Lemon tart

A tart, creamy lime-orange custard in a flakey, buttery pie—includes bonus tricks to a perfect shortcrust pastry shell!

  • Cooking time
    3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Calories
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We've been making a version of this tart from Antony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook for over 10 years now, and have certainly gotten better with practice! When you bite into this tart, the creamy lemon custard hits your palette first, followed immediately by the buttery, crisp shortcrust pastry. The lime custard is as tart as it is sweet—it makes your face pucker at the first bite and jolts your senses into attention! With every subsequent bite you grow accustomed to the sourness. You start appreciating the contrast of the creaminess and the crunchiness, as well as the fragrance of the citruses—lime and orange in our case.

Follow this recipe and you will be gifted with a tart better than anything you can buy from a shop—that is because the tarts sold in most pastry shops in India are made to have longer shelf lives, and they skimp on the butter. They also rarely bake the custard in the shell, choosing instead to make it separately and pipe it in once cool. It certainly makes for a more substantial (and impressive) presentation to serve one large tart to your guests and cut it into wedges at the table, than the small mini tarts that are usually available in pastry shops. We hope you give this a try while the weather is still cool. Do not attempt this in the warmer humid months.

Books in this recipe

Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking
Anthony Bourdain
Our note
Our note
Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking
Anthony Bourdain
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10-inch tart, 6–8 slices

For the pastry

  • 200 g flour
  • 100 g sugar (powdered)
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 small egg (50g)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla

For the custard

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 100 g sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 60 g lime juice
  • 40 g orange juice
  • 4 g orange zest
  • 4 g lime zest
  • 200 g heavy cream


Make the pastry shell

  1. Before you start, chill all the ingredients and equipment, including the mixing bowl, in the freezer.
  2. Prepare a 40-cm sheet of clingfilm and keep it ready.
  3. Now, working quickly, add flour and powdered sugar to your chilled bowl. Grate the frozen butter over it. Mix everything with a fork to distribute the butter within the flour.
  4. Add the chilled egg and vanilla.
  5. Bring the dough together (don't overknead), wrap it in clingfilm and set it in the fridge to chill for an hour.
  6. Prepare the tart tin, greasing it with butter and lining with baking paper.
  7. Roll the chilled pastry a little larger than the tart tin + sides.
  8. Transfer the pastry to the tin, moulding it to the shape of the tin. Don't trim off the over-hang just yet. The pastry will shrink in the oven.
  9. Chill once again for an hour or so.
  10. Blind bake in a pre-heated 170°C oven for 25 minutes. Remove the beans and continue baking until the pastry is golden and crisp.
  11. Cool completely before trimming the pastry shell.

Make the custard

  1. Zest the oranges and limes, and juice them.
  2. In a bowl, add the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt, lime and orange juices, zest and heavy cream.
  3. Mix, strain through a fine strainer, and pour the custard into the baked tart shell.
  4. Bake in a preheated 160°C even for 30 minutes, until the custard is set but a little wobbly in the centre.
  5. Chill completely before unmoulding and dividing it in slices.

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