Classic lemon tart recipe

Angela Hartnett
A sharp and citrussy dessert - No Unauthorized Use

Spend more time hosting at dinner parties by opting for cold starters and desserts. At the very least it leaves more time to finish up on the main course! 

Serve this with crème fraîche or finish with a dusting of icing sugar and glaze under the grill.

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 2-3 hours chilling time (or overnight) | Cooking time: 50 minutes




For the pastry:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 45g icing sugar
  • 90g cold butter, diced
  • 1 medium egg

For the filling:

  • 225g whole eggs (about 3 large eggs)
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 125ml double cream
  • Zest of 2 lemons plus 125ml lemon juice
  • 1 egg yolk, for brushing
  • Crème fraîche to serve (optional)
  • Icing sugar to serve (optional)


  1. To make the pastry, sift the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. This is also easy to do with a fork. It does not matter if there are lumps of butter in the mix.
  2. Beat the eggs and add them to the flour mixture, mixing it to come together to form a ball. Try not to overwork the pastry. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes before using.
  3. For the filling, whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy.
  4. Place the cream, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan and heat slowly until just boiling then remove from the heat. Pour this into the egg mixture, whisking all the time until combined.
  5. Allow the mixture to rest in the fridge for two to three hours, or overnight. Any froth will rise to the surface – scoop all this off and remove before you assemble the tart.
  6. Preheat the oven 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.
  7. Roll out the pastry to ½cm thick and gently lift the pasty over a floured rolling pin. Place this over a 20cm loose-bottomed tart tin and gently press the pastry into the tart case. You can use a piece of excess pastry coated in flour to gently push the pastry into the edges. Prick the tart base with a fork.
  8. Line the pastry with crumbled parchment paper and fill with baking beans, then cook for 15 minutes. The pastry should be turning golden brown. Remove the paper and beans and cook for five more minutes until golden brown and nicely cooked.
  9. Brush the tart evenly all over with the beaten egg yolk. This seals the case and helps prevent any leakage. Return the tart to the oven for two minutes to seal, then remove and reduce the temperature to 140C/120C fan/Gas 1.
  10. When ready, set the tart case on to the middle shelf in the oven. Remove any excess froth from the lemon mixture with a ladle and carefully pour the filling into the tart. Bake until just set, which should take 30 minutes. The filling should still wobble slightly – it will continue cooking out of the oven.
  11. Allow to cool completely then serve either with a dollop of crème fraîche, or sprinkle some icing sugar over the top of the tart and glaze under the grill.