beautiful tart last night and it was absolutely delicious! Having read the notes and comments posted, and knowing my oven runs a bit hot, I decided to try cooking it for 20 mins at 300 and then for 20 mins at 325 (instead of starting at 325 and upping it to 350). It worked perfectly! Every oven is different, but those might be good temps to try for people having problems with the tart getting too hot.
    Thanks to Deb for yet another fabulous recipe.

  171. deb

    Hey hey, folks. I fixed it. I added a note detailing the changes up top, but in short: eggs! It needed more eggs. I’ve made it and it set like a dream. I hope that folks that once had trouble with this will go back and make it again. It is completely worth it. And I streamlined the directions too so it couldn’t be simpler. Just look!

  172. I made this last night and wanted to chime in with how it worked. I put it in at 300 and 325, and though it took longer to set, it turned out beautifully. An interesting note is that I put some extra filling in a ramekin alongside and it did boil over and separate, so I’m not sure if the problem could be temperature (because the ramekin is smaller, it heats up more?) or thickness of the filling (the filling was about 1 inch deep in the ramekin). Also, as I took it out, I happened to notice that it seemed to be just at the turning point where it could turn from beautiful to disaster. There were two small spots that were just starting to turn brown, bubble, and sink.

  173. Susan

    I’m glad you resolved the problem everyone was having with this pie. I love using the whole lemon the way they do in recipes I’ve seen for Amish or Shaker, Lemon Pie. This is very similar to a lemon chess pie recipe that I make from Cooks Country mag that is scrumptious as well. It uses 2Tbsp corn meal instead of corn starch, 5 whole eggs and only 3Tbsp of lemon juice and the peel of 1 lemon. The mixture sits for about 1/2 hour so the filling can soften the corn meal and disolve the sugar before being poured into the par baked shell. It doesn’t use the whole lemon, but it could and I will do that next time I make it..er..make this, instead!

  174. I decided to make this tart for a brunch I attended this morning. I’d made it last Thanksgiving without a problem, but in retrospect it probably worked because I made a mistake and didn’t separate the last egg as per the previous version of the recipe! It worked perfectly this morning, came together quickly especially when made with a prepared pie crust from Trader Joes (one of the good all-butter crusts). Par-baked the crust, whirled the filling in the blender, baked and done!

  175. Bianca

    Hi Deb,
    I’m a new poster but a long-time fan. I just felt I should let you know that I made this tart last week for the first time and loved it- best dessert ever practically. As soon as it was gone I wanted to make another one, and when I went to start, the recipe had changed! I tried out the new recipe, and I have to say that I greatly preferred the first one. Was there any difference other than the egg addition? Because this tart simply can’t compare.

    Thanks!

    1. deb

      Bianca — The old tart had 1 1/2 eggs instead of 4 and didn’t set (bubbled over, never gel-ed, butter separated) for a lot of people. I made it for years without issue, then I had them (so, it can happen any time, even with previous success) and the problem is that there wasn’t enough to stabilize the tart. The additional eggs make it perfect every time and don’t compromise the flavor in the least. Plus, the recipe has half the steps now. Definitely try it the new way; the only reason I’d change a published, popular recipe is to make it 200% better. Promise!

    1. deb

      leslie — This recipe is inspired (it was originally adapted but I’ve changed so much, it no longer resembles the original) by a book that was published, and that I’ve owned, since 2002. It likely existed long before that. It was published and widely linked on this site two years before it was shared on Food52. Tracing the root of a recipe to a singular place, and calling anything that does not source the same, plagiarism seems irresponsible.

  176. Annalisa

    Yes! I have everything except the lemon. One question, though. Must I use a tart pan? For I haven’t one about my person. Or my house. Could I simply use a glass pie dish? I know I could be imprisoned, but… it’s just a question?

    1. deb

      A pie dish would work but the volume will not fill it. If you could press the crust just two-thirds of the way up the walls, it should be about right.

  177. ruemara

    Heh, I just made the tart, dough filling and all with a combo of red wheat flour and dash of ginger to the lemon. I can’t eat it but everyone else is feeling extremely food happy. Thanks deb! Serving it with a scrumble of my failed version of peanutella, so everything can be recycled.

  178. Erin

    I made the fixed recipe after having success with the previous version twice, and found it to be a completely different dessert. The new version is thicker, bright yellow and creamy – like a lemon bar. The original, what the pictures look like here, was thinner, darker, less gooey and more refined (in my opinion). My oven runs cool, and I suspect that temperature is the culprit in this recipe, in all its versions.

  179. Lisa

    I can’t claim to have made the original, but this revised tart is delicious. I made it with a Meyer and would probably opt to cut down on the sugar next time because the Meyers are so mild. Otherwise, I had no issues at all–I made it in a 10″ tart pan and pulled it out at 30 minutes (it was beginning to turn lovely golden brown on top, as you said). Perhaps I could have pulled it out a couple of minutes sooner, but I’ve noticed no ill effects!

  180. Melanie in Bellingham, WA

    I made this last weekend with some gorgeous meyer lemons and took it to work. It was gone in about an hour. At this moment I have another one in the oven, made with blood oranges this time. A perfect way to bring some sunshine into winter!

  181. Lisa

    I made this yesterday afternoon with much success! I think I used a 10 inch quiche pan, I was at my father-in-law’s house and it was the best I could do but it worked out just fine. Well, it was better than fine… it was the most delicious dessert I have ever made! I used a 4.4 oz lemon and felt like the filling didn’t taste lemony enough to me before baking, so I added the juice of about 2/3 of another lemon. I baked it for 35 minutes and it set perfectly.

    One question I have (and maybe this would be better left under the shell post) is that the tops of my shell got really dark brown, burnt almost, when cooking the filled tart. Could I have avoided this by cooking it on a lower rack in the oven? Or did this have more to do with the improper pan use?

  182. Joanne

    I made this in a long rectangular tart tin as discussed earlier (you were right Deb it uses about 80-90% of the filling) so I made an extra little star shaped tart to use up the rest & cooked them together for 28 mins. I must admit I wimped out & used store-bought shortcrust pastry instead of making my own as it was late at night but it still turned out DELICIOUS! :) I might trim some of the white pith off next time but the whole lemon idea is still a winner. Thanks for a great recipe!

  183. Amy

    Heaven! I made this with a regular lemon (to those who can’t find meyer lemons, it’s not bitter, I promise!). I did remove a little of the pith to counteract the non-meyer-ness, though.
    I think next time, I might try this using the old instructions, which I found from the last time you posted this. But I seem to recall a comment about either raising or lowering the temp a bit to prevent the problems that inspired you to add the extra eggs? Or is that already reflected in the temp listed currently on the June 18, 2007 version of the recipe?

  184. Elisheva

    I made the new version. It was fantastic! And so easy! I may or may not have eaten all of the leftovers (like 1/3 of the tart) in the span of 1 day.

  185. NS

    I made this yesterday (as revised) but I used the gingersnap crust from the chocolate gingersnap tart because I love the lemon-ginger combo. The filling set great, although it was not lemony enough for my taste (I used two small Meyer lemons). I think next time I would add some regular lemon juice in with the Meyer lemon. But when I sliced into it, somehow the custard had gotten itself around the crust and the bottom crust was sort of floating halfway up the custard. I’ve made custard tarts in gingersnap crusts before and never had this happen. It was so uniform it almost looked intentional (if one could intend to have a soggy gingersnap layer in between two custard layers) but I have no idea how this happened? Any ideas?

  186. PamBo

    For years I have lived in the shadows of my mother’s lemon meringue pie. Brought out at every significant family celebration. Now I can hardly wait for the next occasion when I can draw myself up to my full height; look my mother in the eye and say ‘Game on’. I feel this is a lemon tart ‘Coming of Age’ recipe. Tarte au Citron – All Grown Up! Oh did I mention my mother is 80+ years young and I am almost 60. This has been a long wait!!

  187. LeeAnn

    This is the exact recipe that my 80 yo mother-in-law just made me for my birthday (except for the crust). Hers is absolutely the most delicious lemon pie I’ve ever eaten. Should be served cold with slightly sweetened fresh whipped cream. Mine is in the oven right now!

  188. Holly

    Fabulous! I’ve had trouble at this altitude (about a mile above sea level) with pies and breads rising. This tart was perfect and I didn’t change the recipe one bit. I served it to my visiting in-laws and we all enjoyed it. Thanks!!

  189. Does the filling happen to stand in as a curd recipe? Could I cook it on the stove a bit and pour it in the jar and call it a day? So many curd recipes call for multiple lemons, or just juice or just rind. I love the idea of being able to use the entire lemon!

  190. Jamie

    Yum! I made this tart for my birthday dessert yesterday and it turned out perfectly! I didn’t have a tart pan, so I ended up just making it in a pie pan, nor could I find any decent looking meyer lemons. I ended up just using a regular one. I did have a little too much filling, and my tart started to brown fairly quickly so I actually decreased the temperature a little bit about halfway through the cooking time. Even with all that though, the crust was amazing and the filling set up perfectly creamy and ultra lemony with just the right amount of sweet/sour.

  191. I have been drooling over this post for weeks and finally I, and by “I” I mean my mother, had the chance to make this for an Easter gathering. I couldn’t find Meyer lemons, so we simply used regular ones. Nonetheless, it turned out amazing! Everyone loved it. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  192. I made this tart last night for a casual family dinner. I am from Miami and this just goes great with our weather right now! I also used regular lemons and worked out perfectly! Mine ended up looking quite like the photo so I was beyond excited! It turned out sooo yummy everyone just kept having piece after piece! I also LOVED your tart shell recipe and look forward to trying different fruit tarts with this same recipe. Thanks so much!

  193. Hi, apologies if I’ve misread but I’m a little confused – in the update where you explain how you fixed this recipe, you say how you made it with no problems in your old oven but then had problems in your new oven and then that the issue was the lack of eggs. So, I’m just confused if the eggs were the problem how come it worked in your old oven?! Thanks :)

    1. deb

      To this day, I don’t know why it worked in my old oven. However, I do know that for many, many people it didn’t work in any oven. The current version works for everyone.

  194. Justine

    Hello, I was looking for lemon tart recipe today and stumbled across this one. I tried this subbing in a normal lemon. Smelled wonderful in the oven but was supper bitter. Meyers are not typically seen in my area but I think you could do this with a normal lemon. Next time I will segment them lemon then remove most of the pith from the peel before I go to the food processor. That is were the bitter comes from so I am thinking if you reduce the white part it will be fine. Also, I would like to try placing sliced strawberries on top.

  195. Justine I was thinking exactly the same thing as I have never seen a meyer lemon in London! Would love to know how it goes if you get to do it first!

  196. Justine

    I tried this today with a normal lemon but removed most of the white pith. Tart was yummy but not quite lemony enough will try 2 normal lemons next time. I love the texture of this tart!

  197. Jilian

    I made this today and it was very simple (which I love). Meyer lemons are not in season at the moment, so I used a regular lemon.

    The tart set up perfectly. I was very nervous after reading all of the reviews, and kept a watchful eye on the tart in the oven. It did not need any additional cooking time.

    It was a bit bubbly, but that leveled out mostly during the cooking process. I haven’t sliced into it yet, and am hoping it is not too bitter. I am bringing it to a dinner party and am hoping for the best!

  198. Lisa

    Meyer lemons are seasonal, growing well in warm climates. Commercial harvest is between Dec/Jan – May (my google results – May vary by country). They are native to China and also available here in Japan (though limited). I was not able to find one and substituted a regular lemon, there was absolutely no bitterness in the resulting tart as some have commented.

    My tart dough turned out too moist compared to another recipe I use (due to humidity here?) and despite my suspicions and I gave it a go in my oven and alas, it didn’t keep shape (but no shrinking!). I performed a bit of tart carving to give it back its shape before filling and this worked out perfectly. Shaved off bits were yummo!

    There are also some commenting that this recipe was overly sweet – I found the same for my taste (In Japan we don’t use as much sugar as the Americans do – I know because I lived there) and insisted I might halve the sugar next time (eaten after 4 hours chilling time) but found that as time went on the flavors balanced out and after 8 hours, was great. Chilled thoroughly for 8 hours, this tart is fantastic and to boot very easy to make, hardest part is waiting! Non-Americans perhaps taper the sugar measurements to your taste and to your lemon.

    Thanks for another revelation-recipe Deb! Very excited to try variations with Japanese citruses, until Meyer season rolls along!

  199. Sarah B

    MAN! I made this last night for a little dinner party and it was soooo good. I was a little worried after reading some of the comments but I knew I could trust your recipe so I went for it. It was perfect. My crust did shrink, just a tiny bit but it wasnt a big deal. At 30 minutes, the top as browned just a little bit so I put a little tin foil over the top to keep it from getting browned too much. I loved the fact that you use a whole lemon. I didnt think it was too bitter at all…tasted like eating lemonade! So good. Thanks!

  200. Kristyna

    Hello, my mom made this tart and I think there was a problem with her food processor- there were small chunks of lemon peel throughout the tart. It definitely was not smooth. Do you think straining the lemon mixture before pouring into the tart shell would be ok? Thanks! I love love love your blog!

  201. Susan

    I love lemon tarts. My Grandson loves lemon meringue pie, so I usually just plop meringue on top of my latest favorite tart. So when I made this, I just added 4 extra egg yolks to the recipe, keeping the whites (5) to make the meringue. Oh MY! It was amazing, and I loved using the whole lemon. It had a beautiful consistency, way better than just lemon juice based tart fillings. Next time (tomorrow, for my Mom) I may follow the recipe. If I am not making it for my Grandson, I don’t think a good lemon tart needs meringue on top. This is now my favorite lemon tart. Thank you Deb for re-kindling a love of cooking in a tired, bored family cook.

  202. Salam

    It’s about time I write you, not just regarding the magnificent Lemon Tart!! But a lot of another delicious recipes! This is a general comment that I didn’t know where to post, I just wanna tell you that I’m in love with your site, it’s the most user-friendly-cooking-site I came across & all the recipes I tried turned out lovely & now are regulars in my kitchen :D I was requested to make a Lemon tart the other day (that was going to be my first try) so I ran to the net & was RELIEVED when I found a recipe for that at your website coz I know I can trust the things you bake. At that day everyone fell in love with it, I heard words such as “Perfect taste of sweet & soure” “even tastier than the one I tried at the best bakery” not to mention that the crust was ah-mazing!..that’s it for now, but I’ll start leaving up comments on all the yummies I’m gonna try. P.S: I’m an Arab from Syria & I like how you tried a couple of Lebanese dishes, perhaps I can recommend some famous Syrian ones for you to try as well ;)

  203. Kelly H.

    I loved the simplicity of this recipe and the use of the whole fruit but I have to report a failure. My own fault! I used limes instead of a lemon. I actually did a million other things wrong including using a pie plate rather than a tart pan, accidentally setting the oven to 375 instead of 350, omitting a tablespoon of butter in the filling because I ran out and using 2 whole eggs and two yolks because I wanted to have a meringue top. BUT… none of this would’ve mattered if I used the right citrus! The crust was perfection, the filling set perfectly at 30 minutes and was a lovely texture but the whole thing was bitter, bitter, bitter. So sad. Lesson learned. I think the new recipe is fool-proof as long as you get the rind to juice ratio right!

  204. HI Deb. I left you a comment on your key lime tart but i meant to leave it here. Can I make this lemon tart with your pie crust 102 recipe rather than this tart crust? I dont have dry beans to pre bake the crust. Can i just use your pie dough recipe and fill it with the cooked leomn curd then bake until curd is set?

    1. deb

      You can use either but pie crusts shrink more if par-baked (it’s the water content). You don’t need dry beans, you could just use pennies or other loose change from a jar. Tarts have slightly more cookie-like crusts, which hold up better to wet ingredients.

  205. Bill Maxey

    Novice baker here, so why did I attempt to make 2 of these when I only have one tart pan? But I made the crusts according to your recipe and they look great! Just filled both and popped them into the oven–extra 5 minutes cooking time perhaps?

  206. Brittany

    Hi Deb, How would you go about adding cranberries to this. I made this last time and it was great, and I would love to add a cranberry flavor. How much extra sugar would you estimate?

  207. NYC

    Made this today and had some problems. The filling was curdled and the shell baked way too fast for the tart. I now see from the pictures that yours was par baked. (I used your non shrink tart dough recipe) That isn’t in the recipe and wish i knew that before. I foiled the top to stop the edges from burning – they still look pretty dark. Hope it tastes ok. We will find out after Christmas dinner. I also added candied lemon slices to the top using Martha Stewart’s recipe.

    1. deb

      Hi NYC — Sorry you had trouble. This recipe was updated last year with additional eggs that seemed to fairly consistently keep the tart from curdling. Were you working with the version with 4 eggs? I sometimes parbake the crust, other times do not, and don’t mind it either way. The filling is wet but it never seems to make the crust too soggy for my tastes.

  208. Ruth

    I also had some problems which seem to have been happening before the recipe revamp but my tart was still very sticky after 40 minutes although the top was very browned. It was also fairly bitter, which I assume is from the white parts being included. I even tried this recipe again and it happened again! Will chalk it up to experience and move on :) onto more lemon tarts, have 40 lemons to get through!

    1. deb

      Mindi — Ack, you are not! An earlier version of this recipe might have suggested that you use Dorie Greenspan’s tart dough. I’ve since moved onto my own, almond-free, that I prefer. Nevertheless, you are not out of luck, I still have the recipe up over here.

  209. Kitty

    I recently made this twice. I like it (obviously, I guess, or I would not have made it two times), and totally agree that it is better when completely chilled. The first time I made it we were bothered by an aftertaste similar, but not as intense as the one some other folks described. I used Meyer lemons, so I am not sure why this happened. The first night we ate it the tart had cooled for several hours and the taste was a definite irritation. I thought I would not make it again. Over the next few days as the pie sat in the fridge and became very chilled, it seemed to mellow and was good enough to convince me to try again. The second pie is tastier, but it has two definite layers of filling. There is a thin layer on top that seems to be a combination of sugar and bits of peel, etc, from that rose up and floated. The bottom layer is highly creamy and silky, very pudding-like. The taste is great!

  210. Tom S

    Hey, been following your site for a while. Thank you for such a great recipe and for making me look good. :D

    Just to say that I tried this with blood oranges and it was (and still is) freakin’ good! Obviously I had to use more that one orange to balance the flavours. Yummers! -Tom

  211. Fay B

    Wow! ‘made this for our 1st Sunday Potluck today. Except for a store bought refrigerated pie crust and a bit of meringue on top, I followed your recipe exactly, and yes, I used the 4 eggs version. It was a hit. I took photos of the tart and wish I could share them with your readers. Whole Lemon Tart is a keeper.

  212. Christine B.

    Deb, how far in advance can you make a refrigerate the tart? I made one – it was amazing! and then I promptly dropped it on the floor… so I didn’t get to test how long it lasted. I may have to make this for a wedding, so I appreciate any input!

  213. Rachel

    Hi Deb,
    I want to make this tart, but will have a limited amount of time (I get home from a business trip at 9 pm Friday and would need this ready to go by 10 am Saturday). Do you think I could prepare the crust and filling on Friday night and back the tart Saturday morning? Will the lemon curd keep that long?

    1. deb

      Yes. You could make the crust and either keep it in the fridge or freezer until needed. The filling takes no time at all so you could make it right before you bake it. If you make it the day before, I’d keep it separate so it doesn’t sog the crust while it rests. Pour them together before baking and … voila! You could also bake the WHOLE thing and let it rest in the fridge overnight. It keeps great and I’m very fond of this tart cold.

    1. deb

      Lisa — No way! So, you made a whole lime coconut tart? I am completely intrigued. Did you use a single lime (they tend to be smaller, of course, than lemons)? How was the balance of flavors? Did you use a coconut crust? I’ve wanted to make one for a while, but haven’t yet. Thanks — and sorry for the badgering questions but clearly, you’re onto something grand. :)

  214. Yvonne

    I am planning to making this for Passover seder, using potato starch and using almond macaroons for the crust. I have used macaroons for previious passover desserts including cheese cake and a key lime pie. Your raspberry macaroons also look like a must try. Thanks for these great ideas!

  215. Hannah

    If I only have a 12 inch tart shell, will I have to make substitutions to this recipe? I’ve made it before and it was amazing but unfortunately today I only have access to a bigger pan! Thank you in advance for your advice!! :)

  216. msen

    Made this yesterday with a 12 inch pan. The tart shell recipe had enough to cover the bottom and sides, but no overhang to double the sides. Turned out fine, but one can only imagine how good twice the buttery crumby goodness would taste. I would estimate to make 1.25 – 1.5 crust recipe for your 12 in pan. The filling recipe went right up to the top of the crust in that 12 in pan. I didn’t have the steadiest hand transferring to the oven so next time I would put a 1/4 cup of filling into a ramekin and bake it separately for my personal consumption. Used 1.75 Meyer lemons, cut the ends off of the second lemon to reduce pith. (Auto-Correct seems to think I should have reduced the “pity” but I think our friend A-C is dangerously overstepping her area of expertise.) Unfotunately did not weigh the lemons (not much help, huh?) but bitterness was not an issue. The filling is on the sweet side, but not achingly so. You have purged my kitchen of confectioner’s sugar and I am one happy cook!

  217. I made this today, using the bottom layer of your lemon bar recipe as a “shell”, pressed into my tart pan (I found myself short on time yesterday). It was delicious, a big hit at Easter dinner. :)

  218. Alyssa

    Made this for Easter dessert. It was so easy, I felt like I was cheating and it came out so well! The crust did not shrink at all and unlike most pie crust, it actually had flavor! This recipe is delicious and simple to prepare and I will definitely be making it again.

  219. I had a surprisingly difficult time with this tart and crust… my crust puffed too much, and as a result I had too much filling (about a cup extra), and it took longer to bake than 40 minutes.

    But happy accident, I suppose, since I baked the leftover filling in a casserole, and its a delicious crustless lemon pudding.

  220. Lori

    This was my first time making a lemon tart- and unfortunately it did not turn out well. I loved the crust- and the tart looked great and baked OK but tasted really bitter. Not too sour- but bitter. We tried so hard to eat it but really- an aftertaste that was medicinal.
    When I tasted the filling before baking it tasted fine- and others have commented that theirs too was bitter after baking. It must be the type of lemon? I used just a regular grocery store lemon- weighed it – it was exactly 4.5 oz but I did not include the ends when I processed it.
    I definitely am going to try again- it looked so pretty and it was sad to throw it away. I will get meyer lemons next time.

  221. Margy

    Like Lori, mine turned out a bit bitter for our tastes (although we still ate it!). Other than the bitterness, which wasn’t there prior to baking, it was very delicious. I think next time I’ll just trim the lemon a bit more, cutting off some of the pith and not using the entirety of the peel. A little bitterness would be desirable, I think, but not as much as was there with the whole lemon (not Meyer). Also, mine needed nearly an hour to set. Maybe it has to do with the humidity and altitude of where I live (Northern Australia).

  222. Ashlee

    Made this tonight in a pie shell. I used regular lemons and added the meat of a second for extra lemon goodness. Simply the best lemon tart I’ve made!

  223. mohit

    Thank you for this recipe! This was amazingly simple to make. I made this with a regular lemon paring down the rind a bit and a little extra lemon juice from a second lemon. I also used just one cup of sugar.

  224. Samie

    I just made this yesterday with your sweet tart crust recipe (I love it and use it for all my tarts) but I found the lemon filling to be too eggy in texture and not lemony enough in taste. I squeezed lemon juice on top of the tart and that helped for the taste, but maybe I’ll try 3 eggs and more lemon next time…

  225. irmak

    Hands down the best lemon tart in the world. I baked this so much Ican probably do it with my eyes closed. =)
    I have two questions though, do you think I can do a lemon meringue tart with this filling, and how would I go about it?
    And also, I was thinking to this with a tangerine, a green tangerine to e precise. Do you think it would work? I’ll probably add some lemon slices till it weighs enough.
    Thanks in advance and also thank you for creating this!

  226. Sharon

    I do think this is a great recipe, but I didn’t have luck with it. I didn’t process the butter, sugar, and lemon quite enough. It was almost smooth, but not smooth enough. And, I’m hardly a supertaster, but I detect a hint of bitterness. Next time I’ll zest the lemon, peel it, slice it, remove any seeds, and proceed from there. I think adding more eggs is great.

  227. Eleanor

    I made this yesterday on a recommendation I saw on another website. I wanted to do a “dry run” to see if I could do it for Thanksgiving wih my grandparents later this week. OMG, it was amazing. We had it warm after dinner last night, and then I had a cold piece this morning with breakfast. Spectacular. The flavor balance is wonderful — I used a regular lemon and it was tart, but not too much. And the consistency of the baked filling was perfect. Thanks for putting together such a great recipe!

  228. Anna

    Made this today and it was absolutely fantastic! Putting an effort into making your own tart shell is well worth it! Thank you! Thank yoU! Thank You!

  229. Laura

    I just made the lemon bars in your cookbook. Absolutely love using the whole lemon! I’m curious though why you say that “grocery store” lemons are the best for the bars, but Meyer lemons are best in the tart, when the method and ingredients are similar? Thanks.

    1. deb

      In the book, there’s an additional nitpicky instruction about lemon skin thickness. If you follow this, this recipe will work 100% of the time with regular lemons too. But without it, Meyers are more reliable.

  230. Carol

    My first ever lemon tart is cooling on the counter and I care barely wait until our guests get here so I can dig into it. The crust is divine. I baked off a couple of the extra trim pieces to see how it tastes and it’s like shortbread. It’s the most delicious and forgiving crust I’ve ever worked with. I also had a little of the filling left over so I baked that along with the tart. I believe I could have done with more lemon…or a touch less sugar. We love all things citrus. But I’m going to see how it all tastes when it cools. It’s so easy to throw together!!

  231. Marina

    Made this recipe exactly as written for a pie party and it was a great alternative to the pumpkin and nut pies! I used a Meyer lemon and rolled out the dough. It’s a very easy and tasty recipe and everyone loved it! It’s a keeper for me!

  232. leslie

    Maybe others also found a blender works fine?

    I read this, loved the simplicity, and fretted about not having had a food processor since the 80s.

    Then–I just threw the ingredients into my blender. Perfect.

    It baked beautifully: golden, with a light, fluffy texture and delicate taste.

    I used a regular lemon. No bitterness . . .I wouldn’t actually mind more tang. I skimmed the comments–didn’t notice whether anyone tried this using two lemons?

    I feel sure it would be great chilled, but don’t think we’ll ever find out.

  233. Hi, I’m going to first start with I think you’re amazing. Secondly, I made this tart TODAY from Paris Sweets and it turned out well! buuuuut I wish I had seen your adaptation beforehand – it’s totally going to be the replacement. In conclusion, let’s be friends. The end. Awesome. Kbye.

  234. Laura

    Holy cannoli, I couldn’t read all of these comments so I’m probably going to be incredibly repetitive, but love you, mean it, have fantasized how to create a cooking show out of your blog (I work in tv, its a hazard of the trade) and have been mostly successful with everything I’ve attempted from your amazing site (which is saying something) but this…did not…go…well. For some reason my crust did shrink a little (I froze for an hour) and I had a hard time not over-mixing the ingredients in my Cuisinart, since it wasn’t the flour that wasn’t being properly incorporated, but a layer of egg on the bottom. If that makes sense. Like it snuck under the blade, all ninja-like, refusing to be incorporated. I wound up doing it by hand. Took forever to roll out properly after being refrigerated, was soooo sticky. Even throwing flour on it, it required a second go-around in the fridge, then the freezer, until I finally got it to cooperate. The end result shrunk a tad, I am sad to say, though not a huge amount. More alarming was the…rather…sturdy consistency. At one point my husband was banging his crust against the table calling order to the dinner party. I kid you not. (he will pay for that later) Apart from the nearly impossible to fork into crust, the filling was…odd? ALmost like a lemon bar, but strangely bitter and yet also too sweet. I like a nice, tangy fruity lemon tart. I used a Meyer (actually added part of a 2nd per your recommendation for weights) and it was strangely…mealy? I worked for HOURS on this and am so so sad. It looked really pretty, though. I’ll give it that. And my guests were nice enough to pretend to like it until my husband’s theatrics, after which they admitted it was not my finest moment. Ah well. It was most likely entirely my fault and I still love you, but my disappointment was so great… had to share. On the other hand? the much simpler brown butter salted rice cakes have been a HUGE hit with the hubs.

  235. Holly

    hi, I bought a whole bag of meyer lemons! Can I make a few of these and freeze? Or do you hava another recipe using meyer lemons that I could make and freeze? I hate to waste them, theyre so good.

  236. I just made a modified version of this with pistachio crust and a brûléed top over the weekend. I loved it! So easy! That tart dough is killer. Thanks for the great recipe!

  237. Lisa

    Just searched “Meyer lemons” because I bought a bag, and was thrilled when this popped up. I’ve made it before, and it’s delicious. Just one idea for you Deb–I am constantly perusing for quick desserts. I know you have an everyday cakes section, but a “quick dinner party desserts” section would be much used and appreciated!!

  238. Joe

    Made this last night for my staff. The crust turned out amazing, well almost as amazing as the filling. This one is so easy. It will be my secret just how easy. Even a guy can do this!

  239. Jessica

    I just put this into the oven. The crust didn’t shrink! (Though I did have some troubles rolling it, it was pretty dry and kept cracking) I had a lot of extra filling though, maybe the size of my eggs? I added some more lemon too because when I tested the taste it wasn’t lemony enough for my liking. I put the extra into a ramekin to test it out, since the tart is for a birthday tomorrow. Not being able to test things before everyone else really just kills me.

    The filling was so easy to make, if it turns out I’ll definitely use this recipe again!

  240. Jessica

    Oh, I also used a blender for this since I don’t have a food processor. My lemons were particularly small so I used two and a half, if that helps anyone! I had googled the ounces and worked out it should be around half a cup, so I went by that.

  241. Zoe

    I made this amazing tart with the first few fruits from my own little meyer lemon, which is potted in my kitchen window in pennsylvania. It was the perfect recipe to show off my modest little crop… What amazing flavor. Thanks for putting such careful thought into your recipes. They always come out great for me.

  242. I made this delicious tart last night (followed my old-faithful crust recipe, though) and was thrilled with the results! I’m going to make if for my daughter’s school auction’s dessert dash next month … it was THAT tasty and super easy. Thanks for sharing this gem!

  243. Devyn

    I just made two of these tarts using the pine nut crust from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Cookbook (this filling is much easier than the sabayon the crust is paired with it, but the crust is quite simple). They were for a baby shower and got rave reviews! They were so tasty and easy, I made sure to process the lemon, sugar and butter long enough so that the filling would be smooth–and it was. Success, thank you!

  244. Kate

    I just made two of these–one with just lemons and one with a handful of blueberries added. The latter is a pretty pink color! Hopefully the texture will turn out.

  245. Soph

    Thank you sooo much!! just made it and couldnt wait until it was cold it is fantastic! amazing texture and flavor!!
    (can it be frozen??)

  246. Santi

    I never tried the old version, but this new one works great for me. I pressed instead of rolling it out, and the tart shell didn’t shrink at all. The filling also worked out great. I used regular lemon since Meyer is very rarely available here. It’s great but I might cut down on the sugar just a little bit, just so I can have it a bit more sour/tart. (Like one commenter above, I like tart lemon tarts :) ). Thanks so much for the recipe!

  247. dk

    Made this yesterday–tart crust recipe fantastic and worked perfectly. I couldn’t find a Meyer lemon, so just used a regular lemon, and it was rather bitter, though nice and lemony and tart. Maybe next time I will use lemon zest and lemon pulp, but really I should just wait until I can find a Meyer lemon, because part of the beauty of the recipe is just tossing in the sliced up lemon! I also thought the filling was a touch egg-y, but it was still good. Also in love with the butternut squash/farro/pepita/red onion salad, it is the best. Thanks Deb!

  248. Lucy

    Just made this tonight….I reduced the sugar to one cup…..I love tart lemon flavor….used a graham crust and also used a regular lemon, it turned out with amazing flavor but did not have a smooth texture. I will try again in a few days. Still love it

  249. I love this tart. Particularly as I have a Meyer lemon tree in my front yard. Although once it stops making lemons I’m looking forward to using non-Meyers for a little more lemon kick.

    I’ve use your tart crust found here:
    https://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/06/cherry-brown-butter-bars-new-video-project/

    Because it needs taller sides, I’ve scaled the crust up by 2/7ths, as follows:

    9 tbsp (1 stick + 1 tbsp) salted butter, melted
    84 gm sugar
    1/4+ tsp vanilla
    172 gm flour
    Then the usual mixing of everything, flour last, patting into a non-stick springform, and baking the crust till it’s just barely barely blond, about 12 minutes, since this lemon tart cooks for longer than the brown butter bars.

  250. mas

    hi. i’ve made this recipe three times and each time the filling curdled. i used the 4 egg version. it doesn’t taste bad but certainly doesn’t have that smooth yellow curd look to it — it looks much whiter. any particular reason this could be happening?

    1. deb

      mas — This isn’t really a smooth lemon tart, in the classic curd sense. It’s baked and .. firmer in texture. Does that sound like what you experienced?

  251. mas

    yes, sort of. but your mixture and the cross section of your baked tart look quite yellow and curd like compared to my more curdled/white mixture. in any case, it still tastes great! just wondering if there was something i was missing.

  252. Ruth

    Made Dorie’s 1-lemon tart for the first time yesterday; I could kick myself for not checking with you first! It was delicious, but we had to eat it with spoons as it never set. Eager to try it again with more eggs, per your improved recipe.

  253. Staci

    Was looking for a classic but easy tarte au citron recipe to take to a dinner party at a professional chef’s house. Never scared to cook for him as I’m pretty confident that I know what I’m doing with my tried and true recipes. But this time I gambled and made something to take that I had never made before… and that wasn’t even really like anything I’d made before (well, maybe not so true as I’ve made custard like pies before). All because we have a brand new convection oven and two prolific meyer lemon trees.*

    It turned out BEYOND FANTASTIC. The only comments I have are…

    1. Never forget to dock your crust before the partial baking (silly me knew it had to be docked but totally spaced on when). I forgot to do it before covering with the buttered foil. But it didn’t puff too badly and I docked it before the remainder of the partial baking. So I wanted to share that “recovery” method.
    2. I used the smallest lemon from our tree that had the least blemishes on the skin (pesky birds) and it still weighed in at 6 or so ounces. I took the chance that it might not be too much filling. It was, but not by much (not even enough to fill a ramekin), and the flavor ratio was perfect – not too bitter or too sweet.

    The entire dinner party devoured it with many going back to cut remaining pieces down to share. The chef had at least one if not two pieces and proclaimed the texture “perfect.” I say that’s due in part to the ingredients, the oven, and my skill… but it’s really due to your recipe. I was so dubious that a whole lemon would produce the silk texture I wanted and I was even skeptical that I had pureed it all enough – but my friend would have told me if it wasn’t right (because he would want to help me correct it, and I love that about him).

    So… THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

    *We have two meyer lemon trees (with very thin skin) and they produce more fruit than we can ever use, even though we make limoncello (and squeeze the zestless lemons afterward resulting in a freezer full of juice) and give tons of the fruit away. We currently have about 40 gallons we picked to save from a rare hard freeze that we are currently trying to get through/give away.

  254. Julie

    Just for people wondering whether to use a meyer or regular lemon, I thought I’d give my experience. I’ve made this 3 or 4 times (it’s that good), and the first couple times I used a regular lemon, and loved it. I finally decided to try a meyer, and thought that it really didn’t not have either enough tartness or enough flavor with the meyer. It wasn’t just that it wasn’t tart enough, it just wasn’t lemony enough. That’s just my opinion.

  255. Sadie

    Hi! This turned out wonderful! My comments, I used 2 Meyer lemons as I was afraid that they were two small, I baked the tart and it looked fine and then I put a fork in the middle and it was runny. I then returned the tart to the oven with tin foil for another 30 mins when it came out it looked like sponge cake! Basically this goes to say that it fantastic!

  256. BrianB

    Can you substitute the sugar for Splenda ? I’ve had a few horrible experiences trying to substitute it for sugar in other recipes. This whole diabetes thing is killing my love of sweet desserts, and I need substitutions that aren’t gross.

    I’ve made this a few times and it’s always turned out fantastic. I tried it with a lime and it was so tart it wasn’t edible. Even with extra sugar, and trying it without the skin. Might be interesting with a blood orange though.

  257. DAWN

    Is there a recipe for the pastry? I don’t see one here. Can I just use a Pillsbury pastry? and do I have to blind bake it with parchment and pie weights. You don’t address this issue unless I just missed something…thanks! Also, how long do I prebake this shell?

  258. deb

    The first ingredient calls for a 1 partially baked 9-inch Great Unshrinkable Tart Shell, or your favorite sweet tart shell. It links to the tart shell I prefer, which has par-baking instructions. You CAN use a pie dough that’s already made, but I do personally prefer the more cookie-like dough recommended.

    BrianB — I haven’t worked at all with Splenda. :( Thanks for the feedback about limes. I agree that a blood orange could be fantastic (but I might just use maybe 1/4 the skin or it could overwhelm).

  259. E

    Deb, I made this yesterday as a midweek treat. I have only had one slice whereas my family seems to have gone to town as there are only two slices left. I’m sure that means it’s a hit haha. Anyway, wanted to thank you for your excellent directions to give me my first successful pastry (and tart for that matter) !!!!!!

  260. Kathy

    I really love citrus tarts and want to make this recipe. I am going on a 15 day boat trip so won’t be wantng to make pie crust and won’t have a blender so will be using pre made pie crust. My question is can the filling be made ahead and frozen or regrigerated and, if the answer is yes, how long would it keep. I would like to make the filling before leaving, if possible.

  261. This looks like it came right out of a French Pasty Shop. I can almost taste it by looking at the picture. What I like the most about it, is that most kitchens would already have all the ingredients (except the shell) in their kitchen. I love the idea of just a dusting of powdered sugar on the top instead of anything else that might not compliment the filling. Lemon tarts can be used for any occasion and are especially a great addition to a dessert table. Thanks for sharing this easy recipe.

  262. kim

    Had to sub in a storebought graham cracker crust when I found out I had to make dessert for a party about an hour before I had to be there

    Used a regular lemon and a teeny-tiny food processor but it all turned out great. Everyone loved this. I wonder if maybe the people who are having problems with bitterness might prefer to wedge the lemon instead of cut it straight through and get rid of that pithy middle part? I did that and didn’t have any flavor issues.

  263. kim

    Ok, made the pie again the next day for another party and this time I had the bitter aftertaste issues other people were talking about. So strange. I think I may have just overbaked it slightly which may have caused it to be bitter? It came out wonderful the first time, so I would make it again, but obviously I need to be really careful.

    1. deb

      kim — Sorry to hear this. I further refined this recipe as lemon bars in my cookbook but didn’t do a full update here. :( The secret, I found after a gazillion retests, tears, and becoming so frustrated that I decided to return my book advance and quit writing it (true story), was in the thickness of the white part of the lemon. Some have really thick white parts — these are the lemons that make this tart too bitter. If you have one with a white part that is 1/4-inch thick or more, only use half the skin. You can cut the skin off completely on the second half, and the tart stays in balance. Sorry this didn’t help you on your last round.

  264. I’m finding this tart to be quite grainy in recent iterations, and I think I’ve hit on why: older lemons that have sat around and shrivelled a bit have pretty tough rinds. I haven’t tested this by using only a fresh lemon, but shall next time to confirm this idea.

  265. As it turns out, no, it’s not the wizened lemons; last night’s version used an old lemon which I processed very thoroughly and it came out reasonably smooth.

    I used double the lemon, and one and a half times the rind, but still didn’t have the zinginess I hope for. I wish I would remember that this tart is too sweet for me, and I usually reduce the sugar by a quarter cup at least. But then I usually eat it warm; if it were chilled it would hide the sugariness.

  266. emblitzer

    Since its thanksgiving, I added some cranberry swirls to the lemon filling. (I boiled a little water, sugar and 1/2 cup cranberries, adding a little lemon juice once it cooled down. then blended it to make it smooth). I spooned it in swirly pattern on the crust before adding the lemon filling. Very pretty and I like the tart flavors together.

    I had a difficult time with the crust – it didn’t have enough moisture to bind together and cracked a bit while it baked. The filling oozed a bit through the cracks. Next time I’ll use a whole egg, or maybe a touch of cream to the dough. It was delicious anyway.

  267. Krystal

    Even though this recipe is like 5 years old I have to comment. I just made it with two dozen store bought frozen mini tart shells (which I pre-baked until they just started to brown) and two meyer lemons I grew myself. I found using the mini tarts about halved the bake time. They turned out AMAZING! They taste just like little mini lemon meringue pies, although sans meringue for now (though I definitely want to try them with!) Next time I would decrease the sugar, as was suggested for Meyers – I thought mine were pretty sour but I guess not. I froze most of the tarts (after eating four in a row, you know just to make sure they were really that good) and I’ll be serving them at a Christmas party later this month. Anyways, such an easy recipe, and so perfect for showcasing homegrown lemons.

  268. Emily Gehrke

    So… I found this recipe like… 4 or so years ago and have made this tart several times…. it is absolutely one of my favorite things to make. A delicious treat that is complex in flavor. I love it and thank you for posting it!

  269. jenn

    Read through some of the comments. I think the “curdling” may be happening to some people if they’re using cold eggs, it seizes the butter.

  270. Andrea

    I made this with a large blood orange and it turned out terrific! I cut the sugar to 1 cup since the orange is so much sweeter. Just thought I would add my 2cents and show that after 6 years this recipe is still going strong. I highly recommend this during blood orange season.

  271. Gitty

    Made this this past wednesday in mini tarts (bought frozen). Baked for about twenty minutes. The filling made 12 with plenty left over. Loved the strong lemony flavor and still can’t believe that all that was made with just one lemon. Thanks Deb, this one is a keeper!

  272. Alyssa

    I have my tart in the oven. I hope it comes out ok because of my failed 2 attempts of baking lemon bars.

    I do have a question. I have leftover filling. Can I save the filling in the fridge or will the lemons cook/scramble the eggs?

  273. Myra

    This looks amazing! Do you think a grapefruit version would work? If so, how would you recommend I change the recipe? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Myra — It might, but the peel of grapefruit is much more bitter and likely to overwhelm. I might just use, say, 1/2 a grapefruit (assuming most are 2x the size of a lemon) and maybe just 1/8 of that grapefruit’s peel, to be safe. Hope that helps.

  274. trevor

    How I hate these ‘wonderful’ comments.
    The people who post them haven’t even cooked it !!
    It needed a stronger lemon taste, so I added zest of half a lemon to the final mix.
    Lady cooks must remember to have a man in the background (to do the maths) …
    Temperature should read 325F / 160C

    The mixture seemed rather thin, but I have just taken it out of the oven and will report back when I have had a chance to taste it.

  275. trevor

    I agree with NYC, the mixture looked curdled.
    I put this down to the lack of flour and the method … I would usually add flour, then an egg, then more flour and the next egg etc.

    As expected from such a wet mixture, the pre-cooked pastry was rather soggy; but the taste was good.

    Having sampled it, I will put the rest in the fridge and see what it is like when really cold.

  276. Marie

    This was a hit the first time I made it a year ago. And the second. And the third. At least one of these times was spontaneous, we-just-felt-like-making-it, after the first was for the big holiday feast. Now, rolling back around to my thanksgiving party with friends, this is the sole and singular specific request that has been made of me. I’m even getting my friend’s Cuisinart out of the deal, as they’re streamlining their kitchen and use it infrequently. Thank you so much for this recipe, it really is quick and fool proof and I’m saying this from the perspective of someone who doesn’t bake frequently because it takes so much process to make happen. You REALLY CAN just decide to whip one of these up for a treat and not exhaust yourself doing it. It will still be a treat after.

  277. Veronika

    I’ve loved every single recipe I’ve made on this blog. Unfortunately, I think this one was the exception to the rule. It’s not bad, it’s just okay. Actually, it would be pretty darn awesome if it wasn’t from the fact that I thought there was way too much of lemon peel and rind. Maybe my processor didn’t process it enough, or maybe my tastebuds weren’t just ready for it. But I’d recommend using only half of the peel and rind, because there was just too many in there, leaving a awkward taste on our tongues. I’ll definitely try it again though, because I strongly believe that all recipes on this blog are awesome.

  278. I made this using 3 very ripe Bearss limes (total of 7 oz) and the full 300g sugar. (I usually cut the sugar to 200g when using lemons) and it turned out delicious.

    I’m not sure if Bearss are milder than storebought, or maybe are what you normally get in the store. I do know I let them ripen on my tree until they were yellow, fell off, and then sat for a few days and softened a little. But I did want to report that it’s possible to make this tart turn out well with at least some form of lime.

    What I want to know, though, is why lemon and lime flavors are so delightfully summery when they’re a winter crop?

  279. Juanita

    Made this two days ago after reading all the comments and just wanted to chime in that it came out perfect! I used a regular lemon, with a blender, and a pre-made graham cracker crust which I preheated before adding the filling. Baked for 35 minutes and it was amazing!! Definitely will make again.

  280. Marc

    I just made this, and though the taste was exquisite, I had a problem with the filling curdling. I read through the previous posts and it seems like most of the curdling problems that people experienced occurred AFTER the tart baked…my filling curdled as soon as I added the eggs to the lemon mixture (i.e. before the filling was baked). Is there a way to avoid the curdling of the mixture that I experienced?? In your picture above, the filling looks quite smooth and liquid when it’s poured into the tart shell.

  281. mindy

    we love the whole lemon bars from your cookbook! but I decided I wanted to make a tart, so I did. the lemon in my tart ended up having a really metallic taste, quite possibly because I Was Not Thinking and used my mother’s ancient, probably aluminum, tart pan. even though the lemon didn’t seem to touch the pan, it must have somehow because of the docking of the pie crust. today I made another tart in a ceramic tart pan, and I also did not use tin foil on the crust during the prebaking. (I don’t know whether the foil could possibly affect the lemon, but I though I’d be safe.) this tart is fine. I am wondering if some of the people who complained of a bitter aftertaste might have also used a reactive pan. it looks like you used a metallic pan, but it must be steel, I guess.

  282. Lois Elting

    What a fabulous tart! And the crust is delicious. I didn’t have a 9″ tart pan so I used two smaller ones. They were both perfection!

    This is a keeper

  283. naomibeth

    Just made this for my husband’s grandmother’s 92nd birthday tomorrow – she loves lemon desserts! I was skeptical of using an entire “regular” lemon but you’re right – flavor is perfect. Super easy, I had extra filling that I baked in a buttered ramekin next to the tart (…and ate it to, you know, test it – perfect dessert even without the crust!). I’m sure the tart will taste delicious but the entire top is completely browned and not so pretty looking. What’s even stranger is the ramekin that baked right next to it didn’t brown at all – it was perfectly yellow. Hoping to cover the whole tart tomorrow with powdered sugar to hide the over browning… should I tent with foil next time?