Belula

Lemon Curd Tart

This lemon curd tart also known as lemon meringue pie has a sable crust base filled with tangy lemon curd and topped with swiss meringue. A step by step to this citrus dessert.

Belula March 19, 2021
Lemon curd tart topped with swiss meringue kisses on a marble platter with a pipping bag behind the tart and some meringue kisses around.

A word about the crust: homemade or store bought?

I used this recipe for homemade shortbread crust: Shortbread Crust. You can find all step-by-step explanations to walk you through making your own pie crust.

To make this tart you need a 20 cm/8 inch tart tin with a removable bottom like this one.

This is important as the quantities specified in the recipe are for a tart tin of this size. If you have a tin with a non-removable bottom that's fine too. However, removing the baked shortbread crust will require delicate movements!

You can also make this recipe in a nice ceramic tart mold, that will also become your serving platter, so no need to unmold anything!

Half the lemon curd tart topped with swiss meringue kisses with small bowl and a spatula with meringue behind.
Closeup shot of part of the lemon curd tart as seen from above.
The lemon curd tart topped with swiss meringue kisses with small bowl and a spatula with meringue behind.

How to bake your crust?

Be it homemade or store bought, you must follow some simple instructions to bake your tart dough:

  • Roll out the shortbread crust over a lightly floured surface to 3/4 mm. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 C°/360 F.
  • Place your tart pan over the dough and cut a round 3cm bigger than the pan.
  • Butter and line the pan with the shortbread dough.
  • Pinch the bottom of the dough with a fork and line the inside with parchment paper and place the tart tin in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. This will help the dough hold its shape and not shrink during baking.
  • Fill with pie weights or dry beans and blind bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the weights and the paper and continue to bake until golden. About 12 more minutes.
  • Remove the crust from the tart tin: place the tin over a small bowl and let the border of the tin fall. Hold the bottom of the tin on the palm of your hand and ran a spatula between the crust and tin. Once you are sure it is loose, slide it onto a wire a rack.
  • Let it cool down at room temperature over a wire rack.
Two hands holding the baked shortbread crust.
Half the lemon curd tart topped with swiss meringue kisses with small bowl and a spatula with meringue behind.

What is lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a spread or topping made with lemon juice, sugar, butter, and lemon zest. Curd can be made with all the citrus fruits, like orange, tangerine, or lime.

Lemon curd uses

Lemon curd can be used in many different types of recipes, that include:

  • As a doughnut filling. You have a killer filled donut recipe here Raspberry Jam-Filled Brioche Donuts, only replace the raspberry jam with the lemon curd.
  • As a tart filling.
  • As a spread over brioche or toast.
  • As a topping on cheesecake and even ice-cream.
Two pouring the lemon curd about to pour it over the baked tart crust that is surrounded by lemons.
The lemon curd tart after chilling as seen from above with lemons, meringues and piping bag surrounding it.
The lemon curd tart topped with swiss meringue kisses with small bowl and a spatula with meringue behind it.

How to make lemon curd?

Making lemon curd is amazingly simple and straightforward. To make this easy lemon curd recipe, you must:

  • In a food processor, mix the sugar and the lemon zests for about 2 minutes.
  • Blanche the sugar/zest and egg yolks. To blanche eggs and sugar means that you should whisk until they have gained in volume and changed to a pale-yellow color. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • In the meantime, bring the lemon juice and 50 g of butter to a simmer.
  • Add the blanched sugar/egg yolk/zest mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat constantly mixing with a spatula until it has thickened. Mixing constantly is important because it will prevent the curs from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • It doesn't have to boil, if it does you have gone too far. Lemon curd is ready at 85 C°/185 F if you use a thermometer.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 50 g of butter. Mix until completely incorporated.
Sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of the food processor.
Lemon juice and diced butter in a casserole.
Blanched sugar and egg yolks inside a bowl.
The mixture egg yolk/sugar in the pot with the lemon and the butter to make lemon curd.
Two hands holding the lemon curd ready inside a large pan.
Two hands holding a small bowl with the lemon curd about to pour it over the baked tart crust.

How long can homemade lemon curd be kept?

You can keep the lemon curd, stored in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze lemon curd?

Yes, you can. Stored in airtight container it can be kept for up to 3 months in the freezer.

To defrost, place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

What is swiss meringue?

Swiss meringue is a type of meringue that is made by warming the egg whites and the powdered sugar to 60 C°/140 F before beating them to stiff peaks.

It always follows the same proportions: 1 part of egg whites/2 parts of powdered sugar.

Lemon curd tart topped with swiss meringue kisses on a marble platter with a pipping bag behind the tart and some meringue kisses around.
Closeup shot of part of the lemon curd tart as seen from above.
The sliced lemon curd tart seen from the side.

How to make swiss meringue?

My favourite type of meringue is swiss meringue. I think it is the easiest one to prepare and it always comes out perfect.

To make this swiss meringue recipe, you must:

  • In bowl whisk the egg whites and the powdered sugar.
  • Bring the mixture to 60 C°/ 140 F over a water bath. It will be ready once it's warm and the sugar has completely dissolved into the egg whites. You can check this by rubbing your fingers together.
  • Immediately transfer to your stand mixer and whisk on high speed until the bowl is cold to touch and the meringue forms stiff peaks, and its glossy.
  • Turn the bowl upside down and verify the meringue does not budge. You care now ready to use it.
Closeup of the lemon curd tart after chilling with lemons, meringues and pipping bag surrounding it.
Lemon curd tart topped with swiss meringue kisses on a marble platter with a pipping bag behind the tart and some meringue kisses around.
Closeup of half the lemon curd tart on a marble platter.

Some tips to make sure your swiss meringue comes out perfect.

  • When you are warming up the meringue over the water bath, whisk constantly to avoid the whites from cooking.
  • Whites must not become too hot, otherwise your meringue won't hold stiff peaks, and it will be difficult to frost the tart.
  • Once you are beating the egg-whites/sugar mixture the on your stand mixer, don't stop whisking until meringue is ready.
  • You your meringue is no longer shinny you whisked for too long.
  • If the meringue doesn't hold its shape you have not whisked enough.

How to make lemon curd tart?

To make lemon curd tart you need to:

  • Bake your shortbread crust as instructed in the recipe.
  • Once your tart dough is baked and cooled down place it on a serving plate and proceed to make the lemon curd.
  • Immediately after the lemon curd is ready pour over the baked tart shell. If needed use a spatula to evenly distribute the filling across the tart dough.
  • Refrigerate until very cold and completely set. About 3 hours. I prefer to let it set overnight.
  • Once it has set, make the swiss meringue.
  • Cover the lemon curd tart with swiss meringue either using a piping bag, a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  • If you have a culinary torch, brown the top of the meringue until it is lightly colored. This is completely optional. The tart will taste just as good if you avoid this last step!
Two pouring the lemon curd about to pour it over the baked tart crust that is surrounded by lemons.
Two hands spreading the lemon curd on the tart using a small offset spatula.
Two hands holding the lemon curd tart before placing in the refrigerator to chill.
Two hands piping the swiss meringue onto the lemon curd tart.
Lemon curd tart topped with swiss meringue kisses on a marble platter with a pipping bag behind the tart and some meringue kisses around.
The lemon curd tart topped with burnt swiss meringue.

How long does the lemon curd tart last?

This tart keeps for up to 1 week in the fridge. Although it must be said that the swiss meringue frosting will not be as great.

It will keep in perfect conditions, swiss meringue included for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

The ingredients used in all recipes on this site are measured using the metric system. I use a scale to be precise with my measurements and ensure good results. If you would also like to use a scale, here are some: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition: 306 cal
Cuisine: French

Ingredients

Dough

  • Shortbread Crust 1

Lemon Curd

  • Egg Yolks 4
  • Granulated Sugar 150 g
  • Lemons (zest of two lemons) 2
  • Lemon Juice 100 ml
  • Unsalted Butter 100 g
  • Salt 5 g

Swiss Meringue

  • Powdered Sugar 200 g
  • Egg Whites 100 g

Procedure

  • 1. Line and bake the crust: Roll out the shortbread crust over a lightly floured surface to 3/4 mm. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170 C°/360 F. Place your tart pan over the dough and cut a round 3cm bigger than the pan. Butter and line the pan with the shortbread dough. Pinch the bottom of the dough with a fork and line the inside with parchment paper and place the tart tin in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. Fill with pie weights or dry beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and the paper and continue to bake until golden. About 12 more minutes. Remove the dough from the tart tin and let it cool down at room temperature over a wire rack.
  • 2. Prepare the lemon curd: In a food processor mix the sugar and the lemon zests for about 2 minutes. Blanche the sugar/zest and egg yolks: whisk until they have gained in volume and changed to a pale-yellow color. In the meantime, bring the lemon juice and 50 g of butter to a simmer. Then add the sugar/egg yolk/zest mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat constantly mixing with a spatula until it has thickened. It doesn’t have to boil, if it does you have gone too far. Lemon curd is ready at 85 C°/185 F. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 50 g of butter. Mix until completely incorporated.
  • 3. Fill the tart with lemon curd: Immediately after the lemon curd is ready pour over the baked tart crust. If needed use a spatula to evenly distribute the filling across the tart dough. Refrigerate until very cold and completely set. About 3 hours. I prefer to let it set overnight.
  • 4. Prepare the Swiss meringue: In bowl whisk the egg whites and the powdered sugar. Bring the mixture to 60 C°/ 140 F over a water bath. It will be ready once it’s warm and the sugar has completely dissolved into the egg whites. You can check this by rubbing your fingers together. Immediately transfer to your stand mixer and whisk on high speed until the bowl is cold to touch and the meringue forms stiff peaks, and its glossy.
  • 5. Final touches of the lemon curd tart: Fill a piping bag with a fluted piping tip with the swiss meringue. Top the chilled lemon curd tart with the swiss meringue. You can also do this by simply transferring the meringue on top of the lemon curd, and make swirls using the back of a spoon or a small spatula. Optional: brown the meringue using a culinary torch.
If you made this recipe I would really appreciate it if you leave a rating or comment below! Also, if you share on social media please use #cookwithbelula, I would love to see what you create!
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