Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Springtime Dessert: Tart and Flowery

This is the lemon tart I made for dessert on Valentine's Day. Megan from Hey Meg, What's for Dinner? asked that I post the recipe, so here you go ...

I didn't really have a recipe for this dessert, but I wanted a really lemony tart, topped or combined with lavender. I also adore the textural contract of silky against crispy, so I knew that this would have a crisp pie crust and the foundation.

This dish is pulled together in four steps, almost all of which can be done a day (or more) ahead:

Step One: Crust
Make a pie or tart crust (I used this recipe from Melissa Clark). Bake the crust in tartlet shells or tart rings (I have some square ones I used for this) until golden - they will not be baked again, so make sure they are as dark as you like.

Step Two: Lavender Honey
Take about 1/3 cup of honey (clover or wildflower are fine) and 2 tablespoons of dried lavender blossoms (be sure they are suitable for culinary use and aren't treated with any fixatives or other icky non-edible substance) and heat them over medium heat for about 5 minutes (or until the honey is bubbling hot).

Let the lavender steep in the honey for at least an hour (longer is fine). Heat the honey back up and then pour the honey through a strainer to remove the blossoms.

If you have lavender honey in your possession, feel free to skip this step.

Step Three: Lemon Curd
Make lemon curd via your favorite recipe. I strongly endorse this method by Elinor Klivans. It's unconventional, but works really well.

Step Four: Assembly
Warm the honey a little bit if it's too thick to drizzle (in my kitchen it was almost solid at room temp). Whip 1/2 cup of heavy cream and as the cream starts to thicken, drizzle in 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey (check for sweetness). Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.

Spoon lemon curd into the baked tart shells. Dollop each tart with the whipped cream and sprinkle a few lavender blossoms over the top.

Variations: I am going to try this with other citrus / herb combos: lemon curd and minted cream, grapefruit curd and rosemary cream, lime curd and coconut cream (not an herb, I know).


Julia said...

I think cardamom honey whipped cream would go well with lime.

That or it would be a disaster, but I think it might.

Sunday Cook said...

Or maybe with orange? Have you ever seen orange curd? Sounds interesting.

I am currently in love with cardamom, so I am going to have to whip up a batch of that honey. (would be a stellar ice cream methinks)

Megan said...

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I can't wait to make it. Lemon and lavender--heavenly!
Thanks! Megan

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