Classic French Lemon Tart

Classic French Lemon Tart

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
333 Calories
23g Fat
24g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 333
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 162mg 54%
Sodium 192mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 8g
Calcium 51mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This classic French lemon tart is the quintessential French tart, found at patisseries and cafes year-round. Cool, sharp lemon filling contrasts nicely with the flaky, slightly sweet pastry. A little dollop of Chantilly cream served with the dessert makes the ideal treat. The tart is delicious at any time and also makes a great dessert as well as with a cup of coffee. 

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this French lemon tart is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Pastry

  1. Gather the pastry ingredients.

    pastry ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.

    Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Cut the chilled butter into the flour using a pastry cutter, large-tined fork, or a food processor on pulse setting, until it resembles coarse sand with a few pea-sized pieces of butter still visible.

    butter and flour in a bowl, pastry cutter

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Sprinkle the cold water onto the mixture and toss gently a few times, just until it forms a ball that holds together.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Separate the dough into two balls, flatten slightly into thick disk shapes, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for several hours before working with it.

    dough wrapped in plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Preheat an oven to 375 F and grab a 10-inch fluted tart pan.

    tart pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Roll and trim the dough to make a circle large enough to fit the tart pan. Fit the circle into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

    dough in a tart pan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Line the dough with parchment paper and add pie weights or dried beans.

    pie weights on top of tart dough

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Bake it for 15 minutes.

    baked dough with pie weights on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Remove the pie weights and bake the shell for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside the pastry shell, still in the tart pan, to cool.

    tart crust on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Lemon Filling

  1. Gather the filling ingredients.

    Lemon Tart recipe filling ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Set a large pan of simmering water in a double boiler or a medium-size saucepan. In the top part of the double boiler, stir together 8 tablespoons butter and the crème fraiche. Once this mixture is thoroughly combined, set it aside.

    butter and the crème fraiche over a double boiler

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a separate pan set over the double boiler.

    eggs and sugar over a double boiler

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Stir the lemon juice into the mixture and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.

    lemon juice added to the egg mixture over a double boiler

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Add the lemon zest and butter-crème fraiche mixture to the eggs and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.

    lemon tart filling in a bowl, over a double boiler

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Pour the lemon filling into the prepared pastry. 

    lemon tart

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Bake it for 25 to 30 minutes until it turns golden brown and the filling is set.

    baked lemon tart

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Allow the tart to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

    baked lemon tart on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator before serving.

    Classic French Lemon Tart, slice on a plate

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck