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Lemon Brûlée Pie

Colin Clark

Servings: 8

Inspired by Thomas Keller’s lemon sabayon tart, this pie gets finished with a sprinkling of sugar and a flame for a sweet, toasty, crackly top.


For the crust

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup ice water

For the filling

  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 2 large egg yolks, cold
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup strained lemon juice
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into a few pieces

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 460
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 250
  • Fat (g): 29
  • Saturated Fat (g): 17
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 160
  • Sodium (mg): 240
  • Carbohydrates (g): 47
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 6


Make the crust

  • In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Add the butter cubes and pulse until the texture is pebbly, about seven 1-second pulses. With the motor running, add the ice water through the feed tube and process just until the dough begins to form a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling.
  • Roll the dough into a 12- to 13-inch round about 3/8 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 inch from the edge of the plate. Crimp the edge, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Prick the entire surface of the dough, including the sides, with a fork. Crumple a large piece of parchment, then flatten it out. Line the crust with it, and then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and the parchment and bake until the dough looks golden brown all over, about 20 minutes more. Cool on a rack.

Make the filling

  • In a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and 3/4 cup of the sugar until smooth. Put the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (do not let the water touch the bowl) and whisk constantly until foamy and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add about 1/3 of the lemon juice and whisk until the mixture thickens again. Continue adding and whisking the lemon juice in thirds. Turn off the heat but leave the bowl over the hot water. Whisk the butter in one piece at a time until completely incorporated. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Let cool at room temperature until the filling has set, about 3 hours. Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours to chill the filling. (For best flavor, warm the pie at room temperature for up to an hour before serving.)
  • Just before serving, sprinkle all but the half-inch nearest the crust with the remaining 1 Tbs. sugar. Pass a torch over the surface until the sugar melts and turns a deep golden brown, being careful not to let the flame get too close to the crust, which will burn. Let cool until the sugar hardens, about 5 minutes, and then serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The filled pie can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 24 hours. Top it with the sugar and caramelize the topping just before serving.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • soundoff | 03/08/2015

    This recipe says it was inspired by Thomas Keller's Lemon Sabayon tart. I have made that tart many times and and it was always delicious and a show stopper dessert. This Lemon Brle Pie doesn't come close. The crust was just ok and the filling had a little too much lemon and overall pretty tasteless. Strange since the ingredients are so similar but I recommend the French Laundry tart.

  • User avater
    Pielove | 02/21/2015

    Outstanding! As I was making this, I thought the recipe was a bit "chefy"-- lots of whisking, missing a few specifics (is the butter in the filling cold? how thick is "slightly thickened"?). But it turns out that if you just keep whisking, it will be okay-- actually, it will be better than okay, because this is a great pie. The filling is creamy, rich, and a bit fluffy, with a sharp bite of lemon-- this contrasts nicely with the almost-burnt, crisp layer of sugar and the crisp, buttery crust. I used cold butter in the filling.

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