Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart

October 29, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

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
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min


  • 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


  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.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
  • This recipe is a Community Pick!

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Reviews (226) Questions (17)

226 Reviews

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...<br />
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.<br />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.<br />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. <br />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.<br />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?<br />
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:<br />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!<br />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.<br />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<br />3. Melted the butter before using<br />4. Added 2T flour and 1/4 cup buttermilk<br />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.
agamom April 8, 2017
Delicious, easy and so quick to pull together from ingredients right at home. No Meyer lemons available so I followed other wonderful advice below and removed bud end, pith and seeds on a regular large lemon, added half a lemon more in juice form only, two tablespoons of cream and a half tablespoon of flour to thicken. Since I made 4 tarts at once I played with the cooking time and thickness of the filling. The very best tart was quite thin on the filling and cooked until it was just beginning to bubble and turn clear. Absolutely the right amount of lemon tartness when made with a 1/4 cup less sugar as Laurie suggested. Great recipe that will become a staple on my favorites list.
Arrxx March 26, 2017
Cut off bud end of lemon, cut lemon in half and remove the pips before your whirl it! They make the filling bitter.
Nancy January 27, 2017
I used one regular lemon and (horrors!) refrigerated pie crust dough and it turned out great! My picky pre-teen son loved it. Very light.
Skooter August 21, 2016
Super easy!! Next time I'll make 2 batches and add 2 tablespoons cornstarch to one batch to see the difference. I didn't try the superfine sugar, just regular sugar.
Amy April 10, 2017
I too used just regular sugar...still tasted delicious<br /><br />
Laurie May 1, 2016
Super-duper. Combined the comments and came out with a real winner. Used Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach Pie crust, 2 Meyer lemons and the buttermilk and 2 Tbs. flour addition from Clair Gu's comment. Cut out 1/4 cup of sugar. Came out with a larger tart - 10", really outstanding. Served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream - strawberries cut the sweet. Big hit!!!
caroline March 25, 2016
Dumb question here but for the lemon, do I peel off off the rind? Thanks
aargersi March 26, 2016
Nope! Throw the whole thing in!
Cristy March 26, 2016
No, wash however before you throw the lemon in the blender...delish!