Gooey filling you want to scoop out with your fingers – Relive your childhood with these delightful lemon tarts!

Published: March 30, 2018

I love lemon tarts so much I believe they should have their own emoji! PHOTO: ARHAMA SIDDIQA

If there is one thing in this world that can make me forgive and forget everything and start from scratch, it is lemon tarts. If anyone ever wants me to erase the memory board and wipe the slate clean, all they have to do is present me with these beauties!

I love lemon tarts so much I believe they should have their own emoji! The tangy flavour of sourness, playing around with just the right amount of sweetness, can change anyone’s mood around.

One of my favourite childhood memories would be my mom driving me home from school, stopping at the local bakery and getting both of us a lemon tart each. Now the thing is, my mom (still) likes the tart shells and I like the gooey creamy filling, so we always struck a deal – she could have my tart shell, if I could have her filling. And boy the filling was good! Especially – and yes, all you ‘knives and forks’ people out there can gasp in union – the fun in scooping the filling out with your index finger, which is definitely one of the best feelings in the world! That’s how I still eat it.

As I grew up and the baking madness kicked in, I decided to try my hands at these little devils. And believe me, they are the easiest things in the world to make. In fact, homemade lemon tarts have their own irreplaceable taste – a uniqueness market tarts cannot emulate.

They originate from France, and are called tarte au citron over there. In my opinion, three words sum up lemon tarts: Pretty. Straightforward. Sweet.

Before I start, I want to reveal that in my first attempt for this blog, the pictures came out amazing, but the lemon tarts tasted awful. Shameful as it is, I would have gone forward with it anyway, had it not been for four people who I happened to meet that day, who made me question myself and made my conscience cry out. I would like to dedicate this blog to them to express my gratitude for making me realise the error I would have made otherwise. These tarts below are my fifth attempt, and I am happy to say, they are perfect.

Sometimes, even the easiest of dishes can become a challenge for you.

Before we start, please note that you can use a tart pan for more aesthetics. I, however, used a muffin pan, because even though I would dearly love to get a tart pan, my mother does not let me turn her kitchen into a crockery shop. So I have to exercise restrain, and make do with what I have. I decided to go simple here, but you can garnish them with glazed cherries, sprinkles or even strawberries (since they are in season right now).


For tart shells:

Flour: 200gm
Butter: 125gm, cold cut in small cubes
Salt: a pinch
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Egg yolks: 1
Water: 2 tbsp, ice cold

For Filling:

Butter: 50gm
Lemon juice: ¼ cup
Eggs: 2 beaten
Sugar: 125gm


For tart shells:

1. Sift flour and salt.

2. Rub in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles bread crumbs.

3. Stir in sugar. Then add in the beaten egg yolks and water. Do not over knead, otherwise pastry will turn stiff.

4. Roll out and cut out with a round cutter.

5. Arrange each one in the mould and prick with knife or a fork, so the pastry doesn’t rise.

6. Bake in the moulds for 15 min, or until golden.

For the filling:

1. Melt butter on a low medium flame.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until thick and smooth. This can take 10 to 15 mins.

Note: before the mixture starts getting thick, force it through a fine sieve to remove any impurities or curdled egg. Return to double boiler to thicken it.

3. Let it cool before filling the cases.


All photos: Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She is also a bibliophile and an avid foodie. Her food blog can be found @chakhoous ( and she tweets @arhama_siddiqa (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.