Lemon Tart

If you’ve been reading this blog before you probably know that we try to cook and bake with a healthier twist. But how do you bake a lemon tart without adding sugar, wheat flour or butter? We have been asking ourselves that question the last couple of weeks. And after giving it a few tries, our answer is … you don’t. Or we don’t.

We tried to make a couple of tart crusts without butter but they just didn’t qualify. So we use butter in this recipe (quite a lot actually). But to make up for that we have made a tart crust that tastes a lot better than your regular tart crust. And we have made it without adding sugar or gluten, instead we use almonds, cashew nuts and dates. We have also made a sugar free lemon custard, using agave syrup and a vanilla pod. And when you put the crust and the custard together, you get a pretty darn good lemon tart. And that is exactly what we deserve, because we have been eating a couple of lousy tarts to get here.

Lemon Tart

Gluten free pie crust:
200 g mixed nuts (we used almonds and cashews)
10 fresh dates
100 g cold butter
2/5 cup (55 g) buckwheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon

Sugar free lemon custard:
75 g butter
1 1/3 cup soy milk
1 vanilla pod
2 small lemons (juice and zest)
6 tbsp agave syrup
2 egg yolks
1 egg
4 tbsp corn starch

Making the crust: Mix nuts and dates in a blender for about a minute (it’s ok if the nuts aren’t completely grinded) and pour the mixture in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl together with the rest of the ingredients. Use your hands to work the pastry. Coat the bottom of a 9” tart pan with some butter, and distribute the pastry evenly on the bottom and the sides. Prick the pan with fork and put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes while you make the custard.

Making the custard: Heat butter, soy milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan on medium heat. Add lemon juice, zest and agave syrup. Bring to a boil while stirring, then lower the temperature and let it simmer for about five minutes. Remove the vanilla pod, set aside and let it cool. Whisk egg yolks, egg and corn starch with a manual whisk in a large mixing bowl for a couple of minutes, then add the lemon mixture while whisking.

Pour the custard into the tart pan and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes. The tart crust can easily get burnt so keep an eye on the oven. Let it cool before serving. Decorate with fresh lemon balm.

Photo by: Johanna Frenkel.


  • Sarah
    I am excited to try this recipe but have one question, is Corn Starch what we would call Corn Flour in the UK Or something different? Thanks!
  • Ivana
    I love this recipe. I miss having lemon merengue tart, and this seems like a good replacement. I'm going to try it out this weekend. Do you think I could use a crust from your coconut fennel tart recipe for this or is it not a good idea? Thanks!
  • Camille
    Jeg er meget opsat på at forsøge mig med denne tærte, men vil man kunne bruge risstivelse i stedet for majsstivelse? Jeg synes godt nok, at risstivelse har en tendens til at klumpe hver gang jeg bruger det, men det er lige, hvad jeg har i skabet... I øvrigt tak for en skøn blog, app og kogebog!
  • Aleksandra
    Hi, How much mililitres a "cup" is? I assumed one cup was 250ml, but the custard was sooo watery then (was it meant to?) that I added some extra starch, which in turn made the tart very hard after it cooled down in the fridge... But the taste is great and very refreshing - I definitely want to give it another try, this time using the right amount of ingredients ;-)
  • Evy
    Tried your recipe and it was absolutely amazing! Made a few changes though. Vegetable oil worked out well instead of the butter. For dates I used the paste I made the other day and it tasted amazing! Thank you for the recipe! Loved it!
  • Laura Eggers
    hejhej i just tried your lemon tarte...the crust turned out quite well, but the inside didn´t taste as lemony as i expected and had kind of a weired consistency and the baking time was a lot longer...guess i did something wrong? ;( (but it still looks amazing ;)) other than this little accident i really love your recepies, pictures and your whole blog! kram
  • Christina Simpson
    Love your site, both photograhy and recipes. I've tried several of your recipies and love them. I'm so happy to have found gluten and sugar free deserts :) I recently tried the lemon tart and while the taste is great I did have a problem with the custard. It was very loose and I'm wondering if I might have misunderstood the last part of the recipie. Should I have simmered the eggs and the corn starch mix with the lemonjuice/milk mix? I just added the cooled of lemon mix with the egg/corn starch.
  • I made this recipe last night and it tasted great. I divide the dough into little tins and made lemon tarts for a Christmas Eve dessert—thank you for the recipe!
  • jane
    Lthan ioks delicious, i will try and make that this week.When i bake i use fructose to sweeten things and any fruit juice thats in the fridge at the time,in gluten and dairy free cakes i tend to use more than when using normal sugar.
  • Krystina
    Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, it's gorgeous! I love (LOVE) your site. We ended up making this tart in a 22 inch cake pan, as the crust needed a fair bit more buckwheat flour to get the right consistency (variation in flours perhaps? We're in Australia...though the flour I used was made in Holland. Hmmm!) and so was a larger quantity. Thought I'd let you know I ended up blending through an avocado at the last minute, and some more lemon, as was worried wouldn't have enough custard for the larger size. It was fabulous: as people suggested, didn't taste of avocado, but it did change the colour...to a gorgeous pale green pistachio shade. Fantastic consistency too, and it's kept really well!
  • Hi! love your tarts, will be trying soon... so pretty to look n must be yummy to eat. Loved surprising my friends with these :) Cheers
  • Max
    I tried that lemon tart and it was delicious! Thanks!!
  • Hi! Thanks for this great recipe - I just tried it and it turned out very well! One substitution was kamut flour instead of buckwheat which I couldn't find. Anyway, everyone said it was delicious!
  • Chana
    Hi, Love your blog! I'm an avid reader. Two questions (I'm in middle of making this tart right now!). a) vanilla pod. Scraped? Whole and removed later? b) lemon peel. Whole and removed later? Or lemon zest? Thanks!
    • Hi Chana, thanks for your comment. We used the whole vanilla pod and removed it later. And we actually used zest, not peel. We have updated this in the recipe now. Good luck and hope you like the lemon tart!
  • love ur blog! this tart looks delicious!
  • Look a bit more healthier than my Swedish Cupcakes that I'm making in the latest episode of my cooking show. And very very delicious.
  • Dorothy
    Question about the "fresh dates" - dried dates, yes? I am going to try this recipe tonight - I love lemon desserts, and this looks fabulous.
    • Hi Dorothy! We haven't tried it with dry dates, but it should work, the taste would be the same. :) Good luck! /Luise
  • This tart is drop dead gorgeous! Just wanted to chime in that I agree with Sigrid that it would be worth experimenting with avocados - it would probably result in a lovely creamy consistency, with just a very subtle avocado taste, especially when combined with the agave!
  • Great job making this healthy and delicious.
  • What a creative lemon tart recipe! Love the healthy twist you gave it. I would like to taste it!
  • Kate
    I just wanted to let you know I made this for Easter and it turned out well with almond milk and honey. It is just the perfect amount of sweet. Mine did not look as pretty as yours does, but it was still delicious. Thank you for this recipe. I will be using the crust again for sure. It would be very good for other types of desserts like pumpkin pie.
    • Wonderful! I'm sure it looked good too :) yes, or with blackberry and vanilla! /Luise
  • Winnie and Jacqui: I agree, coconut oil does seem like a good replacer. It was also one of the first things I tried to use instead of butter. But it lacked the richness of the butter and also made the crust a little compact. At least when I tried it. If you have better luck please let us know. Sigrid: I must admit that I have been a bit reluctant against using avocado in desserts. I have seen several recipes but never dared to give it a try. But I feel that it's time to challenge this fear, so we will try an avocado dessert soon. /David
  • Desserts can be so tricky to make healthier. Looks like you have conquered the lemon tart though; it looks amazingly delicious! Thanks for the recipe, I can see the crust being used for all kinds of fillings. I like the idea of using coconut oil instead of butter too.
  • Love it! You could try organic coconut oil instead of butter in the crust... ps those vintage spoons are beautiful!
  • sigrid
    Hey! Try avocados as a replacement of the butter in the filling. It makes a wonderful and healthy (and cream-like) texture! You will find a lot of great ideas if you browse for ideas for "raw" fillings within the raw food blog sphere :) also, have you seen the "gluten free girl" blog. Her pies are amazing! 9and glutenfree!, but she uses butter too) Love your blog, Sigrid
  • Hey Kate! Thanks, it really taste wonderful too! I wouldn't use rice milk, it's to thin, but almond or oat milk would probably work I guess, let me know! The raw honey would work just fine! Happy baking ;) /Luise!
  • Kate
    That looks wonderful. Do you think it would work to make this with Almond milk or rice milk instead of the soy? I'm allergic to soy. I also would want to try raw honey instead of agave. Would these substitutions ruin the flavor?
  • Jennifer L.
    Almond butter (or other nut butter) and oats might be ingredients to play with to make it without butter. It looks like a delightful tart though! One of my favorite whole foods cookbooks (whole Life Nutrition) has two recipes for dairy/gluten free tart crusts that are pretty tasty. I will definitely try out your version since we're having a special brunch this weekend with a few friends. We also have a lemon tree that will start throwing lemons at us if we don't harvest a lot of them soon. Lovely pictures, as always!
    • Hey Jennifer! Good idea. Lucky lucky you, while eating this lemon tart I was dreaming about a lemon tree in the backyard ;) /Luise
  • mm i have been all about lemon desserts lately..that looks delicious!
  • Looks tasty and beautiful. Dates are really great natural sweeteners, I use them all the time in crusts and other desserts. So glad I found your page, it's lovely :)

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