P&Q: Tartest Lemon Tart

I am actually ahead of the game this week and made my tarts today. However, I was watching hulu at the time and burned them. HA! So, jokes on me. I will be remaking them this weekend.

Proceed with the questions and comments. :)

47 thoughts on “P&Q: Tartest Lemon Tart

  1. This was um, well, it was very TART! Like super tart. Either that or my lemons were super sour. I did make the mistake of not tasting the mixture before baking it – so beware.

    Oh dang it! I just realized that I lost the photos to this today when my computer crashed.

  2. I didn’t think it was especially tart. I guess it depends on the lemons.

    I ended up baking mine longer than the recipe recommended. It never looked set; in fact, it almost looked like it was boiling. This was 5 minutes beyond the maximum recommended baking time for a half-sized tart. The crust was getting really dark. I took it out, and it set up in the fridge.

    I thought it was really really good.

  3. I have Meyer lemons & sugar pureed together in the freezer. I was planning to make this tart even if it wasn’t chosen for TWD!

    By the way, Dorie mentions that her recipe was inspired by other two whole-lemon tart recipes. One was Daniel Boulud’s and you can find it here:

    I have already taken one idea from this recipe — I removed the lemon peel and then pared away the white pith. (It tends to be very bitter.) Then I pureed the lemon peel and flesh with the sugar. We’ll see how it works…

    I like the idea of scattering raspberries over the bottom of the tart, too…time to start using up the ones in the freezer.

    • Barbara- I wish I had thought to take the pith off. Mine did turn out on the bitter side. And not bitter in a good way. Its really overpowering. If I have time I am going to make them again this weekend. Ill give your method a go.

  4. I am psyched to make this. I LOVE lemon desserts.

    One question though… in my small kitchen I don’t have the room for many kitchen appliances, and so I don’t own a blender or a food processor. I can’t really think of any way to make this recipe without those… can y’all?

    I’ll likely end up just borrowing someone else’s blender or food processor, so it’s not a big deal. I was just curious if some of my fellow fab bakers had any suggestions?

  5. for the same tart the barbra mentions above, dorie also addresses the bitterness question in the comments section here:


    she suggests that a reader blanch the lemon slices in boiling water to mellow out the bitterness. that is what i tried with mine..it’s in the oven now, so i’ll let you know tonight how that went. i also did not include the stubby end bits of the lemon, as they are basically all pith with no flesh.

  6. Thanks for the links, Barbara and Steph. Barbara, it sounds like you removed the peel in large pieces instead of finely zesting like that recipe says? Also, did you strain the pureed mixture or not. I’m trying to figure out which method to use. I’m very curious about this recipe but sure don’t want bitter.

  7. I used the pith, and the dessert has a bitter edge to it, but I really liked it. I did cut off one of the stubby ends, and I used small organic lemons, if that makes a difference.

  8. ok, mine is now out of the oven…at the sort of half-way point where you turn the temp up to 350, the batter had puffed way up and was kind of crazy looking…thought it would overflow (dorie notes that this happens, so i wasn’t too worried). by the time it had it’s final baking, tho, it had sunk down below the height of the crust, and is sort of splotchy brown. am hoping this is normal?

  9. Ridiculously tart. Face making, puckered lips, squeezed eyes tart. A little too much for me but my guests who love lemon desserts thought it was amazing.
    And easy, easy, easy! Besides the tart crust it was fast and extremely quick to whip (or blend) up. I also left it in a little longer to bake through the center.

    I guess it depends on the lemons regarding the tartness if Bridget didn’t have the same outcome. PERFECT SPRING DESSERT!

  10. it could be a question of palate. I’m constantly making desserts, tasting, and thinking they’re too sweet, and handing them off to my boyfriend who puckers up his lips and can barely tolerate the exact same thing I just thought was too sweet.

  11. I agree that folks seem to have a very wide range of liking / tolerance for sourness. Jim and I both are on the “liking sour / not liking too sweet” side so I think we’ll like this recipe. Those of you who are more on the sweet side — I would definitely suggest blanching lemons, removing white pith, and maybe adding a bit more sugar. Or, find someone who loves tart desserts!

    I prepared and froze my lemon/sugar puree more than a month ago, so I don’t quite remember what I did. I either grated the peel off with my Microplane or took it off in strips with a peeler. Can’t remember. I do remember that then I trimmed off the white pith, cut up the lemons and removed the seeds, and pureed peel, lemon, and sugar together in the blender. Then I froze it. I’m not planning to strain it.

  12. Thank you, Barbara, for the advice on not using the lemon pith. I will use the Dorie recipe in the website you recommended, complete with raspberries at the base and only the lemon itself in the mix.

  13. ok, a few comments up, i mentioned that i blanched my lemon slices before making the filling. had some tart for dessert, and it was not at all bitter. (but of course, who knows–maybe my lemon was not that bitter to start?) very good!

  14. Heather, I think we are supposed to start from Dorie’s recipe, not start from an entirely different recipe. But it’s ok to fiddle around with Dorie’s recipe, which is what I will be doing.

  15. I used a whole Meyer lemon, the whole thing, and half a regular lemon with the pith removed. After I blended it with the sugar I gave it a little taste and it isn’t really tart at all. Once I add the cream, egg, butter, etc., I hope I have some lemon flavor left! Am considering adding some more zest… or adding back the pith I trimmed off!

  16. I’m guessing that the Meyer lemon is just a whole lot mellower than the regular guys. I did add extra zest, juice, and pith, but what I really wanted to do was *remove* some sugar. So, I’d say taste your puree as you add the sugar. You may need more or less depending on your taste buds and/or your lemons. Not sure if you’d have to adjust the thickening agents, though.

    Also, I made 4″ minis and ended up with 5, with filling left over. If I were doing it again, I’d try harder to get 6 tarts from the dough.

  17. Nancy, you’re such a rebel in the kitchen . . . adding back pith. :)

    I might blanch mine for a quick bath, and see how that goes. Although – I did make the whole lemon tart from Smitten Kitchen’s blog that wasn’t blanched (or pureed, for that matter). I remember whole slices in the tart… and it was great. Tart, but not “I can’t eat this – tart.

    • Hi Mike, I haven’t made this tart yet, but I also made the whole lemon tart on Smitten Kitten (I think based on another Dorie recipe in Paris Sweets) and loved it. I am considering spreading some red berry jam over the base of the crust to add some extra sweetness, just in case.

    • Thanks, Sara – I made the tart over the weekend and used your dough recipe (I don’t have a food processor and was looking for a dough that didn’t require one). The tart came out amazing! The crust was absolutely delicious and got rave reviews!

  18. Mine is finally done baking, seemed to take about 15 mins longer, and it still wasn’t set. I’ll let it chill to set overnight. Mine bubbled well over, but I had a crust shield on so it helped keep it in place. I used 2 lemons and tasted the batter and it seemed ok, nice and sweet, not puckery. This is reminding me of lemon bars! I also did a small video of it straight out of the oven, which I’ll link too on my blog, lol.

  19. I’m about to start making mine. Thanks for all of your tips. I plan on making a half-sized tart. Mr Mango is not the biggest lemon dessert fan. :)

  20. I’m hopeful that I will get to this. After Mother’s Day week, (I work at a flower shop) I really didn’t get a chance to do this yet. Hopefully, I’ll get to it today!

  21. I made the crust last night and, despite the foil, the edges of my tart shell came out a bit brown. Did that happen to anyone else?
    I’m worried that when I fill it tonight and bake it that i’ll be too dark at the edges.
    Oh, and I used one and a half lemons, pith and all, and the filling doesn’t taste too tart at all (at least it didn’t straight from the blender)

  22. Umm, I have some really big lemons. I’ve seen much smaller ones at the store. Anyone have a clue how big of a lemon? I may only need one of these large ones??

  23. Amanda-I used Meyer Lemons and they were on the small to medium side. I would say use one large if you’re unsure how tart your lemons are gonna be.

  24. Thanks juju :)

    Well, baked the tart and at the 45 minute mark it looked beautiful but still a little jiggly. It had bubbled up about 1/2″ above the crust but not over. So I added 5 more minutes to the timer. I checked it after four minutes and it had completely bubbled over! UGH!! What a drag :(

    it’s cooling now and I have tried to salvage it by wiping the bubbled over topping off the sides of the crust, but now the crust looks soggy. :-P Soooo I’ll just have to be patient and wait for it to cool. I think I will definitely chill mine in the fridge as I worry that as soon as I cut it it will ooze out LOL

    Thank goodness for powdered sugar, I have a feeling it will hide a lot!

  25. The day before I made my tart, there was a chef on Food Network Canada, Anne Yarymovich, Agora Restaurant, Art Gallery of Ontario. She made a similar tart and was very direct about not using the pith. I peeled off the zest, removed the pith and seeds and proceeded with Dorie’s recipe. I used 2 lemons and made 3 small 5″ tarts. Also, I had almond meal from Bob’s Red Mill in the freezer and substituted that for the ground almonds. It worked just fine. It did take a bit longer to bake than the recipe says. Everyone enjoyed the fresh lemon taste and it was not bitter. Great little giveaway treats.

  26. I had to cook mine for longer to get it to set, and it totally bubbled over (the details and a picture will be in my blog post tomorrow). But it was still really good … I liked it a lot.

  27. I wish I had read this before I made mine. It turned out visually beautiful. I used the WHOLE lemon, pith and all, in mine and found that it gave a bitter aftertaste that just didn’t warrant the calorie intake for me. I’d like to make this again without the pith like some of you did. I think it would be great otherwise. They can’t all be winners :)

  28. Pingback: Confectiona’s Realm » Blog Archive » Tuesdays With Dorie: Tartest Lemon Tart

  29. HELP!

    I am making the tart today (I’m always at the last minute!), and I want to make mini-tarts (in a mini-muffin pan), something I’ve never done. Any suggestions on how long to blind bake the crusts & then how long to bake the filled tarts???

    Sounding My Barbaric Gulp

    • I wish I could help! I would guess around 5 min for the blind bake (or maybe til you can start to smell them a bit) and then another 8-10 with the filling? I would think, appearance-wise, that the filling would start to develop a crust on the top and that the top should also look a bit “sugar-y” when it’s done.

  30. Easy recipe to follow, looks nice, tastes great..what more do we want?!
    This was really tasty! The only changes I would make is to also bake a small tart along with the 9 inch tart. I had extra filling. I would also cut up the lemon pieces a bit smaller as well.
    Making creme fraiche was easy and it tasted really good with the lemon tart

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