That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Tarte au Citron AKA French Lemon Tart on a cake stand with a slice removed

Tarte au Citron AKA French Lemon Tart

Home ยป Dessert Recipes ยป Tarte au Citron AKA French Lemon Tart Jump To Recipe

This French lemon tart, or Tarte au Citron, is the most exquisite citrus dessert you’ll ever experience.

With a buttery shortbread crust and a dreamy lemon sabayon, this lemon dessert is a winner!!

 Tarte au Citron AKA French Lemon Tart on a cake stand with a slice removed

Tarte au Citron

Besides chocolate, the hubby loves lemon desserts. I baked up some lemon squares for the Secret Recipe Club this month, and both Bill and Katie gave them rave reviews. Then a few days before we traveled to visit my in-laws, I saw my fruit bowl was still full of gorgeous lemons. I thought a simple lemon tart, or Tarte au Citron, would be perfect. A shortbread crust filled with a luscious, lemon sabayon would certainly fit the bill. And it would be a nice treat to bring along on our visit. This trumps any and every lemon dessert I’ve ever made or tasted. The buttery crust and creamy filling were an exquisite combination. My sweet mother-in-law enjoys all my cooking, but this one drew extra accolades. And though my father-in-law wasn’t feeling up to par, he ate a thin slice each night. Sweet things weren’t appealing, but the right balance of tart and sweet (and creamy, I must add) went down just fine.

A slice of Tarte au Citron AKA French Lemon Tart garnished with raspberries

Tips for Making a Tarte au Citron

With just two components, the crust and the filling, each must be made with precision.

  • The crust recipe is pretty straightforward. Like with a pastry crust, cold butter is utilized so that the crust is tender.
  • Pulse the mixture in a food processor until coarse crumbs are formed. Then add the liquids and process only until the mixture holds together when pinched between your fingers.
  • Chilling the crust before it’s baked prevents shrinkage and also allows any gluten strands which have developed to relax.
  • The filling was adapted from Thomas Keller, and you must make sure it thickens properly during the cooking process. If it’s runny, it needs to be heated a while longer while whisking constantly. 
  • The filling will thicken a bit more as it cools, but it should reach the consistency of loose pudding while in your double boiler. Mine took longer than the original recipe stated, so be prepared.
  • PRO-Tip: Always use fresh lemon juice. The bottled stuff will not not give you the true lemon flavor needed in this tart.
  • I love to garnish my desserts with fresh berries and any kind would work here. See what looks best at the market, like strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.  
  • A little dollop of sweetened whipped cream would push this over the top, especially if you’re serving it for company. If you’re a fan of lemon desserts, you must make this one!
Tarte au Citron AKA French Lemon Tart garnished with raspberries

Looking for more citrus desserts? This Greek Lemon Bundt Cake is another winner as are my Best Lemon Bars! These Glazed Lemon Scones make a delicious breakfast, brunch or tea time snack.

Tarte au Citron Pinterest collage Print

Love this recipe? Please consider rating it in the comments below. You can also follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Tarte au Citron | An exquisite lemon dessert

Tarte au Citron

A sublime lemon tart adapted from Thomas Keller and Bon Appetit

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Tart
  • Method: Mixing, Baking, Simmering
  • Cuisine: French



  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon ice water


  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 2 large egg yolks, cold
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold butter, cut into pieces


  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter; cut in using on/off turns until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Mix yolk and ice water in small bowl. Add to crumb mixture; process until dough begins to clump together. Press over bottom and up sides of 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Trim edges. Pierce crust all over with fork. Chill 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ยฐ. Line crust with foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue baking until pale golden, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer crust to rack.
  3. Bring about 1ยฝ inches of water to a boil in a pot that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl you will be using for the filling. Meanwhile, in a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Set the bowl over the pot and, using a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl (for even heating…I didn’t do this; just whisked). After about 2 minutes, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened, add one-third of the lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously and, when the mixture thickens again, add another one-third of the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Continue whisking vigorously, still turning the bowl, until the mixture is thickened and light in color and the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the bowl. The total cooking time should be 8 to 10 minutes.(mine took a lot longer….maybe 15-20…just make sure it has thickened)
  5. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the water. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time. The filling may loosen slightly, but it will thicken and set as it cools. Pour the warm filling into the tart crust and place the pan on a baking sheet.
  6. Serve at room temperature or cold. May garnish with whipped cream and raspberries if desired.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

74 comments on “Tarte au Citron AKA French Lemon Tart”

  1. Your taste au citron does look divine, Liz. The fact that your father-in-law wasn’t feeling well but still enjoyed your dessert is a high compliment, indeed. Very much appreciate the tips on sometimes temperamental custard fillings.

    P.s. Your touch of raspberries is magnifique! As is your suggestion of whipped cream =)

  2. This really looks like a special dessert! Happy Easter:@)
    PS-I’m making your spinach souffle today-thanks!

  3. Yummm…yummm… simply irresistible! Slurpppp…
    Happy weekend.

  4. I just love lemon. I think it’s my favourite flavor – although it’s probably tied with coconut and vanilla ๐Ÿ˜‰ My first successful recipe was a lemon meringue pie, and since then I just love lemon pies, lemons bars or absolutely everything that has lemon in it! ๐Ÿ˜€ That pie is amazing ๐Ÿ˜€

    Happy Easter! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. What a beautiful lemon dessert. You did a great job on making it look so professionally done. Happy Easter to you and your family.

  6. This is so pretty. Perfect choice for a Springtime dessert. Happy Easter!

  7. Lizzy,
    Your tart looks delicious and your photography is fantastic.
    Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter.

  8. This tart looks and sounds spectacular, It’s the best feeling when you hit that ‘ultimate’ dish or dessert that ‘everyone’ loves. I bet it will be requested many times from hereon in! Now, I’m dying to try it – the lemon pastry cream from Thomas Keller IS amazing!

  9. What a gorgeous and special dessert. I’m really liking how the filling has butter in it. That plus a buttery crust sounds fabulous.

  10. Lizzy , another gorgeous goodies ! Beautifully-made and too pretty to eat lol I can’t help but sigh over your photos ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Those extra yolks… they make it creamier than any other filling I ever made. Love this recipe Liz! Iยดm saving it right now. And if you tell me those raspberries travelled well too, I will silently be jealous of you forever…jaja
    Have a great easter sunday my friend!

  12. What a perfect pairing (the shortbread crust and that luscious filling)! Bet the family was happy with this as well!


  14. Liz, this tart is gorgeous!! Your photos are soooo yummy!
    I love lemon desserts, and this one would make me incredibly happy!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy Easter!!

  15. This is simply divine, Liz. Of course, everything you make always is.

  16. Beautiful… the dessert and the photos! This sounds like something my family would adore. Thank you so much for sharing it with us ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. That looks so gorgeous! I love looking at your desserts! Happy Easter to you Lizzy:)

  18. What a beautiful tart! I think Tarte au citron may just be my favourite lemon recipe!

  19. It looks very yummy !! But i have a question wht did you mean by “7 tablespoons chilled, cut into pieces ” in the crust ingredients ..?! And thnx a lot for sharing this type of beauty <3

  20. How very pretty a dessert!

  21. One word…Perfection! Your tart is beautiful and I think you picked every perfect raspberry to top the tart with. Lovely recipe and I love Thomas Kellers recipes.

  22. I love my lemons too, and you’ve definitely sold me on this dessert. Yum!

  23. this looks great and very delicious!!!

  24. this looks great and very delicious!!

  25. Tarts and fresh berries do together so well. This is wonderful.

  26. I would love this. I just know it!

  27. Ooh this looks divine Liz!! I absolutely love your tart and really wish I could eat a slice right now!! So good ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Lizzy this is absolutely perfect and beautiful!!

  29. Love how simple yet decadent this tart is! Sometimes simple desserts are the best.

  30. That looks totally amazing! I love lemon desserts too! Ones like this with the creamy, tart lemon filling and the buttery crust – just amazing!

  31. I love lemon! Anything citrus, really. This looks wonderful – something I need to make. And I haven’t read any of Keller’s cookbooks – I really need to! Good stuff – thanks.

  32. What a beautiful looking tart. It looks absolutely perfect, even with the slice taken out of it. And the raspberries are such a pretty touch. Lovely to see a lemon dessert after seeing so much chocolate around because of Easter xx

  33. Your tarts are always perfect Liz, hope your Easter has been great!

  34. Kinda similar to our house, hubby loves chocolate, I love fruity desserts, especially lemon treats! Your tart looks like a treat I would see in a magazine it is so pretty! Sounds delicious, Hugs, Terra

  35. Beautiful suggestion and presentation. Thank you for the warnings.

  36. Oh I’d knock my kids out of the way for this one. I’d likely knock yours out of the way too. Possibly you too. Just warning ya.

  37. At first I thought this was Julia Child’s, but really any lemony goodness is A-OK with me!

  38. Liz, your tart looks lovely and love when lemon desserts get your mouth watering. Thanks for the advise on the custard and to keep cooking until the proper consistency as you would be bummed if you went through all the steps and ended up with a runny tart. Have a lovely weekend.

  39. gorgeous as usual! hope you had a wonderful easter!

  40. Raspberries. Lemons. Two of the prettiest words in the English dictionary. I know this is good.

  41. I love all things lemon Liz and always with berries, so I know that I will make this and LOVE it!

  42. This is stunning, Liz. I’ve been on a citrus kick lately so this is totally crave-worthy. Something about spring…or the hope of spring. ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Lizzy, it’s so pretty and so yummy! I know I will love this lemony tart.

  44. That’s one spectacular citrus tart, Liz. And the fresh raspberry garnish just makes the whole tart even more appealing.

  45. just beautiful and perfect of course dear Lizzy!:)
    I sent you a card did you received?

  46. Considering that I always go for decadent chocolate desserts first, I must say this tart is gorgeous and looks amazingly delicious as well. This has definitely inspired me to spice things up and bake something tangy and fresh! Thank you!

  47. Fabulous…I want a piece of that! How beautiful!

  48. Hi there,
    You have some amazing recipes here…. I almost drooled on the computer watching this one…. Pity I am a vegetarian… Can you please give some substitutes in your recipes for vegetarians and vegans.. I think that would be great. Just a suggestion.

    Keep up the good work

  49. Oh my such a beautiful Tarte au citron that could even convince my husband who is not a lemon fan ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. That’s the prettiest thing I have seen in a very long time! Simple, elegant, just beautiful, Liz!

  51. Yet again my friend you have created and photographed a dessert that I don’t think I can live without. Your presentation with the raspberries is gorgeous.

  52. Great recipe for macaron lovers, Liz, as it uses 3 yolks. Looks so good, I’m making double portions!

  53. Your tart looks so delicious! I just love the combination of lemon tart and raspberries and your photos are gorgeous. ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. WOW!!!! I think that says it all!! Can I have a slice or two – please?

  55. One word for this tart… STUNNING! ๐Ÿ™‚ I wish I could get such clean slices out of my desserts for the pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Liz!
    Absolutely stunning tart! I love it! It’s perfection.
    I’m like your husband: give me chocolate or a lemon dessert (well, and now olive oil cake) and I’m happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love this!

  57. Holy yum, Liz, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more stunning, perfect tart! This is GOR.GEOUS (it’s so gorgeous it warrants being split into two words). My husband would go crazy over this, he’s a fiend for lemons.

  58. Liz: Your tart au citron is so elegant and look so delicious that I am pinning it. Stunning pictures!!!!

  59. This is beautiful Liz! It still feels like winter here in Amsterdam, but this feels like it might bring some much needed summer citrus in our lives ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. I can’t get over how perfect this tarte is, Liz! Gorgeous!

  61. Very pretty ! Could dive into one of these now ! yummm !

  62. Making my rounds Liz, thanks for sharing at Foodie Friends Friday!

  63. What a beautiful tart! I’m actually not a big fan of citrus desserts, but after reading all the #SS citrus desserts, I feel compelled to try them all… and this makes the top of the list … we sure do have some amazing talent here!

  64. Pinned. Looks yummy~ Thanks for sharing at SAt. Dishes. ~ Paula

  65. There’s always room for a slice of lemon tart, it has such a clean and refreshing flavor.

  66. Love this recipe! Thanks for linking to Saturday Dishes and I am featuring you on HammockTracks today!

  67. Sounds like heaven to me, Lizzy.

  68. liz this looks fabulous I would love some right now! I think this will be on the Easter dinner dessert menu this year! thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.