Lucy's Friendly Foods

Tarte au Citron AKA Luscious Lemon Tart

20140530-171933-62373970.jpgTarte au citron is one of my all time favourite pastries/puddings. I find zingy lemon the perfect refreshing taste after a meal, and it has to be the epitome of a spring time dessert with an elegance surpassed by few other pastries. I’ve been thinking of how to make a friendly version for a while, but most of my research has come across versions using lemon curd (not authentic), turmeric for colour (I find the taste overpowering) or agar for set (too jelly like). Somehow I needed to find a way of making the filling an appealing yellow colour with a good set. As I say, lots of vegan recipes seem to use turmeric for colour but I find even the tiniest bit give a musty spicy taste that I’m not looking for when I make a sweet pastry. I could have used food colouring but somehow that seemed wrong too.

Then it came to me, what about Birds custard powder (ingredients: cornflour, salt, colour (annatto), flavouring)? It’s always beautifully yellow and seems to set pretty well. The results were excellent – colour was perfectly yellow and the set was nice and firm. I decided to use water on this occasion, but maybe next time I’ll use dairy-free milk to give the filling more richness and for more authenticity as the appearance of a traditional tarte au citron is a bit more creamy than this version

Tarte au Citron (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)


makes 1 tart

  • Short crust pastry, I used Jus-rol for convenience
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup custard powder
  • 1 cup water

– Line and bake blind a shallow tart tin, cool. Find instructions for a great shortcrust (sub dairy-free spread for the butter) and to blind bake here.

– Place the zest, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar

– Mix the custard powder with a couple of tbsps water to form a smooth paste.

– Add the custard mix and the water to the lemon juice mixture.

– Heat gently, stirring now and then until it starts to thicken. When the consistency is similar to yogurt (gloopy but still a bit runny) pour into the tart shell.

– Leave to set in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.





20 Responses

  1. This looks really yummy! I’ll have to investigate the custard powder, but i am so grateful to have found a dupe for a lemon pie. I have been craving this for a while now! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Made this last night with soy milk instead of the water, and it turned out beautifully. Thanks for the recipe :0)

  3. Ummm, tagged as vegan but contains custard powder which definitely is not vegan as it contains milk, cream and whey protein!

    1. Next time do your research before you make such sweeping statements. If you had actually read the post (you clearly didn’t before diving in with your comment) I used Bird’s custard powder which certainly does NOT contain milk, cream and whey protein – the ingredients are clearly listed in my blog post if you want to check it out.

  4. Thanks so much for this recipe – it is simple and suoer lemony and delicious. I put the zest of 2 lemons in, not one (seeing as I was juicing 2 lemons which would then be composted). I also did as you suggested and made it with soya milk, not water. When I combined the milk and lemon juice I could see some curdling, but I kept whisking and heating and the tart was a success!

    Next time, I will experiment and replace half the custard powder with cornflour. Despite liking Bird’s Custard Powder, I thought the tart ended up looking too yellow (almost orange) compared to an egg based tart au citron.The slightly synthetic vanilla flavour from the custard powder was also a bit odd with the lemon.. so part replacing with cornflour might diminish this. I’ll also try it with soya cream instead of milk, to see if that adds to the richness and consistency. Overall, a fab, adaptable recipe, thank you for posting!

    1. glad you enjoyed the recipe. I’d be interested to hear how it turns out with cornflour and soya cream. Let me know if you give it a go 🙂

  5. The recipe looks great. I was wondering can you tell me what it might take to make the recipe into mini-tarts. I want to make about 25 of them.

    1. Hi Greg, I’m not sure as I don’t know the size of your mini tarts – I’m guessing that as this recipe makes a pie which serves 6-8 then maybe you’s want to multiply by 3 or 4? Hope that helps! Lx

  6. Just tried this out with 1/8 cup of the custard mix and 1/8 cup of regular cornflour. I also used 1 cup of almond milk instead of just water. Worked beautifully, set super nicely. Thanks Lucy!

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