This ginger lemon pie with a streusel topping is a delicious tart filled with lemon curd with a hint of ginger. The combination of ginger and lemon gives this shortcrust tart a zing, beautifully contrasting with the buttery flavour of the pastry.
Lemon pie is a delightful dessert. What I love the most about it is that to me it falls between a fruit tart and a cream pie. I mean, lemon is obviously a fruit, but lemon curd is made with butter and eggs and has the texture of a custard. So lemon pie is the perfect compromise when you fancy the juicy and tangy notes of a fruit without the texture of chopped fruits or berries – instead, the filling is a luscious custardy lemon curd.
What makes this lemon tart stand out is the addition of fresh ginger to the lemon curd filling. It’s just a hint, but it works wonders. Ginger provides that spicy note that comes as an aftertaste and marries so well with the sweet tangy cream and the delectable buttery pastry.
Ginger lemon pie ingredients
This delicious lemon pie does not require a lot of ingredients, and some of them feature both in the shortcrust pastry and in the lemon curd filling. So the shopping list for this ginger lemon pie is indeed pretty short.
- Flour is the key element in the shortcrust pastry base and crumbly top.
- Butter is the fat used in the shortcrust, and it’s also featured in the lemon curd.
- Sugar goes obviously in the lemon filling, and a little bit in the pastry as well.
- Water in a small amount is added when making the pastry.
- Lemons are the main element in the filling – we need the zest and 100 ml of juice. I used 2 medium lemons, but if yours are small budget using 3. Alternatively you can do 2 lemons and 1 lime if you only miss a small quantity of juice to get to 100 ml.
- Fresh ginger is the other flavour, and I recommend it freshly grated. 10 g of peeled and grated ginger (the quantity needed in this recipe) equals about 4-5 cm of a medium-thick root.
- Eggs are the thickening agent in the lemon curd. Choose free-range and organic.
A detailed list of ingredients with quantities is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Step-by-step instructions with process images follow, as well as useful recipe tips.
How to make ginger lemon pie step by step
1. Make the shortcrust pastry
- Add flour, cubed butter and sugar in a food processor and blitz for about a minute. Slowly pour in the water as the blades are rotating, and stop the processor as soon as the mixture reaches a crumbly texture (see picture below). Set aside 200 g of crumbles, then start the processor again and let it work until the dough gathers into a ball, about 1 more minute.
- Press the dough into a tart pan, prick bottom and sides with a fork and pre-bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 15 minutes. In the meantime, you can prepare the ginger lemon curd.
2. Make the ginger lemon curd
- Combine the sugar, lemon juice and zest, butter and grated ginger and set on a double boiler. Make sure the bottom of the top pan is not touching the boiling water in the bottom pan but just getting the hot steam from it. Stir from time to time until both the butter and sugar dissolve (picture below, left).
- Aside crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk by hand. Before we add them to the hot mixture, we need to temper the eggs. When the butter and sugar have dissolved and the lemon mixture looks homogeneous (middle picture), pour a couple of tablespoons of the hot mixture into the eggs, whisking the eggs as you do so to prevent them from scrambling. Tempering the eggs raises their temperature , which is very important to do before adding the eggs to a hot mixture. (If you wanna learn more I recommend this article from Bon Appetit). Now we’re ready to add the eggs to the lemon curd.
- Always keeping the lemon curd on the double boiler, start whisking the lemon mixture and slowly pour the tempered eggs into it as you whisk. Make sure you add them in a slow continuous stream. Keep cooking on the double boiler continuously whisking for 5 minutes after you have added all the eggs. The mixture is ready when it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the double boiler (picture below, right). The curd will thicken some more as it cools.
3. Fill and bake the cake
- After the shortcrust shell has pre-baked, take it out of the oven and pour the lemon curd into it spreading it all over. Top with the crumbles you had set aside making sure to cover all the surface. Gently press each handful of crumbles before you sprinkle them all over, this will create coarser crumbs of various sizes. Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 25 min.
Streusel lemon pie tips
- Using a regular tart tin (22 or 24 cm in diameter) the lemon curd filling will be about 1 cm thick. It is important to think about that when pressing the shortcrust pastry into the tin to make the shortcrust shell. Make sure to make sides that are at least 1 cm tall so that the filling will not spill over.
- If your lemon curd has not thickened much, it will still be usable since it will keep thickening as it bakes. Just keep in mind that the crumbles may sink when you add them over the curd, so be extra gentle when sprinkling them on top. A curd that is not well set may also puff up as it bakes, and deliver a crack or two on the top of the cake. This will not affect the flavour in any way.
- I recommend to have all the ingredients needed in the lemon curd ready before you start making the shortcrust. Zest and juice the lemons, grate the ginger (I used the microplane zester I have used for the lemons), measure out the sugar and cube the butter. This way, you will manage to make the lemon curd within the time the pastry shell is pre-baking.
Let the ginger lemon pie cool in the pan – it will set as it comes to room temperature. This will make it easier to remove from the tart pan. You can serve this pie both at room temperature or completely chilled. From the fridge you may pick up a more intense ginger flavour, while at room temperature you can appreciate the butter more.
This ginger lemon pie has a bright and forward flavour. A great accompaniment that helps tone down both the sweetness and the tang is a portion of unsweetened whipped cream. This lemon pie recipe is inspired by a pie we serve at the winter café where I work and this is exactly how we serve it there, with whipped cream.
As for a drink to go with it, the citrusy notes of this lemon pie go really well with the acidic nuances of a light roast coffee. For a boozy option I recommend a glass of Prosecco or if you prefer a cocktail I’d suggest mango cider Bellini.
How to store
Store this cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days. Stored correctly, it will maintain its texture. This cake freezes really well. Before freezing, chill it completely and wrap it in cling film. You can keep it in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature – microwaving is not recommended.
If you’ve liked this ginger lemon pie you may check these other desserts out:
- Blueberry pie with a crumbly top
- Strawberry limoncello tiramisu
- Gluten-free almond chocolate tart
- Pavlova with mango cream and blueberries
- Crustless ricotta cheesecake with peaches
If you make this ginger lemon pie recipe I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments if you liked it and what you have served it with.
As always, if you’d rather wait for a special occasion than start baking right away, you can save a pin to your favourite dessert board!
Ginger lemon pie with streusel topping
For the pastry
- 350 g flour
- 220 g butter chilled
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 20 ml water ice-cold
For the filling
- 2 lemons zested and juiced, about 100 ml juice
- 200 g sugar
- 100 g butter
- 10 g ginger peeled and grated
- 3 eggs
- To make the shortcrust pastry combine the flour, cubed butter and sugar in a food processor and blitz for about a minute. Slowly pour in the water as the blades are rotating, and stop the processor as soon as the mixture reaches a crumbly texture.
- Set aside 200 g of crumbles, then start the processor again and let it work until the dough gathers into a ball.
- Press the dough all over the bottom of a tart pan, prick bottom and sides with a fork and bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the curd. Combine the sugar, lemon juice and zest, butter and grated ginger and set on a double boiler. Stir from time to time until both the butter and sugar dissolve.
- Crack the eggs in a bowl and give a whisk by hand. When the lemon mixture looks homogeneous, pour in a couple of tablespoons of the hot mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly with the other hand to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
- Start whisking the lemon mixture, which should be still cooking on the double boiler, and slowly pour the egg mixture into it as you whisk. Keep whisking for a couple of minutes after you have added all the eggs. Keep cooking until the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon, 5 minutes. Remove from the double boiler.
- After the shortcrust shell has pre-baked, take it out of the oven and pour the lemon curd all over. Top with the crumbles you had set aside making sure to cover all the surface. Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 25 min.
- When pressing the shortcrust pastry into the tin make sure to make sides that are at least 1 cm tall so that the filling will not spill over.
- A lemon curd that has not thickened a lot on the double boiler will work fine in this recipe as it will set as it bakes.
- I recommend to have all the ingredients needed in the lemon curd ready before you start making the shortcrust. Zest and juice the lemons, grate the ginger, measure out the sugar and cube the butter. This way you will manage to make the lemon curd within the time the pastry shell is pre-baking.
- Fresh ginger is recommended. 10 g of peeled and grated ginger equal about 4-5 cm of a medium-thick root.
- I used 2 medium lemons, but if yours are small budget using 3. Alternatively you can do 2 lemons and 1 lime if you only miss a small quantity of juice to get to 100 ml.
- The nutritional information provided in this recipe card is made by an online calculator and is only meant as a guideline.