Classic Lemon Tart: Smooth And Crispy Tart With Citrusy Custard
Image Credit: Unsplash

Cakes and pastries are a much fun and evergreen source for crashing on a stressful day or for pampering oneself infinitely. But tarts or open pastries filled with savoury custard filling are an even cosier, soft and pulpy delight to engage in a different kind of taste ride altogether. The eggs loaded with milk, cream, orange and lemon zest make for a perfect, zingy, citrusy, rich and creamy custard. On the other hand, the pastry is made of refined flour, eggs and profuse amounts of butter to give a super flaky, crusty and firm tart. Baked artfully through 3 long hours of refrigeration, blind baking technique and easy dough and custard preparation, this lime tart is way more achievable than it appears.

What Are Tarts?

Tarts have their origin in 1550, about 2 centuries after the pies came into existence. One of the earliest tarts was the Italian crostata made in the mid-15th century, which was called a rustic-free form of an open fruit tart. These were considered a luxury and were popular among the noble class in mediaeval times. Now the word Tart, and what it means. It's a French word meaning pie or tart both at the same time, with the distinguishing feature of the tarts being open pastries where fillings are poured into the baked pastries. 

The fillings can be sweet or savoury, fruit-based, or sometimes with custard. Early tarts used to have meat fillings. Tarts are ideally free-standing with a firm pastry base consisting of dough of flour, eggs, sugar and butter with perpendicular sides. Some popular varieties of Tart include Treacle tart, Meringue tart, and Bakewell tart. 

Preparation: 3 hours 30 minutes

Baking: 55 minutes

Servings: 3-4 (6-8 slices)



    200 gm flour

    100 gm sugar

    100 gm butter

    1 small egg (50g)

    ¼ tsp vanilla

    Tart tin with fluted edges and removable bottom (22 cm diameter)


    2 large eggs

    2 large egg yolks

    100 gm sugar

    ¼ tsp salt

    60 gm lime juice

    40 gm orange juice

    4 gm orange zest

    6 gm lime zest

    200 gm heavy cream


    For making pastry, take a mixing bowl, and add refined flour. Grate 100 gm of butter into the sugar and flour. Mix everything with a fork.

    All the ingredients for pastry need to be chilled before mixing

    In another bowl mix egg and vanilla essence and pour into the flour bowl. Mix everything with your hands to form a hard dough and don't use water at all.

    Now wrap this dough with a cling film, and tuck it from the sides to get a roughly round shape. 

    Then roll it out a little bit to get even out of the shape.

    Refrigerate this dough for an hour.

    Meanwhile, grease the base and edges of the tart tin throughout with butter and line with baking paper. 

    Take out the refrigerated pastry after an hour, take out the pastry from the cling to and roll it out to get a 3mm thick pastry.

    Then put the pastry over the tart tin, gently ease it into the corners, and cut off the excess dough hanging over the fluted edges. However don't trim it to the exact size, leave a bit extra over the edges, as it would shrink while baking.

    Seal with cracked edges with a little dough lining so that the custard poured over it later doesn't leak.

    Again refrigerate the pastry for 2 hours.

    After 2 hours, take out the pastry, and line it with aluminium foil. 

    Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.

    Now following the blind baking technique, put rajma grains on the foil and spread them uniformly over the foil which will prevent the pastry from puffing up. 

    Now blind bake the pastry in the preheated oven at 170 degrees celsius for 25 minutes.

    After 25 minutes, remove the aluminium foil along with rajma beans and bake for a few more minutes until the crust is golden and crisp. 

    Allow it to cool at room temperature. Shave off the excess pastry from the edges with a knife in a swift motion.

    For preparing custard, in a bowl break two whole eggs and two yolks, add sugar, salt,  orange and lime zest to it and whisk all slightly to incorporate well the ingredients. 

    Pour into it 60 gm lime juice and 40 gm orange juice followed by heavy cream.

    Mix everything and let it stand for 20 minutes. Then strain the liquid to get a smooth liquid.

    Pour it over the open-baked pastry, and bake in the preheated oven at 160 degrees celsius for 30 minutes.

    Take it out, and refrigerate for some minutes before cutting. Garnish with thinly sliced lemon pieces, cut into triangular shapes and serve with coffee.

The blind baking technique means baking pastry without fillings and putting some weight over it. Let loose yourself and your inhibitions into this Lemon Tart.