This Lemon Curd Tart is a fantastic dessert recipe for any springtime occasion like Easter or Mother's Day. You'll love the flakey pastry crust, the custardy tart curd, and of course that lightly sweetened whipped cream on top.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- You can make the tart dough up to 3 days before.
- You can make and assemble the tart 1 day before and then all you have to do is serve.
- You can decorate it with fresh citrus blossoms if you have them in your yard, or fresh mint, or edible pansies, making it a very pretty tart idea for Mother's Day.
- Butter Use salted Land O' Lakes Butter if in the U.S.A, you'll get the best flavor that way.
- All-Purpose Flour No need to use pastry flour
- Egg Yolks: The egg yolks make the lemon curd rich and creamy while also giving it structure.
- Cornstarch: This will help the custard set up and prevent it from being too loose.
- Salt: To spike the flavors
- Water and Sugar: The water will be used with the sugar to create a sugar water which will form the basis of the lemon curd.
- Lemon Juice: Always use fresh lemon juice squeezed from a lemon (not anything bottled) you'll get the best flavor this way.
- Butter: Will smooth out your curd after it thickens
- Heavy Cream: To be used for the whipped cream dollops on top. Always make whipped cream from scratch when decorating a tart like this. The store-bought variety does not hold and will melt in the refrigerator!
- Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is better for homemade whipped cream over regular sugar, because the powdered sugar has cornstarch in it which makes it more stable to set up for hours while refrigerated.
- Vanilla Extract: To flavor the whipped cream.
- Pearl Sprinkles: These sweet little Pearl Sprinkles from Wilton are great for decorating the tart
Tips for Creating the Pastry Dough
- Use very cold butter. The dough will be less sticky this way.
- Use a food processor if you have one. It will combine the flour and butter a lot better.
- Be sure to mix the egg yolk with very cold water or ice water, it will help the dough ball form better.
- Continue to pulse until an actual dough ball forms in the bowl of the processor. Taking it out sooner will result in a crumbly dough that will be hard to roll out.
Tips for Fitting the Dough into The Tin
- Use a 9" removable Bottom Tart Tin. It will be easier to remove your tart once baked and place it on a cake stand.
- Be sure to refrigerate the dough for at least 1-hour before fitting it into the tin. This will prevent shrinking and will also make it easier to roll out.
- Once fitted into the tin, pop the tin into the freezer for 10 minutes. The dough should be very cold before it hits the hot oven, otherwise the butter will melt too quickly and the dough will melt into the tin before it has a chance to set.
- Pierce the bottom of the tin with a fork to avoid buckling in the oven.
- Bake the tart tin on a baking sheet to make it easier to remove from the oven without damaging the crust in the process with an oven mit.
Decorating Your Lemon Tart
I took my inspiration for decorating this tart from the citrus blossoms growing all over Southern California right now. If you live in a citrus growing climate and have room for a small tree (we have Dwarf varieties that we keep in planters) not only will you enjoy the lemons, but also the citrus blossoms will make for great cake garnishes! They also release the most incredible fragrance at night too.
Storing and Serving
- Place the decorated tart, citrus blossoms and all! (Or fresh mint or edible pansies if you are using those instead) in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Leave the tart uncovered to avoid condensation build up.
- Refrigerating the tart will stabilize the whipped cream dollops and make the tart easier to slice clean slices without ruining the whipped cream design.
For The Crust:
- 1 ¼ cups (150g) flour
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
- ½ cup (120 g) butter, chilled and diced into cubes
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tablespoon (30 ml) ice water
- 6 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup (40g) cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon (1.16 g) salt
- 1 ½ cup (355 ml) water
- ¾ cup (100 g) sugar
- 2 tablespoon (28 g) butter
- ⅓ cup (78 ml) of fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups (473 ml) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla Extract
- Pearl candy sprinkles
- Citrus Blossoms or fresh mint sprigs
- Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter cubes a little at a time pulsing in between each addition, until a coarse meal forms.
- Whisk together egg yolk and ice water, and with the machine running, slowly add it to the flour mixture, until a dough ball forms. Remove it from the food processor and with floured hands flatten it into a disk, and wrap it in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface and fit it into a removable bottom 9” inch tart tin. Trim off the edges. And place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Bake at 425F for 20 mins
- For the lemon curd filling, simmer water and sugar on medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- In a heat-safe bowl, combine egg yolks with cornstarch and salt, and whisk until combined. Set aside.
- Slowly add hot sugar water to the egg mixture, with a ladle to begin, 1 scoop at a time, whisking all the while, once you have added 2-3 ladles of the sugar water, then you can pour the rest of the sugar water from the pot. This approach tempers the eggs and prevents them from scrambling by pouring all the sugar water in, at once.
- Return the egg mixture to the pot and heat on medium-high until the custard thickens into the consistency of a pudding. Turn off the heat. Add butter and lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the baked tart crust. Gently shake the tart tin to level out the curd.
- Chill the curd, uncovered, for at least 2 hours before adding the whipped cream.
- For the whipped cream, add the cream, sugar, and vanilla to a bowl of an electric mixer. Whip on high until stiff peaks form. Then divide the cream into two pastry bags with different tips. One with a small star tip, and the other with a tiny round tip.
- Use the star tip to pipe little stars all around the perimeter of the tart. Then use the round tip to create little dots of whipped cream above the start tips, then another row of star tips. Then sprinkle the candy pearls on any undecorated lemon curd surfaces around the tart.
- Refrigerate tart, uncovered, until ready to serve. Ideally, at least 4 hours to firm up the curd, but overnight is even better.