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Tarte au citron is a French pâtisserie delight. Served as a dessert, as party to an aperitif, with afternoon tea or un café, it’s light, fresh flavor is just the perfect blend of sweet and sour. Tarte au citron is versatile, it’s elegant, it’s classic and it’s quintessentially French.

Once more I found myself in the hands of my mother-in-law as she was preparing a tarte au citron for a small party of her friends who were to arrive that afternoon for après-dejeuner café. I jumped in and asked if I could help. Rather than letting me lend a hand, she walked me through doing in on my own.

© Le Palais de Délices

Which isn’t saying that much, really, this time as tart au citron is intensely ease to make and delicious. Outrageously delicious! It takes about seven minutes in prep time and 35 minutes in the oven.

You’ll need:

  • 1 pie tart (pate feuilletée like for the quiche)
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 g melted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 150 g sugar (3/4 cup)

The directions are all in the video below, step by step. But a few notes to keep in mind:

If you don’t have a handy-dandy all-purpose mixer/blender/food processor contraptions like my belle-mère, you can use a hand mixer or mix by hand. The key is to beat the eggs and sugar until they are white. This takes about 3 minutes with a machine doing the heavy lifting.

The pate feuilletée is store-bought, which I realize is cheating a little. I have not yet mastered the making of this rather sophisticated pastry dough and my belle-mère insists she will never again make one now that it is so readily available in stores; there’s no reason to put yourself through the struggle, she says. Apparently it takes a good deal of time and precision. I will give it a whirl anyway, one of these days, when I have the time one Sunday afternoon to get it wrong a few times.

As for now, I hope you enjoy the recipe and bonne dégustation!


I recently made this tart again using a pâte sablée which is a short-crust, sweetened pie crust instead of a pâte feuilletée. Also, given my space restraints here in Paris, I used a hand mixer instead of the all-purpose machine my mother-in-law has at her house. I garnished with slices of fresh lemon. Although a touch over cooked (25 minutes in gas oven), the tart turned tasted great!