With a crisp, buttery coconut crust and a silky-smooth lemon filling that both come together in the microwave, this French Lemon Tart will be requested again and again!
This French Lemon Tart is my rendition of the iconic citrus confection that you can find at every little patisserie and boulangerie scattered throughout the nation of France. The crisp, buttery press-in crust is an adaption of a recipe I learned years ago at a Parisian cooking school so I guess that makes it a French-French Lemon Tart. The crust takes less than 5 minutes to put together yet tastes like a labor of love.
So much to love!
There are so many things I love about this French lemon tart. The delicious filling is an adaptation of our Ridiculously Easy Microwave Lemon Curd, which has brought rave reviews from so many of our readers. It comes together in less than 10 minutes, an easy, no-fail recipe with no double boiler, careful watching or fastidious stirring as is found in most lemon curd recipes.
The crisp, buttery crust literally melts in your mouth with each bite yet is ridiculously easy to make with no rolling, chilling or annoying cutting in of the butter. It's a unique, family recipe from Paule Callait, a French woman who ran a cooking school in Paris for many years.
Although the easy crust looks and tastes quite fancy, you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator right now. Want to check? You'll need flour, sugar, butter, a splash of oil and salt. See? I told you! The coconut is optional, but unless you're a coconut-hater, I highly recommend it.
The crust does need to be par-baked, but there's no need to use beans or baking weights, just press it in the pan and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. That's it! It's then ready for the luscious lemon filling.
Oh, and one last thing that I LOVE about this French Lemon Tart; once you add the filling, it only requires six additional minutes of baking. Six! Yes you read that correctly.
So many ways to serve this French Lemon Tart
Although this French Lemon Tart is delicious enough to stand on its own, there are so many fun ways to decorate and embellish it. A simple sprinkle of powdered sugar is elegant and beautiful.
I've also served it with a drizzle of our Raspberry Coulis.
Strawberries, raspberries or blackberries with a dollop of whipped cream is a super delicious, super pretty pairing.
No matter how you decide to serve this wonderful French Lemon Tart, it's sure to be a hit! It makes a beautiful celebration dessert but it's also easy enough to make any day of the week a celebration. Put it on your must-make-soon docket!
Café Tips for making this French Lemon Tart
- You'll need a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom for this recipe. These are versatile as you can use them for all kinds of tarts, pies and quiches. Because the sides of the pan are removed before serving, these pans create a beautiful presentation.
- Although the crust and filling recipes work perfectly with a 9-inch pan, you could also use a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. The crust will be slightly thinner and the filling won't be quite as full.
- You could also use a 9-inch pie pan for this recipe. You won't be able to turn it out of the pan but it will still be delicious!
- This dessert can be stored at room temperature for several hours. For longer storage keep in the refrigerator or freeze (see below).
- This lemon tart freezes well. I like to freeze it uncovered then, after it's nicely frozen, slip it into a ziplock bag or wrap it well to prevent freezer burn. Thaw it at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
- When shopping for lemons, look for smooth-skinned (if possible - they are usually juicier) and lemons that feel heavy. A wrinkly, lightweight lemon won't have much juice.
- A little trick for squeezing the most juice out of a lemon is to microwave it on high power for 10 seconds, then roll it on the counter firmly with your hand.
- This French Lemon Tart would also be delicious with Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are available at many larger grocery stores and are a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange. You can recognize them as they have a shiny, smooth skin and a bright orangish-yellow color.
- As mentioned above, the coconut is really delicious in this crust, but optional. If you choose to omit the coconut, cut the butter back by one tablespoon (6 tablespoons instead of seven).
- The filling recipe calls for the zest of two lemons. The filling is cooked with the lemon zest then strained. Most of the zest will be strained out at the end, but the flavor from the zest infuses the filling as it cooks.
- A great trick for removing a tart from a pan with a removable bottom. Pull out a can from your pantry (any kind of canned goods). Center the tart pan on top of the can. The sides will fall off and the tart will be resting on the bottom of the tart pan. You can slide the tart onto a serving tray or cake plate at this time. If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, wedge a thin-bladed knife between the tart pan bottom and the tart bottom. Lift the tart with the knife and slide it off of the metal pan bottom.
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- 7 tablespoons butter (I use salted)
- 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil ie, sunflower, avocado, vegetable, canola or grapeseed oils will all work
- 3 tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup shredded unsweetened coconut optional, see "Notes" below
- 5 egg yolks
- 5 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- finely grated zest from 2 medium-size lemons
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 12 tablespoons butter
Preheat over to 400°. Generously spray a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with baking spray. Rub with a paper towel to make sure all the surfaces are well coated.
Combine the butter, oil, water and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate or some damp paper toweling. Microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave (it will be hot) and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add the sugar to the warm butter mixture and stir to combine. Then add the flour and coconut. Mix until well combined (I use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon) and the dough comes together and forms a ball.
Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (you could also use a 9-inch pie pan). Break up half of the dough into small walnut size pieces and line them up around the edges of the pan. Press the dough around the edges of the pan, forming a crust about ¼-.inch thick and even with the top of the pan. Then press the remaining dough firmly into the bottom of the pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until a light, golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool partially while you make the lemon filling.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt (⅛ teaspoon if using unsalted butter) until smooth. Add butter cubes.
Microwave on high power for 45 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir vigorously with a whisk. Continue to cook at 45-second intervals, stirring after each interval. It will take 4-7 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave. Lemon curd is done cooking when it coats the back of a metal spoon. You can also check it with an instant thermometer. It’s done when it reaches 175˚F.
Remove from the microwave and whisk well. Pour the lemon mixture into a fine-mesh sieve with a bowl set underneath. Stir and allow the mixture to be strained into the bowl. Keep stirring until all of the lemon mixture has been strained. Discard any solids in the sieve. (I like to do this in my sink as it gives me a good angle to stir from.) This step is optional but makes for a silky smooth filling. If you don’t have a fine-mesh sieve, just proceed with the next step.
Pour the lemon filling into the prepared crust, smoothing the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool completely. It will be wobbly when it’s warm but will set nicely for slicing once it’s cooled. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, fresh fruit and/or a drizzle of this Ridiculously Easy Raspberry Coulis. ENJOY!
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
The coconut is really delicious in this crust but optional. If you choose to omit the coconut, cut the butter back by one tablespoon (6 tablespoons instead of 7).