Short, But Sweet: Simple Lemon Tart

Lemon tart recipe

There's nothing quite like the gorgeous simplicity of a lemon tart. It gives you a perfect puckery tang and yet never feels too rich or heavy. This lemon tart is balanced with mascarpone for a touch of creaminess along with that wonderful lemon hit! I named her Lola.

Every time I make something with lemons, all my fellow lemon lovers come out of the woodwork. I adore tart accents in desserts and when I put this up on Instagram after a busy afternoon of baking it was one of the most popular images I've ever put up. It seems a lot of you love lemon tart! The irony is that I married a man who steadfastly does not like lemon flavoured desserts. I know right?

Lemon tart recipe

There's something else that a lot of people like but he doesn't enjoy and that is karaoke, my new favourite hobby. When planning a karaoke night I decided to leave him at home and make it a girls night featuring karaoke and korean bbq. I picked a slightly dodgy karaoke spot with a happy hour from 4-6pm and for the princely sum of $14 each, Girl Next Door, Ivy, Louise and I got to sing to our hearts content for 2 hours.

Sure the floor was so sticky that it could have almost ripped off the soles of your shoes and service was entirely absent. One microphone didn't work and it smelled like stale cigarette smoke. But the song list was decent and we were having a ball. We found the karaoke videos hilarious as they were a mix of the actual video clips as well as what appeared to be CCTV footage of various famous places or people out in fields.

Prior to the evening Ivy talked about country music songs but on the night she chose a mix of Linkin Park and rap for the Southern girl. Girl Next Door chose crowd favourites that got everyone dancing and even tried her hand at Eminem's Lose Yourself while Louise picked Amy Winehouse and Amy Grant songs. I went for power ballads - Whitney's I Will Always Love You and Celine's My Heart Will Go On as well as Lana del Ray's Video Games and Dusty's Son of a Preacher Man thrown in for fun. I also learned something new - the Pina Colada song aka Escape is about having an affair. I must be naive or something!

Lemon tart recipe

As absent as the service was when we wanted them, they were on the ball when it came to our time being up. "You have five more minutes!" they said through the door. We finished our song Yellow by Coldplay, arms across each other's shoulders swaying back and forth and then another song started and we kept singing until they cut our music off. Like the hardened bar patrons that stay until the last drink.

When Mr NQN came to pick me up at the end of the night, I told him that I couldn't wait to do it again. He demurred again, much like he did with this lemon tart. I ended up giving it to Ivy who loves lemon desserts and she took it to her weekend away. Because nobody puts a lemon tart in the corner!

So tell me Dear Reader, is there something that most people enjoy that you don't like? How do you feel about lemon tart and lemon desserts? And did you know that random fact about the Pina Colada song?

Lemon tart recipe

Simple Lemon Tart

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 40 minutes plus 1 hour waiting

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Sour Cream Pastry

  • 240g/8.8ozs. butter, cold
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 125ml/4flozs./1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons water (if it needs it)


  • 3 eggs
  • 175g/6ozs. caster or superfine sugar
  • 125g/4ozs. double cream
  • 125g/4ozs. mascarpone
  • 125ml/4flozs./1/2 cup lemon juice (around 2-3 lemons' worth)

Step 1 - Make pastry by adding butter, flour and sugar to a large food processor. Process until combined. Then add sour cream and water and blitz until it resembles crumbs. Knead it on a clean, floured surface and shape into a large ball. Cover with cling film and rest for 1-2 hours.

Lemon tart recipe

Step 2 - Roll out the pastry between two sheets of parchment. Lay out onto a loose bottomed 23cm tart tin. Dock the bottom with a fork and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Lemon tart recipe

Step 3 - While it is freezing make the filling by whipping together the eggs, sugar, cream and mascarpone with a beater until smooth. Add lemon juice and allow to sit for 1 hour. Skim the bubbles from the top.

Lemon tart recipe

Step 4 - Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Take the tart crust from the freezer. Line with foil and weigh down with baking weights (or rice or beans) and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes until cooked. You want this baked on the base.

Lemon tart recipe

Step 5 - Reduce heat to 120C/248F. Pour the filling into the par baked crust and bake for 30-35 minutes or until just set.

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