Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart

By • October 29, 2009 196 Comments

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Author Notes: Versions of this simple quick dessert have circulated around the valley for years. It's a great dessert to make at the last minute. I have quite a few lemon trees , mostly Eureka (big thick skinned), but only a few sweet Meyer lemons which make the best tart. But, it only takes one large lemon! Unfortunately for me, lemons don't pair very well with red wine. - dymnynodymnyno

Food52 Review: People who taste this smooth, fragrant tart won't believe that it contains a whole lemon, rind and all! Nor will they understand how you got it to be so fragrant and light and not at all gummy like lemon curd tarts can sometimes be. In our view "Mary" wasn't lazy at all, she was brilliant. She has you whiz the filling together in a blender, then simply pour it into a blind-baked tart shell. Dymnyno gave the tart her own touch -- a Meyer lemon -- which lends it fragrance and finesse and none of the intrusive acidity found in regular lemons. One catch: you'll need to use your own tart dough. If you don't have a favorite, we recommend the Joy of Cooking's sweet pastry dough. We lined a 9-inch fluted tart pan with it, pricked it with a fork, filled it with pie weights and blind-baked it at 375 F for 15 minutes then removed the weights and baked it for another 10 minutes. Once the tart shell cooled we added the lemon filling and sent it back for one last turn in the oven. Start checking it at 35 minutes. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 1 tart

  • 1 large Meyer lemon, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • Your favorite tart shell
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Put all ingredients (except tart shell) into a blender and whirl like crazy!
  3. Pour into tart shell.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until set, watching so that the top doesn’t burn.

Topics: Pie

  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
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Comments (196) Questions (15)

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3 months ago Sandy

This is a great, easy recipe. I used regular sugar and lemons. I did add an extra juice of a lemon. Also, I prebaked the crust for 10 minutes before adding the filling. I brought it to my knitting club here in the Cayman Islands and of course shared the recipe.

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4 months ago Clair Gu

Just made this on a whim because I had an extra tart shell hanging out in my freezer and some lemons that I'd half zested laying about. Gotta say—pretty impressed with how it came out! The texture of the filling is surprisingly nice, and has a lovely pulpy quality from the whole fruit, which I actually enjoy (like good fresh OJ). I used a regular lemon and absolutely loved the slight bitter note balancing out the uber-creamy and sweet middle.

I made some alterations out of necessity (its midnight here, no last minute grocery runs!): I used standard white sugar in place of superfine in the same ratios and just whizzed it in the food processor for a bit, I added about 1/4c of buttermilk because.. well, I had an old jug and why not, and I added 2 T of flour to account for the extra liquid in the recipe. But followed the instructions (take stuff, dump in processor, whiz, pour) exactly, and used the editor's notes with regard to my crust.

Absolutely wonderful! 5/5, will make over and over again.

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5 months ago Cristy

I like it cold personally...

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5 months ago Lisa

should this be served warm, cold, room temperature??? thanks.

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5 months ago karen

I love this tart, and have made it several times, but sometimes it comes out very wet. Size of eggs? Would putting in another egg help? I also reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup, and usually use regular lemons. Thanks!

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6 months ago catydid

Love this, so simple! Made it with my 9 year old and it was a quick and easy recipe that is perfect to make with kids. No, it is not a perfect "smooth" custard - hence the whole lemon, rind and all simplicity! Added more lemon juice to keep it even tarter for my sour loving family. Crust was soggy on the bottom, so agree with note below that pre-baking crust would be ideal. Next time!

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6 months ago dymnyno

I originally specified a crust that had been baked for 10 minutes before adding the filling....edited out???

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6 months ago catydid

maybe! I don't see that in the instructions anymore... maybe it can be edited back in.

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6 months ago dymnyno

I know...I originally included a blind baked pie crust.

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6 months ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

Such an iconic recipe--it would be great if you'd edit to merge the instructions with Lazy Mary's Improved Lemon Tart https://food52.com/recipes... I suggest this recipe to lots of people, especially new cooks, but I feel I have to suggest both recipes to them, as neither one includes the full instructions for a complete tart.

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6 months ago Stephanie

Really don't understand the great reviews. It was, at best okay, and the full stick of butter made the filling greasy. Strongly prefer the lemon tarts with the smooth, lemon-curd-type filling.

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6 months ago dymnyno

okey, dokey everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

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7 months ago Cristy

I made this over the weekend and it was outstanding...my meyer lemons were small so I used 2, the tart to sweet was perfect...I thank you for this perfect dessert.

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11 months ago Marian

Has anyone tried this recipe with limes? I couldn't find Meyer lemons and it seemed that limes have thinner skins than the available lemons, so I thought they might be a better substitute.

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11 months ago Alison

I love this recipe and got really really great comments from all my family when I made it!! So easy and tasty! Thanks!

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11 months ago huy dang

Never bake a pie before and my daughter loves lemon bar, so make one last week. It was so easy and fool proof and turned out so good. We're lucky to have relatives with Meyers lemon tree and just asked them to pluck a few and we'd have a wonderful desert.

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12 months ago DVE

Hi -
9" tart pan should be fine and baking it before will prevent a soggy crust.
It's a good recipe.

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12 months ago loique

so going to make this today.... but... have a question. what size tart shell? do you pre-bake the shell? thanks...

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12 months ago kcallison

I did pre-baked my pie shell for about 5-7 minutes.

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12 months ago JANET

Made this with a biscuit crumb shell blind baked for 10 mins, before filling.. Would have been terrific , only I used thick skin lemons, Big Big mistake, very tart, will try to find thin skinned normal lemons as unable to obtain Meyer lemons. Wish I had read the comments before making.

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about 1 year ago MicronCat

Since I am too lazy to make a crust, I used the fillinf part of this recipe, and the cracker crust from Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach Pie (also on F52). It's not cold yet, but I had to cut it due to circumstances beyond my control, so of course, I had to taste test. Yum!

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about 1 year ago LysiaLoves

Has anyone tried this with an alternative to white sugar? Usually I bake with coconut palm sugar but wondering if the flavor might be too dark... I do have blonde coconut sugar which worked great in my gluten-free lemon ginger blueberry muffins but not sure how it'd be in this. Honey is too strong tasting and agave is more neutral but I'd think it'd throw the liquid ratio way off. Hmmm...

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over 1 year ago Manhattan Tart

This is about a bazillion times easier than lemon bars and couldn't be any tastier -- or prettier! Made this for lemon lovers and it didn't disappoint. Will happily make it time & again. If Meyers aren't available I'll use a regular thin-skinned lemon since we like things a bit puckery!

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over 1 year ago barry strydom

Makes this regular as clockwork for the coffeeshop. U love it. Few of the regulars felt it was "too sweet". So, for us I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup. And now everyone is happy....

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over 1 year ago Cinnamin

I love the simplicity and ease of this tart! It's sort of like Donna Hay's baked lemon pudding, where she blitzes the whole lemon with sugar and egg yolks. I'm yet to venture into tart-making territory, and this would be a good tart to start with.

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over 1 year ago betty carson

Made this yesterday - my first experience with Meyer lemons. It was very good, but I was disappointed . . . not tart enough, too sweet. Suppose that depends on the lemon! Texture was good. Next time I will use a regular lemon, sans seeds, and see what happens. Might reduce sugar to 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 cups.

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over 1 year ago dymnyno

Yes, Meyer lemons are milder and sweeter than "regular" lemons. Be sure find a lemon that does not have a super thick skin.