After my previous heartbreak, I decided to sit down and research before making my next tart to ensure that it would be a delicious success – after the strawberry tart fiasco, I couldn’t bear anything but perfection from my next attempt in order to not give up on tarts forever.
So, I sat down with my favourite cookbooks and browsed the tart recipes, making notes of any tips offered as well as comparing ingredients and seeing what different chefs recommended. The recipe that I eventually formulated was not an easy one – it is extremely time consuming and requires a full day of pre-preparation in order to be made, but oh my GOD the results are worthwhile!
The Best Lemon Tart Recipe
The custard filling is thick and silky smooth, lemony with some tartness but doesn’t make your mouth pucker, and the pastry is thick and firm enough to hold each slice, but isn’t doughy but soft, slightly biscuitty and crumbly.
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After my sister had her first bite, her eyes literally rolled back into the back of her head and said that this is the best lemon tart recipe she has ever tasted. HAH! Much better than the original Stephanie Alexander recipe I tried, this one is definetely going to be making many more appearances in my kitchen!
Now, for the lemon tart recipe. I do warn you that it is intensely time-consuming, but the results are definetely worthwhile. If you have your own favourite recipe for a sweet shortcrust pastry though, use that and then try this filling – it is heavenly!
Lemon Tart Recipe Ingredients
- 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200g pure icing sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tbsp milk
- 250g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 150ml lemon juice, strained
- 250g caster sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 6 medium-sized eggs
How to Make Lemon Tart Recipe
1. Beat together all the ingredients for the filling, then strain through a fine sieve or muslin – the reason for this is that you want to get rid of any bubbles or impurities. I had some get through in mine, and they caused those white bits in the top picture. It doesn’t affect the taste as they’re almost a big meringue-y, but it does affect the aesthetics.
2. Pour carefully into a jug and leave overnight in the fridge for the flavours to combine and the mixture to thicken.
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3. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, then beat in vanilla, egg and milk. Once this is all combined, slowly add the flour till the mixture just comes together. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.
4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Remove lemon filling from fridge to become room temperature. On a well-floured surface, roll out the pastry to 6mm thickness and place in the tart tin. Prick all over with a fork then place back in fridge for 15 minutes.
5. Line tart case with foil, making sure that it is completely covered then fill with pastry weights (I use uncooked rice) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake for a further 10 minutes or till base is firm and dry. Remove from oven and cool completely, then place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 120 degrees C. Place tart case on a baking tray and carefully fill with lemon cream mixture. Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or till it has *just* set but is still just barely wobbly in the centre.
7. Remove from oven to cool completely, then chill overnight in the fridge. Once completely set, it’s ready to be sliced and served with a little dusting of icing sugar, or if you’re feeling much more indulgent, with a nice big dollop of cream or good quality vanilla ice cream 😉