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Dec 5, 2012 06:49 AM

Lemon Curd Tart

I have a recipe for lemon curd that I love (from Cook's Illustrated) that I would like to use as a filling for a Lemon Curd Tart (I'll need to triple the recipe to yield the correct amount to fill my tart pan).

Investigating various Lemon Curd Tart recipes on the internet, I've discovered some recipes have you pour the blended but uncooked lemon curd ingredients directly into the baked tart shell, and cook the curd in the oven.

Other recipes require the curd be cooked on the stovetop until it thickens and coats a spoon, then pour it into the baked tart shell and cook an additional 15 or so minutes in the oven.

A third option I've seen is to cook the curd on the stovetop until it thickens and coats a spoon, then pour into the baked tart shell and refrigerate (no further cooking of the curd).

How can I know which method will work best if I use the CI recipe I like for the curd?

Obviously I want the tart slices to hold their shape once cut, but I know that overcooking curd results in a pasty taste and grainy texture.

The CI recipe requires the curd be cooked on the stovetop to 170° and a spatula drawn through the curd makes a trail on the bottom of the saucepan which quickly disappears.

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  1. I make a cream cheese based tart, let it cool out of the oven and then top w/a lemon curd. No further cooking, just refrigerate. It works fine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      I use the CI Lemon Curd recipe as a topping for cheesecake as well. However, when used as a topping, the curd layer is much thinner, hence holding it's shape isn't an issue. When used as the sole filling for a tart, it might be.

      1. re: TwirlyGirly

        The cream cheese layer in the tart is very thin and the lemon curd layer is thick, just as thick as I'd make it w/out the cream cheese layer. It refrigerates to a firm enough layer to cut and hold its form.

    2. Just pour the curd into the cooked tart shell. No need to cook it further. One thing I love to do is to cover the top with raspberries, it's an insanely delicious combination!

      If you want to make a cooked version, this one is very good:

      1. Like everyone else, do the 3rd option.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Does anyone know why some recipes require the tart be cooked in the oven after the curd has be cooked on the stove?

        2. This recipe, from Kate Zuckerman's "The Sweet Life" ( ) is the best lemon curd and the best lemon curd tart I've ever made and she bakes the tart after filling a prebaked pie shell with curd that has been cook in a bain marie.

          I wonder if the answer to why she cooks it in the oven after cooking it (at least partially) on the stovetop is somewhere there in the technical information that follows the recipe, but if so it's not revealing itself to me.

          3 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              It's much better than it used to be. The founder is the former editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books and originally (perhaps still) the plan was to offer a small selection of recipes as a way for cookbook authors to promote themselves and sell more of their books. Because so much of the Hyperion list was British imports, about all you could find on Cookstr at the beginning was Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, although Mario Batali signed on fairly early. It's fun to browse, but you can't count on finding anything specific that you might be looking for.

            2. re: JoanN

              I love that website, Joan. Thank you! (I am fascinated by food science). I read through the technical info, but wasn't able to process all of it. It will definitely get a second, and possibly third, read. I didn't see anything there specifically addressing why it the curd should be cooked both on the stovetop and in the oven.

              The recipe is quite similar to the CI one I use, except that mine uses regular lemons as opposed to the Meyers, and so more sugar. I wish I could try Meyer lemons sometime, but unfortunately my local Stop & SHop doesn't carry them and without a car, I'm limited in my ability to get to other stores. Maybe someday.......