Gluten-free Lemon Hazelnut Tart: a memorable Valentine dessert

I know I just posted a chocolate raspberry tart recipe for Valentine’s Day, but I am aware that not everyone is a chocolate lover, and I want to dedicate this memorable dessert to them. Pastry Chef Nicolas Haelewyn posted a video on Instagram while making his Tarte au Citron. I watched it mesmerized and I thought that it would be a fantastic way to recognize all the people out there who are celebrating Valentine’s Day but are tired of chocolate.

The buttery crust in my tart didn’t come out as dark as Chef Haelewyn’s but I can attest that its flavor is absolutely delicious. I learned from him that using an immersion blender on his lemon curd creates a light and smooth custard. There are quite a few steps to making this tart, but it is worth the work. Please know that I used a blow torch to brown the meringue. If you have a broiler in your oven, you can definitely use that instead. Also, you will need a digital candy thermometer for this recipe. And finally, the recipe was originally in grams, so I did my best to translate everything to its volume equivalent.


Gluten-free Lemon Hazelnut Tart: a memorable Valentine dessert

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: DessertDifficulty: Difficult
Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the hazelnut crust
  • 50 g 50 hazelnut flour – 1/2 cup and 1 Tablespoon

  • 234 g 234 Simona’s Flour Mix – 1 1/2 cup

  • 95 g 95 granulated sugar – 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 salt

  • 1 large 1 egg

  • 140 g 140 unsalted butter, cold – 10 Tablespoons

  • For the madeleine layer
  • 1 large 1 egg

  • 35 g 35 granulated sugar – 3 Tablespoons

  • 1/2 lemon 1/2 zest

  • 2 teaspoons 2 honey

  • 45 g 45 Simona’s flour mix – 1/4 cup and 1 Tablespoon

  • 1 teaspoon 1 baking powder

  • pinch pinch salt

  • 45 g 45 unsalted butter, melted – 3 Tablespoons

  • For the milk chocolate hazelnut caramel
  • 200 g 200 granulated sugar – 1 cup

  • 85 g 85 heavy cream – 1/3 cup

  • 50 g 50 unsalted butter – 3 Tablespoons and 2 teaspoons

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 fleur de sel – or kosher salt

  • 113 g 113 hazelnut milk chocolate – one 4 oz bar (I used Lindt)

  • For the lemon curd
  • 2 large 2 eggs

  • 65 g 65 granulated sugar – 1/3 cup

  • 18 g 18 cornstarch – 2 Tablespoons and 2 teaspoons

  • 100 g 100 fresh lemon juice – 1/3 cup and 1 Tablespoon

  • 75 g 75 unsalted butter – 5 Tablespoons

  • For the Italian meringue
  • 250 g 250 granulated sugar – 1 1/4 cups

  • 80 g 80 water – 1/3 cup

  • 4 large 4 egg whites

  • For assembly
  • 40 g 40 chopped hazelnut – 1/4 cup

  • 50 g 50 milk chocolate, melted – half of a 4 oz bar

  • 50 g 50 fresh lemon juice – 1/4 cup


  • For the hazelnut crust
  • Mix together the hazelnut flour, Simona’s mix, sugar and salt. Add the butter and with your hands – or a pastry cutter, cut it into the flour mixture, until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the egg and knead until smooth.
  • Grease and line a 9″ tart pan with removable bottom. Pat the dough evenly into the pan and make sure to push the dough about 1/2 an inch up the sides of the pan to create an edge. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the crust with a parchment round or crumpled parchment sheet. Add pie weights, dry rice, or dried beans or enough to fill the pan 2/3 full. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven, and lift out the paper and weights. Return the crust to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until set.
  • Let it cool in its pan, then unmold it and place it on a serving plate, ready to be assembled.
  • For the madeleine layer
  • Grease and line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl rub together the sugar and lemon zest.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, place the egg, sugar and lemon mix, and the honey. Beat until very light and pale yellow, approximately 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold it into the egg mix, gently, so not to deflate the batter.
  • Add the melted butter in batches, folding it carefully. Spread the batter in the prepare pan with an off spatula. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Leave the cake layer in the pan while cooling. Remove the springform once cooled.
  • For the lemon curd
  • Heat a couple of inches of water in a small sauce pan, to create a bain-marie.
  • In a medium bowl – which will be placed on top of the sauce pan – break the eggs with the sugar, until combined. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Gradually pour the lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
  • Place the bowl on top of the sauce pan – be careful that it doesn’t touch the water. Whisk frequently until it becomes thick and dense. Remove from the heat and add the butter in pieces, until melted.
  • Use an immersion blender to smooth the curd, for 5 minutes. Place plastic wrap on contact, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For the Hazelnut milk chocolate caramel
  • Use the same sauce pan you used for the bain-marie, after throwing the water away. Add a few tablespoons of sugar and place on medium heat. When the sugar starts turning a light amber, keep adding a few tablespoons of sugar, repeating the procedure*.
  • Once all the sugar is added, and it has reached a beautiful amber color, remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly add the cream – be careful because it will sizzle.
  • Add the butter and fleur de sel and mix until smooth. Lastly add the hazelnut chocolate in small pieces, and make sure that it all has melted, before placing it in a bowl. Set aside it to cool.
  • For the Italian meringue
  • Place water and sugar in a sauce pan, on a medium heat, and bring to boil. Occasionally wash the side of the pot with a clean pastry brush dipped in water if you see that the sugar starts crystallizing on the side of the pot. I usually avoid the problem by using a pot with a large diameter.
  • Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. When the sugar syrup in the pot reaches 225-230 degrees Fahrenheit, begin whipping the egg whites on medium speed.
  • When the sugar syrup reaches 238 degrees Fahrenheit pour it steadily over the whites, paying attention not to hit the whisk while pouring, or the hot syrup would splatter.
  • Keep whipping the meringue at medium speed until it is cool. 
  • To assemble the tart.
  • Brush the bottom and sides of the tart with the melted milk chocolate.
  • Place the cooled caramel in a piping bag and create a loose spiral inside the tart. Scatter some chopped hazelnut on top.
  • Use another piping bag for the lemon curd, and pipe directly on top of the caramel, in an uniform circle, covering the whole bottom of the tart.
  • Place the madeleine layer in the center of the tart and brush it with lemon juice.
  • Place the meringue in a piping bag with a large round tip – I used 1A from Wilton – and pipe even blobs over the surface of the madeleine, creating two circles and one central blob.
  • If you have a blow torch, use it to brown your meringue. If you don’t have a blow torch, use your broiler, but watch it attentively since it’s easy to burn. Serve and enjoy.


  • I had never made caramel this way, but I like that I didn’t have to wait too long before it started caramelizing, and I felt more in control of the procedure.

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