This creamy whole lemon tart is a slice of summer any day of the year! A creamy lemon custard in a sweet shortbread pastry shell is any lemon lover’s dream. The shortbread allows the lemon to shine and doesn’t overpower the bold citrus flavor. And BONUS: that creamy lemon filling is made in the blender!
Each bite is a little lemon-y dream… and this lemon tart is so simple to make! We use our easy shortbread pastry which is the perfect crunchy base for the creamy lemon filling. The crust takes only 15 minutes to make and can easily be prepped in advance.
Our Whole Lemon Tart is:
- made with cream cheese for a super creamy texture
- prepared entirely in the blender (except for the crust)
- made with whole lemons for intense lemon flavor
- simple to prepare
You will love this whole lemon tart! It’s rich and smooth with an incredible burst of lemon in every bite.
Ingredients for our Creamy Whole Lemon Tart:
The shortbread pastry shell makes an 11-inch crust. Make sure it is par-baked (for more details, check out the full recipe by scrolling to the bottom of the page).
Here’s what you will need for this whole lemon tart recipe:
- 11-inch par-baked shortbread pastry shell
- medium lemons (we use whole lemons that are about 5 oz. each)
- egg yolks
- vanilla extract
- granulated sugar
- cream cheese (softened). The cream cheese gives the tart a creamy, silky texture
Get ready to be amazed because this list of basic ingredients comes together with ease!
How do you Make Lemon Tarts From Scratch?
The whole lemons used in this lemon tart gives it a pop of flavor that you just don’t get from lemon juice on its own. This is an easy recipe that makes it fun to bake from scratch.
Here’s a quick look at the process for this creamy whole lemon tart:
- Prepare the lemons: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Scrub the lemons well, then dry them and trim the ends off. Cut them into quarters and remove any seeds and large pieces of pith.
- Blend the ingredients: Place the lemons in a blender along with the butter, eggs, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, and sugar. Process for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. With the blender on low, add in cubes of cream cheese and gradually increase the speed to medium high, blending for another 30 seconds.
- Bake the lemon tart: Pour the filling into the par-baked pastry shell, place the lemon tart on a baking sheet and bake on the lower third rack of the oven until most of it is set but the center is still jiggly, about 35-40 minutes. Turn the oven off, leave the tart in the oven for 10 minutes with the door cracked. Remove the tart from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack then refrigerate until it is time to serve.
Recipe tips for the best results
For the best creamy whole lemon tart, keep these simple tips in mind:
- Choose medium-size lemons with thin skins. If your lemons have very thick skins, you can slice some of the skin/pith off, all the way to the lemon flesh, in long strips from top to bottom.
- Allowing the tart to cool for 10-15 minutes in the oven with the temperature off and the door open will prevent cracks in the top of the tart.
- Meyer lemon substitution: You can make this lemon tart with Meyer lemons but keep in mind that they are smaller and sweeter with less of a lemon flavor. If using Meyer lemons, you may need to increase the amount to 2-3 lemons.
- To store the lemon tart: How long does lemon tart last in the fridge?Cover the tart with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. Alternatively, the tart can be frozen for up to three months.
- Another option for a crust is our easy graham cracker crust.
This easy lemon tart recipe is such a dream and makes the perfect dessert for any special occasion! It packs a lemon-y punch that just tastes like spring and summertime.
The creamy, velvety lemon filling in that crisp and sweet shortbread crust is divine. Top this classic lemon tart with a few lemon rounds, a dusting of powdered sugar or some springtime flowers for a pretty pastry that is sure to impress.
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:
- Lavender Panna Cotta with Lemon Syrup: This is a make-in-advance dessert that is a lovely mound of silky lavender-infused cream with a delicate lemon syrup drizzled over the top.
- Meyer Lemon-Rosemary Loaf Cake: Treat yourself to a nice thick slice of this tender cake. It is light and moist with the tangy taste of lemon and a complimentary herb of rosemary.
- Lemon Curd: This tangy, sweet lemon curd has a smooth, velvety texture that is truly addictive. Use it as a cake filling, swirl it into a cheesecake or slather onto scones. This is a versatile sauce recipe to keep in your recipe files.
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- 11-inch par-baked shortbread pastry shell see recipe
- 1-1/2 small-size lemons, about 4 oz. each (see notes)
- 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- Preheat the oven to 325°F Move the oven rack to the lower 3rd position.
- Scrub the lemons under cold water, dry them and trim off the ends. Cut the lemons in quarters and remove the seeds and any large pieces of pith in the center.
- Add the lemon chunks to a blender with the butter, eggs, egg yolks, salt, vanilla and the sugar. Process for 2-3 minutes until it is a smooth purée.
- Cut the cream cheese into 6-8 pieces and with the blender on low speed, add the cream cheese pieces, one or two at a time. When all the cream cheese has been blended, increase the speed gradually to medium high and blend for another 30 seconds.
- Pour the mixture into the par-baked shortbread pastry shell, place on a baking sheet and transfer to the lower 3rd rack of the oven until most of it is set but the center is still jiggly, about 35-40 minutes.
- Turn the oven off, leave the tart in the oven for 10 minutes with the door cracked.
- Remove the tart from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack then refrigerate until it is time to serve.
- If possible choose medium-size lemons with thin skins.
- If the lemons have very thick skins, remove some of the peel by slicing from top to bottom in several strips.
- Meyer lemons can be substituted but they are smaller and you may need to increase the amount to 2-3. Also, Meyer lemons are sweeter with less lemon flavor as they are a cross between a lemon and a mandarine orange.
- Pour the filling into the pastry crust carefully almost to the rim, if there is excess filling bake it separately in a small custard dish.
- Cooling the tart in the oven for 10 minutes will prevent the tart from cracking on top.
- To store in the refrigerator, cover the tart with plastic wrap tart will keep in the refrigerator 2-3 days. The tart can also be frozen for up to 3 months.