Introduction: Giant Lemon Slice? It's a Limoncello Tart!

I was inspired to make realistic lemon tarts when a friend gifted me a bottle of her homebrewed limoncello liqueur. My first limoncello tarts were actually cute tartlets made to look just like realistic lemons, baked to scale in muffin pans. From there, I just had to create a full size tart.

This giant realistic lemon slice is a 9" limoncello tart with a decadent lemon shortbread crust, zesty limoncello filling, and glazed with limoncello jelly for an extra boozy kick!

The shortbread and filling are quick to bake and it doesn't take too much finesse to decorate the tart with beautifully realistic details. The key to decorating dessert for realism? The less perfect, the more realistic!



2 c all purpose flour

1 c salted butter, softened, chopped

1/3 c sugar

2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed

Zest of 1 lemon


1 c sugar

1/3 c all purpose flour

1/4 c limoncello

4 large eggs

Juice of 2 lemons

Zest of 1 lemon

ROYAL ICING Ingredients

1 c icing sugar

1 tbsp meringue powder

3 tbsp water


3 tbsp limoncello

1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin


9" springform pan lined with parchment paper

Piping bags

Piping tip (I used #104)

Gel food color -- yellow and white

Brushes for gel food color

Step 1: Lemon Shortbread Crust

1. Place all lemon shortbread crust ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Using a pastry blender or fork, combine ingredients.

3. When the dough is combined and can be clumped, it is ready to be pressed onto the springform pan.

4. Place about 3/4 c of the dough on the parchment circle.

5. Roll the dough to equal thickness until it covers the parchment circle.

6. Slide the parchment circle onto the bottom of the springform pan.

7. Roll the remaining dough into 1" diameter logs. Place the logs around the side of the pan.

8. Press the dough logs against the bottom and side of the pan. The dough should be about 1-1/4" high up the side and about 1/2" thick. Make sure the bottom and side connect. Finish off the top of the side by flattening and straightening the dough.

9 Bake the crust in 350F preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Limoncello Filling

While the crust is baking for 20 minutes, you can prepare the filling.

1 Combine all limoncello filling ingredients in a large bowl.

2 Whisk until fully combined. Try to make sure to whisk all the clumps.

3 Once you've removed the crust from the oven, it will have risen and expanded. Use a metal flat-bottomed cup to flatten the crust down, as well as to evenly press the crust onto the side.

4 Very gently flatten the side of the crust with a spatula to create a straight edge and clean finish.

5 Fill the crust with limoncello filling just under the crust line.

6 Place the tart back in the oven to bake for another 30 minutes.

Reserve remaining filling for next step.

Step 3: Limoncello Filling for Piping

1. Place the remaining limoncello filling in a sauce pan.

2. Over low-medium heat, cook the filling while continuously mixing.

3. When the filling has thickened and slightly cooled, place in a piping bag fixed with a #104 piping tip. If you don't have this tip, a 1/8" cut hole on the tip of the piping bag will suffice.

Step 4: Pipe Pulp

After the tart has baked, you can let it cool on a baking rack for about 5 minutes until the filling settles.

1. Begin piping the limoncello filling by dividing the tart into 4 segments.

2. Divide the tart further to 8 segments.

3. Pipe lines of random lengths starting from the outer edge of the tart towards the center.

4. Continue piping lines for all segments.

5. Using a teaspoon, carve out a small hole on the center surface of the tart.

Step 5: Royal Icing

1. Place all royal icing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until combined.

2. Place royal icing in a piping bag.

Step 6: Pipe Icing

Cut the tip of the piping bag to about 1/16" size. It's time to create some details! Remember the key -- the less perfect, the more realistic!

1. Pipe lines from edge to center to create 8 segments.

2. Use a knife to press down on the piped lines so they look more organic and aren't perfect.

3. Pipe around the center hole, making sure nothing is even to ensure more realism.

4. Pipe curves around the segments along the inner edge of the crust.

5. Cut the piping bag tip to a larger 1/8" hole and fill the edge of the crust outward from the segments.

6. Some of the icing will pool onto the filling and will look jagged.

7. Using the back of a spoon, gently push the icing back to sharpen the curves of the segments.

Step 7: Ice Side

1. There should be a little bit of royal icing remaining which you can pour into a small bowl and lightly tint with yellow gel food color.

2. Remove the tart from the springform pan and place on a baking rack that is over a baking sheet (to catch icing drips).

3. Using a small spatula, cover the side with a thin coating of yellow royal icing.

Step 8: Paint & Dab

You can adjust the intensity of gel food color by diluting it with a few drops of limoncello.

1. Using fairly diluted yellow food color and a flat brush, brush a yellow ring on the outer edge of crust (about 3/8" thick ring) and on the side of the tart.

2. Using a less diluted (slightly darker) yellow and a small round brush, dab dots all around the yellow ring on the crust and on the side of the tart.

3. Using an even less diluted (darker) yellow, brush the very edge of the crust to give a little more definition.

4. Press a small piece of paper towel all around the icing to create a softly pitted texture as well as evenly flatten the crust.

5. You can use white food color to give the segment lines a little more definition if needed.

Step 9: Limoncello Jelly

1. At this point, we have a fairly realistic lemon slice with pulp that may look a bit dried out. To give it a juicier appearance as well as a punch of flavor, we can glaze the pulp with limoncello jelly!

2. Sprinkle gelatin over limoncello in a small bowl and let sit for about 5 minutes to bloom.

3. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds just enough for the gelatin to completely dissolve. Stir thoroughly.

4. Spoon the gelatin over the pulp, just enough until it reaches the crust line.

Now we've got a realistic juicy giant lemon slice limoncello tart!

Step 10: Set & Slice

Chill the tart in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set.

Now slice that slice and serve!

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