lemon tart and instant sunshine

by Sharon Santoni

lemon tart and mimosa to brighten up the winter

As I write this post there is snow swirling around my window, a fire burning beside me and the most delicious perfume of lemon tart in the house.   I also have a huge vase of mimosa flowers sitting on a table because it is that time of year.

lemon tart and mimosa to brighten up the winter

Mimosa is a wonderful flowering tree that grows in the South of France, and from late January through to March the markets are full of fragrant deep yellow branches, freshly picked from the hills above the coast, and vendors stands piled high with fresh lemons and oranges that ripen at the same time.  I am in Normandy, where no mimosa grows, but I have a nearby florist who loves this yellow bloom as much as I do.

These pictures are taken from my Entertaining book, when we shot  a tea table with lemon tarts, paired with vases full of mimosa, and I thought you may enjoy my favourite lemon tart recipe.

lemon tart and mimosa to brighten up the winter

To make one large 23cm tart of 6 individual tarts you will need:

I portion of your favourite sweet pastry

3 large  eggs

3 egg yolks

¾ cup, 170g or 6oz butter

¾ cup , 150 g or 5.5oz sugar

Juice of four lemons

Zest of one lemon

This is surprisingly simple to make, and I prefer to keep the flavour as pure as possible avoiding cream or flour in the lemon and egg mix.

Heat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and blind bake  the pastry case or cases until golden brown.

In a saucepan, heat the butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest, along with the eggs and egg yolks that you have beaten in a bowl beforehand.

Heat gently until the butter is melted,  stirring and  whisking all the time.  You don’t want the mix to overheat because there are a lot of eggs here and they could scramble.  Once the mix has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon remove from the heat.

Using a fine strainer, pour the lemon mix while it is still hot, through the strainer and into a bowl.  You can use a spoon or a spatula to push it all through.   Pour your lemon curd into the pastry base and pop back into the oven for about six minutes.   You want the curd to be just set but still quite soft.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  This tart can be eaten warm or cold.  Rather than making a meringue layer for the whole tart, serve each slice or each individual tart with a tiny meringue.

lemon tart and mimosa to brighten up the winter


All photos by Franck Schmitt for

My French Country Home Entertaining Through the Seasons


Roxane Lacroix February 8, 2018 - 2:59 pm

What a beautiful burst of spring color for me this morning as I look out over a landscape of freshly fallen snow! Our latest snowstorm started yesterday mid-morning and continued on into the evening. Just to make things more treacherous, Mother Nature threw in a frozen mix between the layers of snow. All in all, it wasn’t a blockbuster of a storm, only a bit over 5″ of snow. I was quite astounded to see your garden coming into bloom and green grass in your photos on Instagram, albeit with a dusting of snow. Here in New England, when we get a Spring snowfall it’s called “poor man’s fertilizer” because the ground is no longer frozen and is able to absorb the nitrates from the snow easier, so your snow is helping your garden grow! Everything looks divine and delicious in your photos!

Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things February 8, 2018 - 3:08 pm

Your tart sounds wonderful! Gorgeous photos.

Carolyn, from Vancouver February 8, 2018 - 3:23 pm

Lovely photo and blog today. I can almost smell the lemony fragrance.! Beautiful flowers too.

Diana February 8, 2018 - 3:38 pm

What a beautiful start to my day in Oregon, USA.

Carol February 8, 2018 - 3:39 pm

Love lemons and the beautiful coordinating photos in lemon yellow. I will look for photos in my copy of your book.

Ellen February 8, 2018 - 3:43 pm

What a sunny way to greet the morning!

Fan February 8, 2018 - 3:46 pm

Love lemon, so refreshing and delicious. It’s lemon time in az
too. Lovely way to start the day with your blog, Sharon. Thank you.

Nicole February 8, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Beautiful photos and yummy looking tart, I can’t wait to make one. How do you whisk in the eggs without them scrambling them?

Victoria Savu February 8, 2018 - 4:02 pm

Beautiful blog this morning. Makes the snow outide my window not so dreary. I make lemon tarts and love anything lemon. Going to try your receipe. Enjoy your day. Victoria

Therese February 8, 2018 - 4:08 pm

We are getting a hint of spring here in the NW…warm and the sun shinning. Daffodils getting ready to bloom… Love the color & cheer lemon brings so excited for spring!

Karen February 8, 2018 - 4:16 pm

e have sunshine here and I have a Mimosa tree. Our area of the canyon has the trees. Beautiful in bloom and a pretty tree with gray-green foliage all year.
I don’t often cut the branches except when pruning the tree, but it’s a treat when blooming sharing its beauty for all driving by.

Mary February 8, 2018 - 4:20 pm

I love lemon, the taste and the color yellow. Your tarte looks wonderful. It’s always a nice surprise to get your updates in my mailbox. My dream is to visit France one day.

Colleen Taylor February 8, 2018 - 4:26 pm

What bright & beautiful photos to see this morning Sharon. I have several lemon trees,lime,Valencia orange,sweet Tangelos & I can’t remember what else. I love them all! With the abundance crop of lemons, I could open a lemon tart shop. That’s not going to happen but it’s a pleasant thought after seeing my inspiration here.

But for today I’m baking Valentine cookies of various sorts & sending them to my granddaughters. Thank you for this fresh recipe.X

Dottie Monta February 8, 2018 - 4:31 pm

Perfection, to your ice- and snow-bound Pennsylvania friends here in the States! Love the little meringues idea. This post is one of the best!!

Taste of France February 8, 2018 - 4:35 pm

All that yellow is just what we need in February. Not only are the mimosas blooming but also the almond trees.
Sometimes a premade crust is just the thing when the filling is so simple. For lemon pie I like pâte brisée rather than pâte feuilleté.
At the end of summer, I press foraged wild blackberries into the top of the lemon tart. The colors are beautiful, and the sour lemon marries well with the super-sweet berries.

Babs Stilley February 8, 2018 - 4:55 pm

Snow on the ground in Kansas, USA and still very cold. We are 30 days or a bit more from daffadil blooms. I plan to jump start the Spring season with your delicious tart! Thank you for sharing your recipe and beautiful pictures!

Madonna February 8, 2018 - 5:00 pm

Well you have my attention. I thought mimosas were pink, so I learned something new today. I will be making your tart.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin February 8, 2018 - 5:07 pm

Your tart sounds wonderful and thanks so much for the recipe. It is quite cold where I am this morning and this lovely post truly was a burst of sunshine. Thank you, Sharon and have a most beautiful day!

Susan February 8, 2018 - 5:07 pm

Anything with citrus works for me, especially lemon. The mimosas are the extra touch. Beautiful inspiration.

Kathy February 8, 2018 - 5:44 pm

A beautiful yellow post of flowers and lemon tart!

Stacy February 8, 2018 - 6:16 pm

Lovely post! A snowstorm overnight followed by a sunny day that glows like a bright beacon of light is the atmosphere in New England today! With our days getting longer and Easter on the horizon, The promise of spring is a welcome thought in the last vestiges of winter. The tart sounds easy and delicious. I would like to add that the crust should be pricked liberally with a fork on the bottom before it is blind baked or it could bubble up on the bottom. I would also add a fresh strawberry on top upon completion for a delightful contrast in color as we eat with our eyes as much as we do with our tastebuds! Will be a lovely way to cap off that Sunday dinner! All the best to you Sharon, and thanks for another lovely post!

Our French Oasis February 8, 2018 - 6:50 pm

I just love the mimosas in flower, they are literally everywhere here in the Charente Maritime, I didn’t realise they were normally only much further south, perhaps it is just here on the coast where they thrive so well, but I am certainly not complaining. Yellow is definitely the colour that cheers up February no end.

Mary Stawarz February 8, 2018 - 6:51 pm

What a lovely lemon tart, mimosa and daffodils. Yellow is a beautiful color for coming spring. I had never seen fresh mimosa. Thank you for sharing things that are different, beautiful and tasty.

Laurie February 8, 2018 - 7:35 pm

Your blogs are always so beautiful. It is such a treat too see a new arrive in my email. And a lovely way to start my day. Now I’m off to bake a lemon tart and have some tea. Thank you so much for all the beauty you share.

Jeanie February 8, 2018 - 7:44 pm

Such a lovely presentation, Sharon! Thank you so much for sharing with us. I wonder if it would work to substitute honey for the sugar. Have you ever tried it?

Alison February 8, 2018 - 8:07 pm

Isn’t the world an amazing place – here I am in Australia sweating in 40 C heat, garden absolutely dry & frizzled and the northern hemisphere is all about snow storms!
Just hope my lemon tree survives this summer !

Bronwyn Lee-Coward February 8, 2018 - 9:06 pm

Absolutely stunning photos and when I first saw them and read your blog, I thought that your Mimosa looks like Wattle/Acacia the National Emblem of Australia. Acacia is from the Mimosaceae family and when I was a child we celebrated Wattle Day on September 1 every year until 1992. The origins of our interest with Wattle/Mimosa go back as far as1838. Your beautiful inspirational photos and recipe have truly inspired me to bake a lemon tart in September (or well before that date) and to head down to my local native plant nursery and buy a Wattle Tree. Thank you Sharon for stirring up some national pride in someone on the other side of the world.

Vicky from Athens February 8, 2018 - 9:20 pm

Yummy. Now I know what I’m going to do with some of that Meyer lemon juice I have in the freezer!
The beautiful photos make the tart all the more enticing!

Nancy Moylan February 8, 2018 - 10:06 pm

A table full of happiness,

sandi February 8, 2018 - 10:47 pm

Oh Yum! Both the recipe & your wonderful blog which I always read. I am in love w/Provence (have only been there twice but hope to go back this summer)—your blog is the next best thing to a personal visit. I shall try this recipe tomorrow! Thank you kindly.

Jan February 8, 2018 - 11:19 pm

Mimosas! I used to see them in late January in the San Francisco area – when I lived there. They don’t grow around Seattle and I miss them. You have made a lovely pairing with the lemon tarts!

Lynne February 8, 2018 - 11:52 pm

I looked at your lemon tart then the flowers and thought “that is Silver Wattle – Acacia Delbata – native to Australia, we have hundreds growing here on our 54 acres. Often confused with Mimosa – Albizia Julibrissin, which is usually pink. I googled!!
In spring the scent of all our Silver Wattles is amazing and our horses are usually covered in pollen. Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos feed on the grubs that live inside the trees and can be heard very loudly calling and tearing at the bark to get to them.
I am going to make your lemon tart tonight. More lemons in our trees than we can eat at the moment. We have been giving them to anyone who’ll take them.

Trish February 9, 2018 - 1:17 am

Beautiful post Sharon! In Australia our Wattle is very similar to Mimosa and blooms in Spring here. We have lots of lovely lemons growing and I can’t wait to make your lemon tart when they ripen.

Janet Schanzenbach February 9, 2018 - 3:03 am

I can almost see the fire burning as you cook on that wonderful stove of yours. You’ve enspired me, maybe I’ll make lemon bars on Sunday- if I survive my sons robotics competition on Saturday. Imagine hundreds of teenagers and lots of robots.

Jan Drury February 9, 2018 - 3:18 am

Wattles here in Australia are the first sign of coming spring, what a wonderful sight full of cheer after winter. Lemon tarts are beautiful, that glorious slightly tart taste awakens your taste buds, I can taste it now!

Jennifer February 9, 2018 - 3:14 pm

I am turning 45 at the end of the month and have been thinking thAt I wanted to make myself a lovely dinner with family to celebrate. I think I just found dessert!

Steven February 9, 2018 - 3:16 pm

It is just hard to beat the freshness of a bright, tart yellow! Or a fresh lemon tart!!

Susan also posted photos of French mimosa :-). Ours in the southern US produce a bigger feathery pink bloom in summer that smells like the dusting powder ladies of a certain age seem to favor. Every time I smell them I am reminded of my sweet grandmother. She had a large mimosa tree in the corner of her yard and the woods behind the house were full of them. On still, humid evenings the air would be thick with the scent.

The mimosa we know was introduced as an ornamental in the late 18th century and was imported from China. They apparently were so happy in their new home that they are now considered invasive pests in some states. But, one might say the same for us! 🙂

Janice Rivenburg February 10, 2018 - 12:55 am

Oh, Sharon, you made my day with this lovely blog. I love yellow, lemons and mimosa. This brought so very much sunshine to my snowy, wintery day in Western New York. The first time I visited the South of France many years ago was in February, and your blog brought back the beautiful memories I have of experiencing mimosa for the very first time. Thank you!!!

Nancy Moylan February 10, 2018 - 1:10 am

This is a room full of happiness.

Dorka February 10, 2018 - 5:34 pm

You say you are far away from the region of mimosa trees. What should I say thousands of km-s away in the Great Plain of Hungary. We have stormy snow one day bright sunshine the other, though according to the newest records our storks are on way back home.Spring is not so far away. With love from our house http://www.dorottyaudvar.co.hu Dorka

Kathryn Weir February 11, 2018 - 3:12 am

When the wattle blooms in NZ we know that spring has arrived. The emerging bees from their winter slumber love it.

D. A. Wolf February 11, 2018 - 1:38 pm

You’ve made me terribly hungry — and not just for your gorgeous lemon tart — but for Spring!


Marianne C Whitman February 11, 2018 - 5:01 pm

How lovely to see the beautiful yellow flowers and the lemon tart. Thank you for the pleasure your pictures brought me today. We have rain and heavy fog here in Staten Island, N.Y. Making your pictures doubly welcome. I had not received your post after several years of getting it, so am so happy to have found you again. I so missed getting your blogs but didn’t know why they stopped. I am definitely purchasing your latest book which am sure will be beautiful. Marianne

Gitte Shoemaker February 11, 2018 - 5:51 pm

I made your lemon tart for a dinner party last night. It was delicious!!

Jane Casnellie February 13, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Sharon, some time ago you mentioned a good driver for those of us visiting France. I have English friends living in America who will be visiting Paris in April and they wish to hire a driver to take them to Normandy. Could you please send me his contact info. Many thanks for your wonderful blog, it is an inspiration!

Maria E. February 13, 2018 - 7:19 pm

The flowers, everything looks just gorgeous Sharon. I love to look at the pictures of your home! I live in Ontario Canada, born in Rio Brazil to Portuguese parents where I lived a number of years(Portugal) as a child in a home very similar to yours. When I look at your pictures it brings back good memories and happy tears.Thank you for making everything look carefree and so specially beautiful.

Danna Darty March 5, 2018 - 3:54 pm

I found your blog last week and immediately bought your book “My French Country Home; Entertaining Through the Seasons”. I engulfed myself in each page and immediately baked your delectable lemon tart! I am now making plans to turn my rural Texas yard into a French oasis where I can entertain and enjoy friends and family! Your blog, photos, and book are such an inspiration.


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