5 Ingredients or Fewer

Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart

by:
October 29, 2009
22 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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. - dymnyno —dymnyno

Test Kitchen Notes

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&M —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 1 tart
Ingredients
  • 1 large Meyer lemon, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tart shell, your favorite (homemade or store-bought)
In This Recipe
Directions
  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.
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236 Reviews

Diane C. December 14, 2020
Delicious pie... although I made a few changes. It worked well with a store-bought pecan crust.
 
Author Comment
dymnyno December 14, 2020
Great idea!
 
Aditi November 8, 2020
This has been on my to-make list for a long time and finally got around to trying it. I love the creamy texture and it was so easy to make. I used the olive oil press-in tart crust on this site, and used organic limes instead of lemons (about 130 g worth). The taste was a little bitter, but not inedible. I would recommend first processing the lemon with the sugar to avoid big chunks of lemon before adding the other ingredients.
 
Bodhi M. June 3, 2020
I made this recently, but with a few changes (oh oh, here goes!). No Meyer lemons available so I used 2 average sized lemons. Since lemons at the store around here seem to have unusually large pithy bits, I first zested the lemons, then I trimmed off a lot of the pith. Then I cut the lemons and removed the seeds. I used the press-in crust recipe from https://food52.com/recipes/78040-the-best-lemon-shortbread-tart-ever. We thought this tart was a keeper! Made it a couple of times already and we love it (we love lemon desserts a lot.) Thanks for the great recipe.
 
shayes1977 January 19, 2020
I made this tart last night with a store roll out crust. I only had 1 small meyer lemon so used it plus 3/4 a regular lemon. It was delicious but next time I will not use the whole lemon rind as I get a touch of bitterness. It was so easy and simple to make....a great recipe!
 
DVE January 19, 2020
I usually use organic lemons and have not noticed any bitterness. Also, be sure to remove any lemon seeds as they are definitely bitter.
 
Francoise V. May 8, 2020
Get a zester used specifically for fruit. It gets very tiny zest with absolutely none of the white pith, which is bitter. You'll never go back to using a grater. Worth every penny. Lee Valley sells them or any cooking or department store.
 
Kathleen V. December 19, 2019
I made this recipe and it is delicious! I have a great deal of Meyer lemons and I was wondering if the tart can be frozen after cooking and/or before cooking? Also, can the filling be made separately and frozen to fill the tart shell at a later date?
 
Cristy December 19, 2019
The filling literally take 5 minutes to blend, freezing changes textures, I would not freeze the filling or a unbaked tart. I might freeze one that is cooked, but this takes only minutes to pull together, it takes longer to make the crust...
 
Joe H. March 14, 2019
I have used olive oil for the butter in this recipe many times and it tastes great.. I just feel it’s healthier. A stick of butter is a lot of butter for this small pie.
You can find the conversion table on the web.
 
Nina E. January 3, 2019
Sorry to say this was a big disappointment (and I made it EXACTLY according to the recipe). The filling didn't even begin to fill the tart shell, and it was runny and tasted more eggy than lemony. Brilliant concept but didn't deliver.
 
Michele H. December 16, 2018
Easy recipe a tad bit bitter otherwise so yummy. I will leave out the seeds next time. Used a premade pie shell in tart pan. Hubby loved it. I was a bit paranoid about putting g the entire lemon in the food processor. After I ate it I thought oh no was I suppose to put in the whole thing, can I eat the rind? Read the comments and felt better about the taste and had another slice. Oh so good!
 
mari November 27, 2018
I loved this recipe. I followed as written with great results. Reasons for bitterness would be from the lemons, and not the recipe's fault. I cut the lemon in quarters and took out the seeds. As everyone knows, they are bitter, and some lemons are loaded with seeds. Just like some cucumbers are bitter, so are some lemons. Again, not the fault of the recipe. Taste your lemon before adding it to the blender. If the peel, pith, or inside are bitter, don't use that part. Cut away pith if it's abundant. I used a smallish lemon and so added a bit of extra lemon juice because I like it lemony. It's an easy and adaptable recipe.
 
mari November 27, 2018
Also, I softened the butter to room temp. If you melt your butter, that might cook the eggs and make them curdle before they're baked. If the ingredients aren't well incorporated, then concentrated egg or butter parts might cook the filling unevenly.
 
Lisa W. November 23, 2018
Not sure what I did wrong but my mixture was like curdled egg, not smooth. I had all ingredients at room temperature. Baking it now to see it if works itself out...
 
Amy November 5, 2018
I hope Food52 will revise this recipe taking into account the comments of taste. I was preparing to make this and luckily read the comments prior to doing so. I opted to use my highly coveted Meyers lemons and stellar butter for a different dessert but would like to try this lemon tart at some point. Please revise the recipe rather than offering suggestions in the Comments section. Why make us work so hard to find the proper combinations in the responses?
 
Karen October 28, 2018
Huge waste of valuable ingredients.
Like some other reviewers, who I chose to ignore, this is inedible bitter. Not sour, bitter. The filling tasted amazing when it was made, sweet, sour, interesting texture... I was really hopeful.
Smaller amazing while baking and looked gorgeous out of the oven. But not one person in the house who tried this could take more than two bites. And I am not by any means a novice baker. I bake constantly and bake complex recipes frequently.
This is by far the worst recipe I've come across in all my years of cooking and baking and would advise anyone considering trying it out to just invest the extra time in making a traditional curd filling.
I'm so upset that I wasted my expensive butter on this.
 
DVE October 28, 2018
Everyone’s taste is different and this sounds like it’s not for you but I have two suggestions - use organic lemons and make sure all of the seeds are removed.
 
Amber S. October 12, 2018
I found Meyer lemons, but they are much smaller than ones I have bought in the past. So... about how big do you consider a “large” Meyer lemon) :)
 
Elise J. June 4, 2018
How much is a stick of butter? Coming from NZ so in grams would be awesome.
 
Lea H. June 4, 2018
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter is equal to 4 ounces, or 113 grams.
 
Laurie April 7, 2018
I always make it in a pie pan - never thought otherwise
 
Bailey April 7, 2018
Can you make this in a regular pie pan? I have all of the ingredients but no tart pan!
 
ellcrump March 24, 2018
Does it matter if the butter is cold or warm?
 
Analida B. March 10, 2018
I love the whole lemons in this recipe and I can't wait to try it! I make a version with orange and lemon juice that has a custard like filling: https://ethnicspoon.com/perfect-lemon-tart/
I also like to reserve some egg whites to paint the tart shell after baking to seal any cracks that form so it does not leak while baking the filling.
 
YCandy July 12, 2017
I made this today with the following modifications. It is delicious and so easy!
1. Pie crust - blind baked at 350 for 10 minutes with pie weights, then 5 minutes without. Didn't really let it cool before using. I used a 9" tart shell and store bought crust.
2. Used a large regular lemon (5 ounces). I peeled off the rind and then cut off the white pith with a paring knife until it was down to mostly fruit. This helped with the bitterness. I also added juice from 1/2 a small lemon.small lemon
3. Melted the butter before using
4. Added 2T flour and 1/4 cup buttermilk
5. Only had to make for 35 minutes
 
Amy April 10, 2017
So, my mom and I just made this...and initally we followed the recipe to a "t" except for the use of myer lemons. I made the crust according to the Joy of Cooking (the egg crust), and followed the lemon tart recipe. The crust was a bit brown (that concerned me), but we were braving on. My mom took the tart crust and went to put it in the fridge. Between the counter and the fridge shelf...something happened and the crust encountered the floor...inadvertently. No more crust. We went with the old standby, a graham cracker crust...and the dessert was still amazing, in spite of the change in the crust.