This summery tart has a cookie-like, almond crust and a bright, silky-smooth, lemon filling that’s topped with fluffy, Limoncello-laced whipped cream. It’s truly the perfect warm weather indulgence!
I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for summer this year!
It’s right around the corner here in Ohio and- this year especially- it feels like the world is opening up again after the longest hibernation ever!
And I think that calls for celebrating with a beautiful dessert that literally looks like sunshine on a plate!
Dessert can be tricky in warm weather. As the temperature rises, the decadent desserts that comforted us through the winter can feel too heavy. But that doesn’t mean we don’t still have a sweet tooth that needs satisfied! It just means we crave things that feel a little lighter and more refreshing. That’s where this recipe comes in.
I think this lemon tart is the absolute perfect summer dessert and I think after you take your first bite, you’ll agree!
Let’s talk about improvising
I realize not everyone collects kitchen tools and equipment the way I do, and I don’t want that to deter you from making this recipe if I’m using something you don’t have. The following equipment is really helpful BUT (as with most things) there are work arounds if they aren’t already in your kitchen.
- Food processor- I LOVE my food processor and use it several times a week but if you don’t own one you can use a high speed blender or a coffee grinder to finely chop the almonds. You’ll just need to mix the rest of the pastry ingredients in by hand, using a pastry cutter to work in the butter.
- Tart pan with a removable bottom- I’ve made this recipe in both 9″ round tart pan and a 4x 14″ rectangular tart pan with removeable bottom. The removeable bottom makes it super-simple to unmold the tart after it’s chilled and also makes cutting and serving nice, neat slices super easy. You can use a regular pie plate instead, but it will be a little trickier to get the pieces out neatly.
- Mesh strainer/sieve– I’ve seen versions of this recipe where they don’t strain the filling. In all transparency it’s not absolutely necessary, but it is the reason this version is so silky and smooth. Straining the filling ensures that there are no lumps from the zest or bits of egg that may not have been completely incorporated while cooking the filling.
- Pastry bag/piping tip- Piping your whipped cream makes for a really pretty presentation. If this isn’t your thing you can spoon a dollop on each piece as you plate it. Or just leave it off.
Making The Almond Crust
This tart crust has a delicate almond flavor and almost cookie-like texture. It literally takes just a few minutes to put together and It’s quickly mixed in the food processor. Want an added bonus? There’s NO ROLLING OUT PASTRY DOUGH! You simply press it into your tart pan, use a fork to poke some holes all around to keep the pastry from puffing up, and par-bake until it’s lightly browned on the edges. That’s it!
Pastry tip- Make sure your butter and water are cold when adding them to the flour mixture, this keep the pastry flakey and easy to work with!
Making The Filling
The first time I made this recipe I questioned the simplicity of the filling. I was expecting more steps. Where was the tempering of eggs? I was definitely expecting to temper my eggs. But I went ahead with it as written, hoping for the best (while coming up with a back-up-dessert-plan just in case). And you know what? My concerns were totally unnecessary because this has become one of my most requested summertime desserts!
Four Steps to Perfect Lemon Filling
- In a saucepan combine eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and salt. Whisk until completely incorporated and no streaks of egg remain.
- Place saucepan over medium-low heat, add butter and whisk continuously for 5-8 minutes until mixture thickens slightly and just begins to bubble (170 degrees f on candy thermometer). Remove from heat
- Strain filling through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. Discard anything that won’t pass through.
4. Whisk chilled heavy cream into strained filling and pour into par-baked tart. Bake 13-15 minutes, until filling is just set and center still jiggles a little when you shake the pan. Cool to room temperature and then chill at least 2 hours.
To Whip Cream Or Not To Whip Cream?
I’ve served this with and without whipped cream and it’s wonderful either way!
But have you ever had homemade whipped cream? It’s SO good. And it’s EASY. There’s something so very perfect about the contrast of pillowy, just-sweet-enough whipped cream against the tart, silky-smooth lemon filling and almond cookie crust. It’s a combination I highly recommend! And if you can find these addictive Limoncello and white chocolate covered almonds ( I picked mine up at Costco) they look adorable garnishing each piece 🙂
I hope you enjoy this summery lemon tart as much as we do! If you make it I’d love to see…tag me on facebook or Instagram @ breathingandcooking 🙂
- 1/2 cup blanched, sliced almonds
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 stick (4 oz) cold unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp cold water
Lemon Tart Filling
- 4-5 lemons zested and juiced (you'll need 2/3 cup juice)
- 7 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 3 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla or 1 TBSP Limoncello
Make Almond Crust
- Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9" round or 4x15 rectangular tart pan with removeable bottom.
- In food processor, process almonds until finely ground. Add flour and powdered sugar and pulse until combined. Cut chilled butter into 8 pieces and scatter over almond mixture. Pulse until just combined. Drizzle cold water over and pulse mixture just until it starts to come together.
- Place dough into prepared tart pan and press evenly over the bottom and 3/4-1 inch up sides of pan. Prick all over with a fork to keep dough from bubbling up and bake in preheated oven 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden on edges.
While Crust Bakes Make The Filling
- Zest lemons and set zest aside. Squeeze lemons to get 2/3 cup lemon juice.
- In a medium saucepan combine lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks, whole eggs, sugar and pinch of salt. Whisk until combined and no traces of egg whites remain.
- Place lemon/egg/sugar mixture over medium-low heat, add butter and whisk constantly until mixture begins to thicken and reaches 170 degrees f on candy thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer watch for the mixture to begin bubbling and turn off the heat before it actively boils. It should take 5-8 minutes.
- Pour thickened lemon mixture into a fine mesh sieve/strainer set over a heat proof bowl. Push mixture through strainer using a rubber spatula until only the solids (this will mostly be zest) are left. This will leave you with a perfectly smooth lemon filling in the bowl.
- Stir heavy cream into strained lemon filling until smooth. Pour this into the baked tart shell and return to the 375 oven for 13-15 minutes. The tart is done when the edges are set but the center still jiggles slightly when you shake the pan.
- Cool on a wire rack until it's room temperature and then chill for at least 2 hours.
Optional Whipped Cream
- Place cold whipping cream into a chilled bowl. Beat with whisk attachment on high until cream thickens enough that whisk leaves a trail. Add powdered sugar and either vanilla or Limoncello. Continue beating until thick enough to hold a shape when piped. Pipe around edges of chilled tart or just serve a dollop on each piece.