Lemon Curd Tartlets

Jan. 8, 2020

Written By: Adriana

The video tutorial below goes over how to make lemon curd tartlets. These are my second requested tart after the fresh fruit tart, but they actually are my favorite. It just has all the right things going on at once - salty, sweet, crispy crust; sour and tangy lemon curd; and super sweet billowy meringue.

Lemon Curd Tartlets

I'll teach you how to make this meringue variation, as well as one for super lemon fanatics that just has a candied lemon slice on top. We'll call that one the minimalist hipster lemon curd tart. (Actually I'll need to garnish it with some fried basil to call it hipster, but I'll leave that up to you.)

To make these lemon curd tartlets you will need:

  1. sweet tart crust that has been chilled;
  2. lemon curd that is at room temperature; and
  3. a topping of your choice, which I'll go over below.

We'll go over the process needed to make these tartlets, how to easily roll out tart dough, and some options for topping your tartlets.

This process can be adapted to any pan you have (or like), but I love the fluted tart pans. I’ve always used them and I think they’re easier to work with than the straight sided ones. But hey, if you can make those ultra profesh straight sided ones, make sure you send some my way because they are gorgeous!

My workflow for these lemon curd tartlets looks something like this:

Make the sweet tart crust.

This can be done months ahead as premade dough can hang out in the freezer for a couple months. The dough just has to be cold from the fridge when you’re ready to make these tarts.

Make the lemon curd.

This is also something you can do ahead of time, because it will keep for up to a week in the fridge. If I know that I’m making lemon tarts or a tart cake, I’ll make this the day before and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Otherwise, I’ll make it before I bake the sweet tart crust and let it hang out at room temperature to cool until I’m ready to fill the tarts with it.

Bake the sweet tart crust.

I’ll roll out the dough and line the tartlet pans. I’ll put them in the freezer and then start the preheat on my oven. A good tip here is brown your crust! It’s pretty common to under bake tart crusts (and pie crusts for that matter) and what you get are these pale, anemic looking crusts that don’t have all the flavor potential of a browned crust. So brown those puppies for maximum flavor. This is also do ahead-able! Treat them just like sugar cookies, if you want to make these ahead of time, bake the crusts the day before and keep them in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them. I try not to do this more than 24 hours in advance so it retains its crispness and fresh taste.

Assemble the tarts!

Fill the cooled tart shells with the room temperature curd. Decorate with the topping. These keep for a couple days in an airtight container in the fridge, but I’ve kept them out at room temperature for a couple days too and they’ve been fine.

If this seems daunting, split up the steps into multiple days or parts of a weekend. I used to bake hurriedly, trying to get desserts out in an hour, but that’s not practical with these types of baking projects. Plus it’s just not fun! Give yourself the time and headspace to enjoy the process. It will show in your baking 🙂

Here is the video tutorial on how to make lemon curd tartlets:

In the tutorial, I show how I decorate the tartlets with candied lemon slices or fresh Swiss meringue.

To make the candied lemon slices

Simmer slices of lemon in ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water (a simple syrup) for about 15 minutes, until they start to turn translucent. Set aside until you’re ready to decorate your tarts.

To make the meringue

I will have a complete tutorial up soon, but here is the rundown on my Swiss meringue. First off, I always cook my meringue to 165 °F to kill any potential pathogens in the eggs. Yes, you lose of volume by doing so, but the tradeoff to me is worth it if it allows safely serving cooked meringue to children or adults who would otherwise get very sick. Ok that is my public service message for the day. Onto the recipe…

In the bowl of a kitchenaid mixer propped on the top of a double boiler, bring ¼ cup of egg white, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, and ⅛ tsp of cream of tartar up to 165 °F with an instant read thermometer. It will go from translucent and viscous to creamy and runny. Move the bowl immediately to the mixer and mix on high until light and fluffy. Add a splash of vanilla if you like at the end. Spoon into a piping bag or directly on top of the lemon tartlets!

These are just two ways to decorate lemon tartlets, but there are other great ideas. Since the lemon curd brings the acidity to the dessert, you can make a complete dessert by topping it with something very sweet.

Here are some extra ideas for decorating your lemon curd tartlets:

  1. Leave them plain - just fill them with lemon curd to the very tops and allow the curd to settle to a smooth surface for an ultra refined look.
  2. Fresh whipped cream (cold whipping cream in a stand mixer on high with some sugar).
  3. Fresh blueberries, dipped in sugar or plain
  4. Glazed with loosened apricot or peach jam - this also makes the tops so shiny and professional looking! (to make a loosened jam, add one TB of water to a couple big spoonfuls of jam, microwave for a couple seconds and stir. Push through a strainer to remove large fruit pieces.)
  5. Little piped rounds of buttercream (I think cream cheese buttercream would go really well!)
  6. Finely crumbled graham crackers across the top in a super modern design like a stripe

🍋 Enjoy your lemon curd tartlets! 🍋

Hi Everyone, I'm Adriana

... the nerdy baker behind the videos and recipes here. I coded this site to not only share my recipes with you but also to build some helpful tools for bakers.

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