Sabayon Lemon Tart

Light and fluffy, creamy & dreamy this tart takes a LOT of whisking - but it is soooo worth the work. Adapted from Chef Thomas Keller

I’ve got a treat for everyone, today! A lovely lemon tart that I’m calling a Sabayon Lemon Tart. It’s beautiful, bright, and creamy & dreamy.

Sabayon Lemon Tart adapted from Thomas Keller

The filling in this tart is almost a little fluffy and light; it’s like a lemon curd, but much less “pudding like” because as it cooks on the stove, it’s sharply whisked. That adds a lot of air to the filling and is the same way the famous Italian dessert, Sabayon, is made. Hence the name and hence the creaminess.

This recipe is adapted from Thomas Keller, chef & restaurateur who runs The French Laundry, Bouchon and Per Se. I’m sure you’ll wish to have one of his pastry chefs on hand (I know I did, and had some help – thanks Pam) to do all the whisking, but that’s the only hard part about this tart. I kept this simple and used a basic and easy tart shell instead of the one in his original recipe.

Sabayon Lemon Tart adapted from Thomas Keller

With so many Holidays rolling in this month, including Easter, I thought this Sabayon Lemon Tart would be a beautiful little fun something to serve for dessert or to put on a brunch table or just to celebrate a beautiful afternoon with friends.

Doesn’t lemon just scream spring to you? Even if the day is dark, damp and dreary, a little lemon something can just perk you up! Best of all, lemons are gorgeous and reasonable right now, something that can’t always be said of the other fruit offerings this time of year.

Sabayon Lemon Tart – this has my easy pat in the pan tart crust.

Sabayon Lemon Tart

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 1 prebaked and cooled 9″ tart shell, like Easy Pat in Pan Sugar Cookie Tart Shell, or other tart shell of your choice
  • 3 large eggs, cold
  • 3 large egg yolks, cold
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice from 2 to 4 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces (see note)
  • garnish of choice; a lemon slice and blueberries are nice

Use  large metal bowl over a pot that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl. A tall stockpot works well. Put enough water in the pot to come to about an inch below the bowl when the bowl is placed on the pot and bring the water to a good boil.

Finely grate 1 teaspoon zest from one lemon and set aside. Juice the lemons to get the 3/4 cup (I used two very large and juicy lemons but this may vary) and set aside. Cut butter into chunks and set aside.

Working over the metal bowl and using a metal strainer, add your eggs & yolks to the strainer. Using a rubber spatula, work them through the strainer into the bowl, below. Add sugar & whisk for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth.

Set the bowl over the pot and, using a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl (for even heating). After about 2 minutes, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened, add one-third of the lemon juice.

Continue to whisk vigorously and, when the mixture thickens again, add another one-third of the lemon juice.

Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Continue whisking vigorously, still turning the bowl, until the mixture is thickened and light in color and the whisk leaves a good trail as it is run through the mixture.

The total cooking time will vary, but took me about 20 minutes. Don’t be afraid to turn up the heat should it seem as if the mixture isn’t thickening in a timely manner.

Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the water as you whisk in the butter a piece at a time. The sabayon may loosen slightly, but it will thicken and set as it cools.

Immediately pour the warm sabayon into the tart crust. Leave at room temperature for one hour and then chill for one hour, or longer. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Garnish, if desired with a lemon slice and blueberries or other garnish of your choice.


  • I have adapted Thomas Keller’s original recipe and I make 1 1/2 x the amount of the filling in my recipe. The larger amount took a longer time whisking than his original 10 minutes. It took nearly 20 minutes.
  • In my photos, I used a 10″ tart pan, but in the future, I will use this amount in a 9″ tart pan so the filling will be more substantial.
  • Do not stop whisking for more than a second while cooking this custard.
  •  I also did not broil the tart.
  • Butter may be drastically reduced in the recipe.

Recipe adapted from Thomas Keller


I will be bringing this recipe to Fiesta Friday. This week I’m co-hosting with Steffi from Ginger & Bread! We’d love to have you stop by and see us!

39 thoughts on “Sabayon Lemon Tart

  1. This is beautiful on the plate Mollie– and SO fancy!! (Thomas Keller!!). A pretty special occasion dessert! You really do come up with amazing recipes at such a pace! You’re family are the lucky ones!! Happy Easter ahead!! xo

    • Until I made this, I didn’t realize how many people don’t seem to enjoy a really intense lemon flavor (which I do) but like it a bit creamier like this one – which has a LOT of lemon in it, but seems mellower because of the cooking method! Now I love both. 🙂

  2. Oh wow, at last! You had me hooked with your first post, but this is even better than anything I had imagined!
    Thank you for co-hosting Fiesta Friday with me, it’s been a real Easter-themed roller coaster so far and this cake is just the icing on the, well, other cakes?
    Happy Fiesta Friday!

    • Thanks Ginger! I am having so much fun visiting all the special offerings this week at FF! There are always amazing posts, but before a holiday, it seems like everyone ups their game!

    • Thanks, Chef! When I first served it, I hadn’t garnished it and somehow it didn’t seem quite as special, lol!! I’ll never underestimate the power of a bit of garnish, again!

  3. petra08

    I love the sound of this tart! Lemon is a wondeful flavor and like you I associate it with longer days and warmer weather.
    I wouldn’t reduce the amount of butter at all, I bet it makes it extra smooth and delicious! 🙂

  4. Excellent recipe. Looks delish! I’ve followed you as your page is very inspiring. I hope you do the same, as you may find mine the same, I practice naked cooking like jamie oliver, I’m conducting the half-blood princess project.

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