Lemon dessert recipes are most often some of the easiest to prepare. Relying on very few simple ingredients, the freshly-squeezed lemon juice flavor shines in the bright tart. The crust for this tart is traditional and forgiving, considering all the desired flakey buttery goodness. It also keeps in the fridge for two to three days, making it wonderful to prepare in advance or to have as an after-dinner-all-week-sweet bite. Edible flowers, easy to grow in a backyard or terrace pot, elevate this tart into pretty brunch or birthday treats that are gloriously elegant and all-American rustic for those non-cake lovers.

cuisine American
difficulty Moderate
season Year Round
serves 10

Ingredients for the Pâte Sucrée

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes and put in the freezer for 15 minutes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 (25 grams) large egg (whisk egg and divide in half)
  • 3/4 (18 grams) large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons water

Ingredients for the lemon Curd

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 (80 grams) egg yolks
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
  • Lemon slices, optional
  • Edible flowers, optional garnish

Directions for the Pâte Sucrée

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Add the flour and the salt and whisk until well combined.
  2. Use a knife and fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Mix until the dough has the texture of peas (no large chunks of butter).
  3. Add the egg and yolk and mix to combine. Add the water and mix until it almost starts to come together.
  4. Take the dough from the bowl, squeeze, and knead it by hand until it comes together. If necessary, sprinkle it with more water or flour to help create a smooth consistency. 
  5. Form the dough into a disk, cover it with plastic wrap, and chill for four hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Divide the dough in half. Roll 1/2 of the dough into a rough rectangle, transfer, and press the dough into a 4.25" W x 13.75" L tin tart tray.
  8. Fill the lined tart tray with beans, rice, or pie weights to the top (this helps avoid the sides from shrinking while baking). 
  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake for another 20 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown.

Directions for the Lemon Curd

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, add 1 1/2" of water, then heat to a simmer.
  2. In a large metal or glass bowl, whisk the eggs, the yolks, and the sugar, then stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  3. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan and stir constantly, cooking until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a container.
  5. Add the butter and stir in until smooth.
  6. Set the container on an ice water bath and stir occasionally until cool.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  8. Spread the curd into the baked crust.
  9. Before serving, top with optional paper-thin half-moon slices of lemon dipped in sugar and/or viola or other edible flowers.