Lemon Tarts

written by cookeatlove on January 23, 2010 in Dessert with 19 comments

Lemon Tarts

Tart Crust (print recipe)-yields 24 mini tarts, 12 regular sized tarts (muffin tin), or one pie.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

Kosher salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (recommended: Crisco)

1/4 cup ice water

Combine the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times until the butter is in small bits. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out the dough and shape into circles, depending on size of tarts.  I used a mini tart pan (mini muffing tin) and found a glass that fit perfectly.  If I wasn’t doing mini tarts I would use a regular muffin tin.  Don’t stretch the dough when placing it in the pan or it will shrink during baking.   Prick the bottoms of each tart.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.


1/2 cup sugar

Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature

Whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until frothy. With the mixer still running, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until the meringue is thick and shiny, about 2 minutes.

Lemon Filling:

1/4-pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 extra-large eggs

3 extra-large egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)

1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest (6 to 8 lemons)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 1 minute. On low speed, add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, and then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Don’t worry; it will look curdled.

Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Whisk briskly when it starts to thicken and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t allow it to boil!  Pour into cooled tart shells.  Let sit for 5-7 min in cooled tart shells and then pipe the meringue on each one with a large star tip. Be sure the meringue covers the entire top and touches the edges of the shells, to prevent it from shrinking. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.

Garnish with some lemon zest if you are in the mood.

Photography lessons with the talented Sherri Koop.