How to make a classic French lemon curd tart recipe with a delicious fluffy meringue topping as delightful as this lemon cream pie recipe. Made with a crispy homemade sweet tart crust filled with tangy lemon custard and a beautiful meringue topping.
Lemon Meringue Tart, known in French as 'tarte au citron meringuée', is a world-famous dessert from France, loved for its sweet yet zesty lemon flavor. It's an absolute must-try for anyone who's a fan of lemony sweets.
With only 3 preparations, this lemon tart is made of a homemade crispy shortcrust pastry "Pate sucree", with a creamy lemon curd filling, and as a decoration, a fluffy frosting made of Italian meringue.
As in my lemon meringue tarts, this tart is perfectly balanced, we find both the tangy taste of the yellow lemon on a crunchy and buttery sweet crust and a smooth and creamy meringue topping.
Why you'll love this recipe
You need these ingredients to make this lemon curd tart:
- Tart crust: Pâte sucrée is a sweet pastry dough recipe used by pastry chefs. It's a different preparation from a simple butter pie crust, with flour, almond flour, powdered sugar (icing sugar), salt, and an egg to bind everything together.
- Lemon filling: Lemon curd is prepared with whole eggs, freshly squeezed lemon juice and its zest, powdered sugar, and butter to thicken it. (You can add cornstarch or gelatin for a more consistent texture).
- Meringue frosting: Italian meringue is most often used for making toasted meringue topping, but you can also use French meringue or Swiss meringue.
How to Make Classic French lemon tart recipe with meringue topping
Here are some quick visual instructions. Don't forget that full recipe instructions with exact ingredients can be found in the recipe card below!
Step 1: In the large bowl of your stand mixer, place the softened butter with the powdered sugar, almond meal, room temperature egg, and pinch of salt and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy.
Step 2: Then add the flour and mix again at medium speed, just until incorporated. Gather the dough with your hands and form a ball of dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Step 3: Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 3 mm. Then line a pastry ring or tart pan with a removable bottom with the dough.
Step 4: Place the tart shell in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and plate it in the freezer for 1 hour before baking it in the oven at 347°F/ 175°C for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
Let the pie crust cool completely before carefully removing from the tart ring.
Lemon curd filling
Step 1: In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the room-temperature eggs, sugar, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Then cook the preparation in a double boiler by placing the bowl on a saucepan containing a little heated water over medium heat and while stirring constantly with a whisk until the cream thickens.
Step 2: Remove from the heat and add the pieces of unsalted butter and stir vigorously to incorporate them. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any residual cooked egg and lemon zest.
Let cool: Transfer the lemon mixture to a jar or cover it with plastic wrap and let cool completely in the refrigerator.
Garnish the center of the cooled tart shell with the lemon tart filling and smooth the surface with a spatula, then place the filled tart in the refrigerator.
Step 1: Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix at medium-slow speed.
Step 2: Place granulated sugar and water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat while controlling the temperature, which should be 244°F/118°C.
Step 3: Pour the sugar syrup over the egg whites and continue mixing at high speed until you have a shiny, firm meringue.
Decorate: Fill a piping bag with the frosting and decorate the top of the lemon curd tart, then apply a blowtorch to lightly burn the meringue.
Enjoy! Serve the lemon meringue tart immediately with fresh berries or place it in the refrigerator.
Tips for this recipe
In the fridge: This lemon tart can be kept for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, in a storage box, or under a cling wrap.
How to freeze: You can also freeze it, but preferably without the frosting, which might give off too much water when thawed. Let it thaw gently for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
You can make the tart crust and lemon curd filling 1 to 2 days in advance and preferably prepare the meringue frosting at the last minute.
Variations & Substititons
Difference between lemon meringue pie and lemon meringue tart?
The key difference lies in both the crust and the meringue: a classic lemon meringue pie usually has a flaky pastry crust and is often topped with a meringue that's baked in the oven, whereas a lemon meringue tart features a crumblier shortcrust pastry and its meringue is typically toasted with a torch.
Which lemon should I use to make a lemon curd tart?
For a lemon curd tart, you can use regular lemons for a classic tart flavor, or Meyer lemons for a sweeter, less acidic twist.
More Tart Recipes
I hope you love this French lemon meringue pie recipe. If you make it, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Happy Baking!Print