Lemon Butter Tart

A perennial China Moon favorite, this tart has a smooth texture, a lustrous look, and a zingy taste. It is also exceedingly easy to make. For do-ahead occasions, the lemon butter may be made a week in advance and refrigerated. Simply reheat it in a double boiler, stirring until the mixture falls in ribbons from a spoon, before pouring it into the shell.


Lemon Butter

  • Finely grated zest of 7 scrubbed lemons
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 ounces (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 pieces
  • Prebaked Tart Shell, fully baked
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the lemon zest with ¼ cup of the sugar and process until fine and moist, several minutes.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the eggs, the remaining ¾ cup sugar, and the zest mixture. Whisk briskly until well blended. Stir in the lemon juice. Place the bowl over a saucepan half-filled with slowly simmering water and stir until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the butter, a piece at a time, mixing until melted and smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Immediately pour the lemon butter into the tart shell and set aside. The filling will set as it cools. Let cool completely before serving.
  4. Just before serving, lightly dust the edges of the tart with confectioners’ sugar.