Lemon Curd Tart with Shortbread Crust
A beautiful lemon curd tart is elegant and impressive. This tart comes together incredibly quickly and easily because the filling or the crust do not need to be pre-cooked. Blend the filling together in a food processor or blender and pour it straight into the unbaked crust to set up in the oven.
Lemon desserts are hands down my favorite. I love fresh and tart flavors after a heavy meal.
In my opinion, if you care going to make a lemon dessert, it needs to truly make your mouth pucker. This recipe doesn’t disappoint in that department. It is very lemon forward and tart.
If you prefer a bit less lemon flavor, you can cut back on the zest in the recipe.
What Makes this Recipe so Easy to Make?
- The crust is a shortbread dough which requires no rolling. Just press it right into your tart pan.
- The filling does not need to be cooked before going into the crust, like most lemon tarts. Blend and pour straight into the raw crust to set in the oven.
- Allowing the filling to cook in the oven ensures an incredibly silky smooth final texture.
- The lemon flavor is prominent and packs a punch. I believe lemon desserts should make your mouth pucker!
How to Make a Lemon Tart
For this recipe, I used my shortbread crust as the base and a modified version of lemon curd. Allowing the curd to cook in the oven, rather than on the stove top, will ensure that the filling is extremely silky smooth.
Make the Shortbread Crust
The shortbread crust is incredibly simple to make and requires only 4 ingredients: butter, sugar, salt, and flour.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You want the butter to be at room temperature so that it can get light and fluffy when you cream it.
- Once the butter and sugar are nice and fluffy, add in a large pinch of salt and your flour. Mix together on low speed and then gradually increase to medium speed.
- The mixture will likely look fairly crumbly, but as long as you can squeeze it together and it holds, you are good to go. If it will not hold together when you squeeze it, then add a tablespoon of milk or water to help it along.
Spread the Crust in the Tart Pan
This particular recipe makes enough to fit into a 9″ round or a 14″ x 4″ rectangular tart pan (this is the one I’m using). If you want to use an 11″ round tart pan, you will need to double the recipe.
One of the things that is so great about this recipe, is that there is no rolling required for the crust. Just spread it out evenly in your pan and you’re good to go!
- Spray your tart pan with non-stick spray to help it release easily after baked.
- Spread your shortbread crust evenly in your tart pan and then use your fingers to firmly press it in. Make sure it is evenly distributed up the sides of the pan as well. If you don’t go up the sides, the filling can seep over and make it very difficult to get out of the shell.
- Transfer the prepared pan onto a sheet pan. This will make it much easier to transfer into the oven. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
Make the Lemon Curd Filling
For the filling we are going to use both lemon juice and lemon zest. The zest is where all of the oils live and it is the most concentrated lemon flavor.
I find that 1 small lemon will yield about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
The filling for this tart is made in a blender or food processor. It makes it come together incredibly quickly and ensures a silky smooth tart.
- Place all of your filling ingredients, except the melted butter, into a food processor or blender. Alternatively you can use an immersion blender. Blend for about 30 seconds until completely combined.
- Next, stir in your melted butter. This will help break up the air bubbles that formed during mixing. Make sure the butter isn’t hot before stirring it in.
- Pour the filling into your prepared tart shell. It is a very thin batter, so be careful not to spill over the edges.
Bake the Tart
- Bake the Tart until the filling is just starting to set, but still has a bit of a jiggle to it. This should take about 22-25 minutes.
- Let it cool on a cooling rack for at least two hours before popping out of its tart pan.
- This is optional, but I prefer to let the tart chill for a few hours before serving it.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar over top of the tart right before serving.
I love to keep this tart really simple and just sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top. However, if you want to do something a little more you could make a fresh whipped cream topping or you could top it with some Swiss meringue to make more of a lemon meringue tart situation.
If you want to add the meringue to the tart, I suggest piping it on top right at the end of baking and then set it under the broiler to get a tiny bit charred. Watch it very closely if you do this!
I really hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you do make it, please leave a review letting me know what you think! And if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!
- Note: This recipe works for a 9" (23 cm) Round tart pan or a 14 x 4" (35 x 10 cm) Rectangular tart pan. If you would like to use an 11" (28 cm) round tart pan, then you will want to double the recipe.
For the Shortbread Crust
- 1 stick (112 gr, 1/2 cup, 4 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (70 gr) granulated sugar
- large pinch of salt
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp (135 gr) all-purpose flour
For the Lemon Curd Filling
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 cup (135 gr) granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 6 tbsp (85 gr, 3 fl oz, 90 ml) lemon juice (about 2 large or 3 small lemons)
- large pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
- powdered sugar
- fresh berries if desired
Note: If you scroll past the recipe card there are more details, a video tutorial, notes, and step-by-step images to walk you through the process.
- At least 45 minutes before starting the recipe, take the butter for your crust and the eggs for your filling out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature.
- Set the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 325 F (160 C).
- Zest and juice your lemons. Measure out the rest of your ingredients. Melt the butter for your filling and set aside to cool slightly.
To Make the Crust:
- In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter and the granulated sugar for the crust. Cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add the salt and the flour and mix until just incorporated.
- Spray your tart pan with non-stick spray. Spread the crust mixture evenly in your tart pan and up the sides. Set on a sheet pan and set aside.
To Make the Filling:
- Combine all of the ingredients for your filling except the butter in a blender or a food processor. Alternatively, you can combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and use an immersion blender. Blend for about 30 seconds until smooth. Stir in the melted butter, make sure it is not really hot.
- Pour the filling mixture into the raw shell. You will likely have some bubbles on top. This will be covered up with powdered sugar when you serve it. However, if you really want to get rid of them and you have a culinary torch, you can quickly run it over the top and it will blow the air bubbles out.
- Transfer the filled tart on the sheet pan into the preheated oven and bake at 325 F (160 C) for 22-25 minutes, until the center barely jiggles.
- Transfer the tart in the pan onto a cooling rack to cool completely, at least 2 hours. Once the tart is cooled, you can use a a butter knife to gently release it from the sides of the pan. The tart can be served at room temperature, or you can choose to chill it before serving. I personally prefer it chilled.
- Right before serving, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the tart and add fresh berries if desired.
- Store leftover lemon tart in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Recipe heavily adapted from Taste & Tell Shortbread Lemon Tart Recipe