Gettin’ Tarty | Brûléed Lemon Tart

Brûléed Lemon Tart | Once Upon a Recipe

Ladies and gentlemen, behold one of the most fabulous things I have ever baked and eaten. The brûléed lemon tart.

I think I may have just made that word up: brûléed. I’m rather certain that brûlée is a noun and that I just used it as a verb. Wait, is that right? Suddenly, I am having difficulty recalling the basics of English grammar. But I don’t care. It sounds kinda catchy.

Bruleed Lemon Tart | Once Upon a Recipe

And this tart is pretty damn catchy. As in, you’ll want to catch it in your mouth because it’s damn delicious.

My apologies, the words aren’t exactly flowing well at the moment. My mind is a bit preoccupied with the fact that in less than 24 hours, I will be on a plane en route to Hawaii, where I will enjoy two weeks of uninterrupted bliss with some very fun people. My body is here, but my brain is already in the sun, sand, and Mai Tais.

Bruleed Lemon Tart | Once Upon a Recipe

But before I go, I must share this tart with you. It may look simple, but it is rather magnificent. A buttery shortbread crust filled with a sweet/tart creamy lemon filling, topped with a sugar crust akin to the one you’d find atop another delectable dessert, crème brûlée. I first made this tart last summer for my mom’s birthday. I topped it with blackberries. It received rave reviews. I made it again as part of the rather gluttonous Easter Feaster a couple of weeks ago, and it did not survive the Easter Feaster table.

Bruleed Lemon Tart | Once Upon a Recipe

If you’ve never made a tart before, fear not. It’s ridiculously simple. The crust comes together in a flash in a food processor. After chilling out in the fridge for a couple of hours, it gets rolled out and pressed into a tart pan. Bake ‘er up. Mix the filling ingredients together. Pour over crust. Bake again. Sprinkle with sugar. Torch it up. Badabing, badaboom.

Brûléed Lemon Tart | Once Upon a Recipe

Despite the large quantities of cream, butter, sugar, and eggs in this recipe, the end result is surprisingly light. And this tart comes with a guarantee: It will not survive more than 24 hours. You have been warned. Either invite some friends over or be prepared to eat this thing until it’s gone. No judgment here if you choose the latter.

Brûléed Lemon Tart | Once Upon a Recipe

A quick note: I will be spending the next two weeks in paradise, and while I would love to promise that I will update the blog a time or two, if the Mai Tais and Pina Coladas are calling to me, I’m not going to ignore them. However, I can guarantee that I will be sharing tidbits from my adventures on Instagram and Twitter, so follow me there if you’re so inclined. The adventures will include a visit here. Have a fabulous couple of weeks, friends! xo.

Brûléed Lemon Tart | Once Upon a Recipe

Brûléed Lemon Tart (from Epicurious, originally printed in Bon Appétit, April 2004)

Makes one 10-inch tart. Feel free to jazz up the finished product with fresh fruit, such as blackberries or blueberries. With that said, it’s just as delicious without any additions. 

For the crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup icing sugar

Pinch of salt

6 TBSP. unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

6 tsp. whipping cream

For the filling:

3/4 cup + 2 TBSP. sugar, divided

3/4 cup whipping cream

4 egg yolks (reserve one egg white)

2 whole eggs

Juice + zest from 2 large lemons (about 1/2 cup juice + 1 TBSP. zest)

For the crust: Combine the flour, icing sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds until blended. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the whipping cream and blend until moist clumps form. If the dough is too dry, add more whipping cream one teaspoon at a time. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, and then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out onto a floured surface. I used a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, but a 9-inch tart pan would work fine too. Roll the dough thin enough to cover the bottom of the pan and create double-thick sides. Press into the tart pan. Poke the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork. Bake for 18 minutes. Brush the inside of the tart shell with the reserved beaten egg white. Maintain the oven temperature.

For the filling: Combine the 3/4 cup sugar, whipping cream, egg yolks, eggs, and lemon juice and zest in a large bowl and whisk together until combined. Pour the filling into the warm tart shell and return to the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is slightly puffed at the edges and set in the center. Cool for about an hour.

Sprinkle the remaining 2 TBSP. of sugar over the filling. Use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar, as if you were making crème brûlée. If you do not have a kitchen torch, you can use your broiler to achieve a similar effect. Be very careful, checking the tart after a minute or two, and turning the pan for even browning. It may also be wise to cover the edges of the crust with tin foil to prevent the crust from getting too brown. Allow the tart to cool for another hour, until the topping is crisp. Slice and serve!

Brûléed Lemon Tart | Once Upon a Recipe


  1. margaretbgarnier says:

    Hi! Brûlée is actually a French word (I’m french) and it means burnt, so yes it’s a verb… this tart looks yummy, I’m feeling like lemon curd, lemon meringue pies and all sorts of lemon pies lately so thanks for this post 🙂

  2. This looks so yummy, I will be making it soon! Have so much fun in Hawaii! I’m super jealous. It’s a winter wonderland here in CO. Enjoy!!

  3. Although I hate you for going to Hawaii without me, I love this lemon tart. Its so bright and fresh for spring!

  4. Ahh I am way to jealous that you’re going to go to Hawaii (of you’re probably there as I type this? or en route? whatever). Nice of you to leave us this pretty post before you go, though. 🙂 Making a lemon tart has been one of those things that I have wanted to make just about forever, but never find the opportunity/timing to. Spring time seems like a perfect time… It’d be smart of me to make two — one regular, and one “bruleed” to compare and contrast! 😀

    PS: brulee is an adjective, I’m pretty sure, and “bruleed” is a verb and/or adverb 😛

    • Leaving in about 6 hours. I can’t sleep! Eeeeee! You must must MUST make this tart, Amy. It’s so dang delicious!
      PS. Thank you for the clarification. 😉

  5. This looks really delicious, perfectly springlike, and light, but with some texture and a little depth from the brulee top. YUM!!!

  6. Wow this pie looks amazing ! I love it ! Your photos are always awesome ! You’re one of my favorite bloger ever !

  7. Bruleed lemons? Why are you doing this to me so close to lunchtime. Looks amazing.

  8. I’ve been having a bit of an obsession with Meyer Lemons lately, and I’ve been trying to make as many lovely things with them as I can since I know they’ll be gone soon. This may be my next Meyer Lemon project! It looks perfectly delicious. Enjoy your vacation!

  9. Such a pretty dessert – I’m such a fan of that tart/sweet combo in lemon desserts. Enjoy your vacation – can’t wait to see the photos and pretend I’m also in paradise! 🙂

  10. The brulee adds such a special touch to this tart.

  11. This is so pretty, lady! I’d love a slice right about now.

  12. This is the most delicious looking and sounding tart!

  13. Oh my, this looks amazing! I’m a big fan of creme brulee so I would love to try this.


  14. this looks tasty Lemon my favorite flavor and creme brûlée in one… going to try this recipe 🙂

  15. Oh YUM Amanda! This looks delicious!

  16. YES! I got a kitchen torch for xmas and have only used it once so I’m ALL over this bruleed tart! Love how zest, sweet and delicious it looks!

  17. It’s been a long time since I made a tart but this looks like it’s worth getting back on that train. Looks and sounds fantastic and perfect for spring (which finally decided to show up here in NC). Great pics too!

    Hope you have fun on your trip! Never been to the islands but I’d love to one day. Enjoy it!!

  18. Oh my!! I love lemon desserts so much and am absolutely going to have to make this immediately…it looks DIVINE!!!

  19. Oh this is gorgeous! And I love that light crystalization and golden color on top. I want to dig in!

  20. That looks like indeed a fabulous tart, love the caramelized topping. Have a wonderful and sunny holiday 🙂

  21. Oh man — what a perfect looking tart! Plus, I have been obsessed with lemons lately!

  22. Oooooooo…..I LOVE the look of this lemony tart!

  23. I love this tart…. can’t wait to make it!

  24. I’d kill for a slice of this right now! yum

  25. So glad that I came to your blog through friends!
    The lemon tarte looks stunning so is the recipe.
    For sure not my last visit.

  26. This looks fabulous, Amanda!

  27. Anything bruleed is a win in my book!

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