Simple elegance defines this luscious French Lemon Tart with a buttery tart shell baked around a silky lemon curd. It's a dessert for all seasons!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an absolutely insatiable, and times insufferable, sweet tooth. My philosophy regarding dessert runs roughly “Life is already too sour to ‘learn’ to like mature desserts.” I don’t want to have to ‘appreciate’ the biscuit-like qualities of ‘black coffee cookies,’ or ‘acquire the taste’ for faux-brownies or imposter-cupcakes whose sole source of ‘true’ deliciousness is the supposedly healthy qualities blended into them from whatever the day’s ‘super vegetable’ or ‘miracle oil’ happens to be.

Instead, dessert should be like an ardent admirer who’s constantly in pursuit of your affection. There should be tempting qualities to dessert, qualities that embody the culinary variant of nigh-irresistible seduction that requires virtuous fortitude to resist rather than to consume. Dessert should be that after dinner pleasure that you anticipate with each savory bite of your nightly meal, or that forbidden pleasure that you sneak away to indulge during the day. Dessert should leave you feeling guilty yet satisfied, as opposed to ‘superior’ for your supposedly ‘mature’ taste.


For the Tart Shell:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • For the Filling:

  • 6 eggs - beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • Grated rind and juice of 4 lemons
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Instructions

  • Preheat Oven 400 degrees F.
  • Sift the flour into a large bowl and cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour.
  • Using your fingers, crumble the mixture into fine breadcrumb like pieces. Add the powdered sugar and work again into the pieces.
  • Add the egg, vanilla and a tablespoon of cold water and continue to work into a dough.
  • Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to a ¼ inch thickness and to fit into a 9-inch pie tin prepared with parchment paper. Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool before filling.
  • To make the curd beat the eggs and put the eggs, sugar and butter into a small pan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add the lemon juice and the lemon rind and continue cooking until the curd has thickened slightly. Pour the curd into the prepared pastry shell.
  • Bake 20 – 25 minutes until the mixture has set.
  • Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Dust with powdered sugar when ready to serve.

  • Recipe from Living the Gourmet.