Lemon tart



The lemon tart has a simplicity of flavour and texture that has made it a classic. The sucrée tart shell makes for a soft, buttery pastry case that just melts in the mouth. I like to serve this on its own, but you can add a dollop of cream or top with confit citrus zest for extra indulgence.






Skill level

Philippa Sibley


Tart shell

  • 550 g (½ quantity) pâte sucrée, chilled
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten


  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 3 lemons, zested finely (see Note)
  • 9 (450 g) eggs
  • 250 ml strained lemon juice
  • 250 ml thickened cream (35% milk fat)
  • pure icing sugar, for dusting to serve

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time 10 minutes

To make the tart shell, reheat the oven to 180ºC (Gas 4). Line a baking tray with baking paper and place a 20 cm-diameter x 4 cm-deep dessert ring on top.

Work the pâte sucrée and roll out to line the ring. Freeze the tart shell until very firm. (To make your own pastry, mix 180g chopped, softened butter with the zest of 2 lemons and 110g icing sugar in a large bowl until combined. Add 2 cups of plain flour and 2 tbsp iced water until mixture forms a soft dough; add more water if necessary. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Shape into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 1 hour.)

For the filling, rub the lemon zest into the sugar to release the oils. Whisk the eggs together with the lemon zest and sugar mixture until foamy. Stir in the lemon juice, then the cream, and set aside for the proteins to begin breaking down while you blind bake the tart shell.

To blind bake the tart shell, remove the tart shell from the freezer and line carefully with foil. Make sure the foil is flush with all the surfaces of the pastry. Remember any creases or spaces will result in faults in the shell.

Fill the shell all the way to the top with uncooked rice and fold the foil down around the edge of the ring. Bake the shell for about 20 minutes.

Flick the foil upwards and pull gently to release the steam. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until light golden brown.

Remove the foil and rice carefully and return to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature 130ºC (Gas 1) and continue baking until the tart shell is dry and golden brown all over.

Remove the shell. If there are any cracks, use a little of the pastry scraps and the beaten egg yolk to patch them up while the tart shell is still hot.

To bake the filling, whisk the filling briefly and skim off any big bubbles. Return the shell to the oven and with the door open, pour the filling into the shell right to the top. Carefully close the oven door and bake undisturbed for 50 minutes.

Check the tart by very gently wobbling the tray. If the filling still seems liquid, give the tart another 5-10 minutes.

Once cooked, cool the tart for 10 minutes before trimming the overhanging pastry from the rim. Allow it to cool completely before lifting off the ring. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.


• Always wash citrus fruits before zesting. Citrus fruits can taste mouldy if they are not washed.


Recipe from PS Desserts by Philippa Sibley, with photographs by Mark Roper. Published by Hardie Grant Books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *