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Elegant Lemon Tarts

Thick, creamy, and tangy lemon curd poured inside of crisp, buttery pastry shells made from sweet dough and topped with homemade creme fraiche! Plus tons of tips on how to make elegant garnishes from chocolate, isomalt, and more!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Serves: 12 mini tarts
Calories: 4497kcal


Pâte Sucrée

  • 70 grams butter
  • 50 grams powdered sugar
  • 20 grams almond flour
  • 25 grams egg
  • 150 grams AP flour
  • 1 vanilla bean (scraped)

Lemon Curd

  • 200 grams Eggs
  • 270 grams sugar
  • 190 grams lemon juice
  • 2 Whole lemons (zested)
  • 240 grams butter (European)

Homemade Crème Fraîche

  • 227 grams (8 ounces) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk


  • Stand Mixer
  • Tart ring
  • pan and bowl for double boiler
  • Immersion blender
  • pastry brush
  • acetate sheets
  • microplane


Making the Pâte Sucrée Tart Shells

  • First, in the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the room temperature butter and powdered sugar with the paddle attachment. Mix until it is smooth.
  • Then, add in the almond flour and continue to mix it until it is combined.
  • Next, add in the eggs, vanilla bean seeds, and the all-purpose flour. Mix the batter until all of the ingredients are smooth and thoroughly combined.
  • Wrap the dough neatly in plastic wrap, and then place it in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
  • After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator, on a lightly floured surface, roll the tart dough out until it is about 1/8” thick.
  • Use a 5" circle cutter to cut out your tart shells.
  • Next, gently place the dough inside the tart ring by pressing the bottom down to the corners of the ring and while pressing gently onto the sides of the ring. Then, use a paring knife to trim the excess off the top edge of the ring.
  • Check the bottom of the ring to see that the bottom edge has been pressed flush. If the dough is getting too warm and sticky to handle, place it back in the fridge to firm it up.
  • Run your finger around the edge of the tart shell to get a nice even seal on the shell.
  • After that, use a fork to gently dock the bottom of the tart shells to avoid large bubbles forming when baking.
  • Once you have filled all of the rings, place them in the freezer for an hour.
  • Finally, bake the tart shells at 360ºF (182ºC) until they are dark golden brown.

How to Make the Lemon Filling

  • In a separate bowl, add in your egg yolks and mix them so that they are smooth.
  • Then, in a pot over medium heat, add in your sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Mix everything completely and heat it until it is just simmering.
  • Next, add about 1/3 of the lemon mixture to the separate bowl of egg yolks while whisking together to temper the eggs.
  • After that, add the lemon/egg mixture back into the pan with the rest of the lemon juice while whisking and bringing it back up to heat to a boil. Whisk continuously so that it heats evenly and doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Then, once it reaches a boil, let it continue to boil for about 30 seconds.
  • Finally, remove the pan from heat and add in the butter. Use an immersion blender to incorporate the butter and make the curd very smooth.

Assembling the Lemon Tart

  • Once you have baked your tart shells and let them fully cool, use a pastry brush to coat a thin layer of cocoa butter (or white chocolate) to the insides of the shells.
  • Then, after the cocoa butter has dried inside the shells, you are ready to pour the lemon curd into the tart shells.
  • Fill each shell with lemon curd almost all of the way to the top.
  • Add fresh fruit, creme fraiche, and any garnish you like to complete your elevated lemon tart.

Homemade Crème Fraîche Instructions

  • If you are making your own crème fraîche, then you will want to make this the day before you are preparing your lemon tarts.
  • Combine the buttermilk and heavy cream in a glass bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap.
  • Rest at room temperature (do not refrigerate) for 2-12 hours. The longer it sits, the thicker the creme fraiche will be. The bacterial cultures in buttermilk thicken and acidify the cream, while also preventing bad bacteria from taking over so it’s safe to be at room temperature.
  • After your creme fraiche has thickened, it can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Candied Lemon Slice Garnish

  • First, in a stovetop pan, mix 8 ounces of water and 7 ounces of sugar together and bring it to a boil.
  • While the sugar water is warming up, cut up a lemon to create thin slices.
  • Once the sugar water reaches a boil, add the thin lemon slices into the pan in a single layer.
  • Then, simmer the slices for about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer lemon slices to a wire rack or parchment paper and let cool. Let them dry overnight for use the next day.

White Chocolate Curl Garnish

  • Using tempered chocolate and a spatula, spread the white chocolate on acetate in any shape you desire and let it cool. PRO TIP: You can roll the acetate while the chocolate is still warm and this will create a chocolate curl.
  • Once it has cooled, gently peel it away from the acetate and place it onto your lemon tart.
  • For these lemon tarts, we used a variety of garnishes on our tarts including, lemon slices, basic chocolate decorations, creme fraiche quenelle, edible gold leaf, berries, and abstract isomalt shapes. But you can totally get creative and make it your own! 


Important Things To Note Before You Start
  1. If you are making your own crème fraîche, do this the day before you plan on making your lemon tart! 
  2. Bring your butter to room temperature.
  3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in its place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time. Then, have them ready before you start. This will reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
  4. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch, etc). Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and ultimately help ensure the success of your recipe. 
  5. Chef Christophe Rull recommends checking on your tart shell’s baking progress every 10 minutes while baking. Depending on the oven you are using, the back of the oven may distribute more heat than the front. For instance, if you notice that the shells on the back of the oven are darker in color than the tarts on the front, rotate the baking sheet to distribute more heat to the underbaked shells.
  6. For these lemon tarts, we used a variety of garnishes on our tarts including, lemon slices, basic chocolate decorations, creme fraiche quenelle, edible gold leaf, berries, and abstract isomalt shapes. But you can totally get creative and make it your own! 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 4497kcal (225%) | Carbohydrates: 455g (152%) | Protein: 51g (102%) | Fat: 285g (438%) | Saturated Fat: 167g (835%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 74g | Trans Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 1504mg (501%) | Sodium: 2542mg (106%) | Potassium: 750mg (21%) | Fiber: 7g (28%) | Sugar: 325g (361%) | Vitamin A: 8974IU (179%) | Vitamin C: 75mg (91%) | Calcium: 280mg (28%) | Iron: 12mg (67%)