Tarte au Citron (French Lemon Tart)



By Cat, July 2015 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Pastry Brisée (Short or Crumb Crust); 2. Pastry Sucrée (French Rich Short Crust) 3. Pasta Frolla (Italian Rich Short Crust); 4. Almond Meal & Coconut Flour Pie Crust (gluten-free)

I found this recipe on the Viking River Cruises website (1), where they propose this as a July 4 celebration dessert, since the taste is a French creation, and the French helped us to win the Revolutionary War. An interesting idea, but no matter what the occasion, this tart is a real treat. It is best made using Meyer lemons because of their slight orange flavor and wonderful color. But if you can’t get them, regular lemons will also work, and you can add a bit of orange zest with the lemon juice when you heat the mixture.

Tarte au Citron (French Lemon Tart)

Top-off your outdoor gathering with a dessert that’s like a burst of lemon on the tongue. French Lemon Tart (Tarte au Citron) is a citrusy lemon pastry usually topped with powdered sugar. If you can, get the slightly larger, sunnier Meyer Lemons. They bring a puckery tartness, nuanced sweetness and slight tang of orange to what guests will say is a definite “thumbs-up.”

The introduction to the original recipe indicates a ‘citrusy lemon pastry’ which I interpreted as a lemony flavor in the crust, then wondered why the recipe doesn’t include lemon zest and/or juice in the crust. But then I realized the reference to ‘pastry’ means the entire tart, not just the crust. That said, if you use the original recipe’s crust, and find it needs added liquid, I would recommend using lemon juice.

As an alternative, you can use one of my pastry recipes (see links, above).

For sweetener, I provide all-sugar, and stevia/sugar combo options. While, I’ve not yet tested the stevia version for this recipe, I have used stevia to sweeten lemon curd and it tasted just as good as when I use sugar – stevia and lemon work well together.

Makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients & Equipment

  • Pastry:
  • ½ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar (or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder plus1 Tbsp sugar)
  • 7 Tbsp real butter, plus extra for buttering the taste pan
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp unbleached who all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of unrefined sea salt
  • Filling:
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp real butter
  • ¾ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar (or ¼ tsp stevia extract powder plus ¼ cup sugar)
  • Garnish: 
  • Unrefined Powdered Sugar: Make Your Own, or regular powdered cane sugar
  • Equipment:
  • 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom
  • small and medium mixing bowls


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter tart pan.
  2. Pastry: If using stevia, sift it with the flour into the medium bowl. Add all/remaining pastry ingredients to the medium bowl, kneading lightly to combine. If it acts like it needs moisture, add a bit of lemon juice to some water and add this 1 teaspoon at a time to the mix.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Place the chilled dough on a work surface dusted with flour and roll out ⅛-inch thick. Transfer to tart pan and pierce bottom several times with a fork. Chill until filling is made.
  5. Filling: Place eggs and egg yolks in a small bowl, whisking to combine.
  6. Place the lemon juice, butter and sugar (and stevia, if using) in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until butter has melted and mixture is combined. Pour a little of the lemon juice mixture into eggs, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Pour egg mixture into lemon juice mixture and stir constantly over low heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble around edges.
  7. Pour lemon mixture into the tart shell and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until top is golden.
  8. Let cool before pushing on pan’s removable bottom to separate it and the tart from the pan.

Serving Suggestion

  • Dust top with powdered sugar before serving.


  1. Viking River Cruises recipe: vikingrivercruises.com/email/TarteAuCitron.html

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