David Scott AllenDessertPies & TartsProvencal RecipesTaste

Lemon Tart A Fine Sweet Sour Balance

Lemon tart or tarte au citron might otherwise be described as the non-dessert eater’s choice. When the baker has perfected the right combination of sugary-sweet and lemony-sour there is nothing more satisfying than this tart. David adapted this dessert for his blog Cocoa & Lavender from the book Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living with photographs by François Millo and recipes by Viktorija Todorovska.

Lemon Tart tarte au citron Tastes of Provence

Tarte au Citron

A sweet, tart and tangy lemon treat with a buttery crust that is not only delicious to the taste buds but equally appealing to the eyes too. A de"light"ful twist with the addition of Crème fraiche to make and savour anytime of year.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 6 people


For the Crust

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour Start with 1 1/2 cups
  • 7 oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 8 oz Crème fraiche
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 7/8 cup Fresh Lemon Juice about 4 lemons
  • 4 tbsp Butter softened and cubed
  • Lemon slices or meringue, for garnish


Preparing the crust

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, butter, sugar, and salt. Mix until crumbly.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat lightly with a fork.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes, or until a dough forms. * This took less than 30 seconds with my KitchenAid mixer, using the paddle attachment.
  • Turn out the dough on a lightly floured work surface.
  • Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough for 1 minute.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or up to four days). * If you chill the dough for longer than 1 hour, let it warm slightly before rolling out.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch (6mm) thickness.
  • Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (22.5-cm) tart dish with a removable bottom. Trim off any excess dough.
    Lemon Tart Recipe @CocoaandLavender
  • Cover and freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover before baking.
  • Line crust with parchment or aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or beans.}
  • Bake for 25 minutes (removing beans at about 10 minutes). My crust was done at about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preparing the filling and assembly

  • In a mixing bowl, whip the crème fraîche until it is light and airy. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, eggs, and lemon juice over low heat (I suggest medium-low)
  • Stir well. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. (It took 15-20 minutes before it was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Straining might be necessary.)
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add the butter and stir well to incorporate.
  • Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Fold in the whipped crème fraîche.
  • Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve.
    Recipes Tarts from Provence Lemon Tart Recipe
  • Just before serving, garnish with lemon slices or with meringue that has been browned under the broiler. (I garnished with fresh flowers from the garden.)
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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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