French Lemon Cream Tart
This French lemon cream tart is the perfect balance between sweet and tart, with a crispy, shortbread-like crust to top off the experience. It takes a bit of effort to make, but the time commitment is worth it.

I have been thinking about this week’s recipe for nearly a month.

I was asked back then if I would be willing to make a dessert for Peace Connections’ annual soup supper and dessert auction.

The event is a fundraiser for the Harvey County Circle of Hope, which does amazing work in helping families, and I was honored to be asked to help.

But then the problem of what to make started to race through my mind. I finally landed on something that looks a little fancy, would be delicious but also would be just enough of a pain in the keester to make that it would be way easier to let someone else do the hard work and bid on it instead.

So I landed on this week’s recipe, which comes from the blog “Confessions of a Baking Queen” by Elizabeth Waterson. You can find the original post at I added extra zest in my version.

French Lemon Cream Tart

This French lemon cream tart is the perfect balance between sweet and tart, with a crispy, shortbread-like crust to top off the experience.It takes a bit of effort to make, but the time commitment is worth it.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: butter, fancy dessert, fresh berries, fresh lemon, heavy cream, lemon cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, powdered sugar, shortbread, tart, vanilla


Crust Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter cold

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 to 6 medium-sized lemons
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 5 tablespoons butter room temperature

For Decoration

  • fresh berries I used blackberries and raspberries
  • powdered sugar


  • To prepare the crust, add the cream, yolk and vanilla to a small bowl. Whisk them together and set it aside.
  • In a food processor, pulse the flour, powdered sugar and salt a few times to combine them. Cut the cold butter into chunks and pulse it in with the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Turn the processor on low and stream in the egg mixture. As soon as the dough starts to come together in the food processor, turn it off and dump the contents onto a clean countertop. Gently press the dough together, trying not to handle it too much so you don’t melt the butter.
  • Form the dough into a six-inch disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Once the dough is chilled, roll it out into a large circle on a well-floured surface until it is about one-eighth-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan and press the dough into all the nooks and crannies of the pan. Fold about one inch of the overhanging dough over to create thicker sides and press those in, too. Trim off any excess dough.
  • Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and place the pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  • To bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and place it, spray side down, in the cold crust, lining it with the foil. Fill the area with dry beans or pie weights. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and weights and bake for another five to 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  • Let the crust cool completely before filling it.
  • For the filling, combine the sugar and zest from about five lemons (you’ll want to get at least four tablespoons worth of zest) in a bowl. Stir until they are well combined.
  • Juice the lemons into a measuring cup until you have 3/4 cup of juice, and add it to the sugar mixture, along with the eggs. Whisk the mixture until it’s well combined, and add it to a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Turn the heat to low-medium and monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer, whisking constantly, until it reaches 180 degrees. (If the temperature stalls out, carefully turn the burner temperature up a bit at a time. Be careful not to heat it too quickly, or your eggs will clump up.)
  • Once the mixture is up to temp, remove it from the heat and pour it into a sieve over a bowl. This will remove all the zest and any lumps formed in the cooking process.
  • Let the mixture cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • Pour the filling into a food processor and turn it on low speed. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, letting the mixture process for at least one minute between each addition. Once all the butter is added, process for another three to five minutes.
  • Pour the filling into a clean bowl and gently press a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the cream so it doesn’t form a skin. Place it in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
  • To assemble the tart, stir the cream (it should be thick), and add it to the crust, smoothing it out evenly with a spoon or offset spatula.
  • Place a piece of plastic wrap pressed on top of the cream and refrigerate for at least 30 more minutes.
  • Before serving, top with fresh berries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar, if so desired. Refrigerate any leftovers.

The tart I made this week was a test run for next week’s showstopper, and Joey and I enjoyed getting to taste test it. It’s in the perfect middle ground between sweet and tart, and the fresh fruit takes the flavors up to a whole new level.

Baking this tart ended up taking a few hours in the kitchen, but not only was the taste worth it, but I hope the one I bring to Peace Connections will help them raise some funds for a worthy cause, too. If you want to try this without having to make it yourself, plan on attending the event at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1000 N Main Street, Newton, on Thursday, Feb. 16. The soup supper starts at 5:30 p.m., and the dessert auction will begin at 6:15 p.m.

I hope the event turns out as well as my tart did. If so, it’s going to be great.

This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 9, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.