This Lemon-Lime Basil Tart is a summer twist on my Classic French Tarte au Citron, which is one of the most popular recipes on this blog. The basil infused lime filling tastes both fresh and creamy, and is the perfect pairing to a crisp buttery pâte sucrée, made the true French way. This Tart is perfectly zesty, not too sweet, and makes for a refreshing dessert on a hot Summer day.
The crust: « pâte sucrée ».
Just like the Tarte au Citron, the ideal crust for this tart is what we call a “pâte sucrée”. You can use a store-bought pie crust if you wish, but as I always like to say “making your own crust from scratch will go a long way”. A pâte sucrée is a sweet, crumbly French pastry – a little crisper, and less sandy than a “pâte sablée” ( a crust you would use for this Tarte aux Fraises). My version of it includes a small portion of almond flour, for sweet nutty notes that balance perfectly with the tangy filling.
Because a pâte sucrée contains quite a lot of butter, it needs to be chilled twice for at least 2 hours before rolling-it out and at least 30 minutes once rolled out in the tart shell, before baking. Consider these chilling times when you plan on making this lemon tart. You can also prepare the dough the day before and keep it refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
The crust is blind baked – which mean on its own, before being filled.
The filling: a lemon-lime basil custard.
As mentioned above, this lemon-lime basil filling is a riff from my classic Tarte Au Citron recipe. Instead of using just lemons, we use mostly lime juice and a smaller portion of lemon juice. The custard is infused with fresh basil leaves, which enhances beautifully the fresh citrus flavors.
This custard holds its shape, but is far more soft than in the other lemon or lime pies you might have encountered. Likewise, this filling is far more rich and luscious than its American cousin (it’s a French tart, after all), with a generous amount of butter in it too.
Once filled, the tart simply gets baked again for 5 minutes for the custard to set and turn a deep beautiful yellow. You can then enjoy the tart slightly warm, or place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours and enjoy cold.
- Because we need the zest of a lemon and lime, make sure you get organic citrus fruits. Wash the skin well before zesting.
- I like my filling quite bright and tangy, which requires the zest of 1 whole lemon and 1 whole lime. If you’re a bit shyer, you can use the zest of only ½ a lemon.
- As a substitute for fresh basil, you can also use fresh mint leaves.
- The filling will be creamy and slightly soft the day of. If you pop the tart in the fridge and wait until the next day before serving it, the filling will be much firmer and make cleaner cuts.
I hope you’ll love this Lemon-Lime Basil Tart recipe as much as I do! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
You may also like:
- Classic French Tarte au Citron
- Classic French Tarte aux Fraises
- Lemon Poppy seed French Yogurt Loaf
- Honey Lemon Marmalade
For the « pate sucrée » crust :
½ cup (125g) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature.
¾ cup (95g) powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 ½ tbsp (40g) almond flour (ground almond)
1 large egg
1 ¾ cup + 1 tbsp (233g) all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
For the filling:
¾ cup (180ml) lime juice (about 6-7 limes)
¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lemon
6-7 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (+ a few extra for decoration)
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, cubed.
4 large eggs + 4 large egg yolks
Make the « pâte sucrée » crust.
In large mixing bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar until creamy and smooth. Add the vanilla extract, almond flour and egg, and mix until homogeneous. Add the all-purpose flour and salt, and mix until just incorporated and the dough comes together into a ball. Wrap in a plastic film and place in the fridge for 2 hours, minimum.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
Take the pâte sucrée out of the fridge, place it between two large sheets of parchment paper and roll it out to a 12-inch circle. Unpeel the top sheet of parchment paper, transfer the crust to a 9-inch tart pan (trim the sides if needed) and poke the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Line the top of the crust with foil or parchment paper and place pie weights or dried beans on top, to keep the pie crust from puffing when baking.
Bake the pâte sucrée for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment paper filled with weights and bake for 10 more minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden.
Set the tart shell aside to cool (still in the dish). Leave your oven on at 350°F/180°C.
In the meantime, make the lemon-lime basil filling.
Grab a fine-mesh strainer before you start and have it ready within arm’s reach.
In a medium saucepan (no heat yet), whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, lime zest, lemon zest, basil, sugar, salt, egg yolks and eggs. Add the cubed butter and turn the heat to medium. Whisk slowly until the butter is all melted. Continue whisking steadily for several minutes until the mixture thickens to a thin custard consistency.
Immediately pass the lemon filling through the fine mesh strainer (to discard of the basil pieces) directly into the tart shell. Using an offset spatula (or back of a large spoon), smooth out the top of the filling. Bake the tart for 5 minutes, until the filling has slightly set and turned slightly deeper in color.
Set aside to cool for at least 30 minutes. Decorate with basil leaves and lime zests. Enjoy slightly warm or chilled.
If you try this Classic French Lemon Tart recipe let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram. Bon Appétit!
The crust recipe is inspired by Pierre Herme’s (I have used this recipe for a long time, and made several tweaks to it along the way to suit my taste).