Saturday, September 23, 2023

Lemon Custard Tart

Are you a lemon lover? This lemon custard tart might be right up your alley. It's got plenty of lemon flavor all right, but it's not as sharp (or as difficult to make) as a recipe made with lemon curd. The custard tempers the tartness of the lemon. It uses milk in the recipe, not cream, so if you eliminated the whipped cream topping (I know, it's a silly suggestion, but you could decorate with berries on top instead), you might even call it nutritious. I used Lactaid since that's what I had, but you could use whole, part-skim, or fully skim milk.
The recipe for the lemon custard is from Everyday Pie, but the crust is from Preppy Kitchen. They were meant for each other.
I served it to my Italian chit chat group recently, and they all loved it. 
I hope you do too.

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printable recipe here


(recipe adapted from

This made more than would fit in my 9" tart pan. Next time I would use aa 10-10 1/2" tart pan and make 1 1/2 times the crust recipe. For a pie pan, it would be fine as written below.

1 tart/pie crust 

5 eggs, divided

¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon salt 

⅓ cup (70 grams) lemon juice

1 Tablespoon Limoncello (optional if you don't have it)

2 cups (260 grams) milk

1 teaspoon lemon zest


(recipe from

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour (150g)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar (50 gr)

2 tbsp. cream (10 ml)

1 egg yolk

  • ¼ tsp salt
1 Cup whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
zest of one lemon


Whisk the egg yolk and cream together in a small bowl and set aside.
Measure the flour into a large bowl then add the salt, and sugar. Whisk together then add the cubed butter. Work the butter in with a pastry cutter or your clean hands.
Once you have a crumbly mixture with roughly pea-sized pieces of butter throughout you can drizzle in the yolk cream mixture and mix together with a fork or knife. Transfer The dough onto a piece of plastic, press and fold together, then shape into a disk, wrap and chill for about an hour.
Roll the dough into a circle then transfer to a 9 or 10 inch tart pan (one with a removable base is preferable). Press into the pan then dock the bottom and trim the edge. Freeze for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375F then blind bake the crust for about 20 minutes (I use a piece of aluminum foil into which I put some dry beans and rice. I have used the same ones for more than 20 years).
Bake until a light golden color, remove from the oven and then reduce the oven temperature to 325F. 
Whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Add in the remaining 4 eggs, the leftover egg yolk, and the lemon juice, and whisk together. 
Heat the milk in a medium pot over medium heat until small bubbles form along the edges, about 120ºF.
Next, temper the egg mixture: Slowly pour in 1 cup of the warmed milk to the eggs, while gently whisking. Then, pour the whole egg mixture slowly back into the pot of milk while gently whisking. Continue to cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture has just barely thickened and reached 170-180ºF. To double-check the custard has formed, take a wooden spoon and coat it with the milk. Draw a horizontal line on the back of the spoon with your finger. If the line “holds” then your custard is set. If the line collapses right away, the custard needs another minute or so. However do not bring the mixture to a boil, this will overcook the custard.
Strain the mixture to catch any bits of cooked eggs. Add in the limoncello and the zest and then slowly pour the filling into the baked crust.
Place the tart onto your oven’s middle rack and bake it for 30-40 minutes, or until the custard has puffed up and set nearly throughout, but still slightly wobbly in the middle. 
Remove the tart from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool.
Once the tart has come to room temperature, move the pie to the refrigerator to finish setting up, at least 4 hours.
Whip the cream and confectioner's sugar, then decorate with a piping bag, or just use a spoon to place dollops on the tart. Use a lemon zester to add more decoration over the whipped cream. Serve chilled.

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