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A lemon tart with a fancy powdered sugar stencil.

Lemon Tart

Heather Smoke
This classic lemon tart is made with a flaky, all-butter pastry crust filled with silky, tart lemon filling.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Chill Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings10

Equipment

  • 9-inch Round Tart Pan with Removable Bottom (or a deep-dish pie pan)
  • Pie Weights or Dried Beans
  • Pie Crust Shield

Ingredients
 

Crust

  • ½ recipe All-Butter Perfect Pie Dough
  • 1 egg white

Filling

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice, from 4 large lemons (or 6-8 small lemons)

Topping (optional)

  • non-melting powdered sugar, for stenciling, OR
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions
 

Crust

  • Prepare 1/2 recipe All-Butter Perfect Pie Dough. This recipe will make a thin, flaky pastry crust.
    Alternatively, for a thicker, buttery, cookie-like shortbread crust, prepare and pre-bake the shortbread crust as instructed in this Maple Tart recipe.
  • Once your pie dough is ready to roll out, line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Set your tart pan with removable bottom on the baking sheet.
  • On a floured surface, roll out the dough thinly, to almost 1/8 inch thick.
  • Transfer the dough to the tart pan, and fit it against the bottom and up the sides of the pan, pressing gently against the sides. You don't want to stretch or pull the dough, but allow enough slack in the dough so you can fit it snugly down into the edge of the pan.
  • Use a sharp knife or scissors to trim the edge of the dough, allowing about 1/2 inch overhang. Keeping this overhang will allow for shrinkage as it bakes, and then you'll finish trimming the dough even with the top of the pan after baking the crust.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F, and freeze the crust in the pan for 20 minutes while the oven is pre-heating.
  • Spray a piece of aluminum foil lightly with non-stick spray, and fit the foil, greased side down, against the frozen crust. Fill the foil with dried beans or pie weights.
  • Bake the crust, covered with the foil and dried beans, for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, scoop the beans out of the foil, then gently peel the foil off the crust.
  • Brush the egg white over the bottom and sides of the crust. Return the pan to the oven, and bake, uncovered, for an additional 12-15 minutes, just until the crust is baked through and starting to turn a pale golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven. Immediately use a sharp knife to trim the edge of the crust so it's perfectly even with the top of the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

Filling

  • While the crust is baking, you can whisk up the filling.
  • In a bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Use your hands to rub the zest into the sugar for a minute or two, until it's very fragrant and resembles damp sand.
  • Whisk in the flour, then whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Set aside until needed.
  • TIP: You'll need 1 egg white to brush over the crust, but you won't be using the whole white. Since the filling uses 4 eggs, whisk in 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk, saving the 4th white to brush over the crust. After brushing the crust with egg white, add the remainder of the white to the lemon filling.
  • After prebaking the crust, and letting it cool for 10 minutes, make sure you've reduced the oven temperature to 325 F.
  • Whisk up the filling again and gently pour it into the crust. Place a pie crust shield over the tart pan to cover just the edge of the crust so it doesn't get overly brown. Very slowly, so you don't slosh the filling, place the baking sheet with the tart pan on the center oven rack.
  • Bake the tart for about 25-30 minutes. The filling should be just set, with a very slight wobble in the center, and no browning on top.
  • Cool the tart at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours until chilled and set.

Topping

  • If you're making a powdered sugar stencil, be sure to use non-melting powdered sugar, since regular powdered sugar will melt and become splotchy.
  • For a whipped cream topping, use an electric mixer to whip the cold heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.
  • Remove the sides of the pan, and serve slices of the tart with the whipped cream.

Notes

Leftover tart should be loosely covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Keyword Lemon, Pie, Tart
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