Sometimes I crave a dessert that’s both sweet and sour and this lemon curd and lavender tart certainly fits the bill. As it’s still summer, a dessert that’s also refreshing and easy to make is a great idea too. I also love using fragrant flowers in cooking as they look so pretty, but of course you need to make sure they aren’t poisonous before using it. Some lavender varieties are not edible, but if you have Lavendula andgustafolia growing in your garden (English lavender varieties), you can use them in culinary dishes. The lavender flavour is subtle and goes well with the tart lemon.
My culinary lavender comes from the McLaren Vale Lavender Farm in South Australia (a lovely part of the world), and it has been patiently waiting in my pantry for a long, long time! Unfortunately the lavender in my garden is the French variety, which smells beautiful, but can not be eaten. I’m not sure where my shortcrust pastry recipe comes from, as I’ve had it for so long, though I have adapted the lemon curd recipe from the food network website.
Sweet shortcrust pastry
- 175g (6oz) plain flour
- 65g (2 1/2 oz) caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 115g (4 oz) chilled unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tspn dried lavender flowers
Lemon curd filling
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I used 3 lemons)
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 stick (113g) unsalted butter
Preheat your oven to 160 C. Prepare the pastry by sifting the flour, baking powder and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre and add the chopped butter and the egg yolk. Mix together the ingredients with clean fingers or blitz in a food processor. Knead through the lavender.
The pastry should resemble course bread crumbs but when squeezed in your hand it should clump together. This dough can be rolled out, but it’s best if you roll it between two sheets of baking paper as it is very sticky. Or you can simply press it in to your tart tin.
Lay a sheet of baking paper over the dough and weigh it down to blind bake the pastry. I have clay cooking weights, but rice, lentils or split peas work well too. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and let it cool completely.
In a medium sized metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Bring a small amount of water in a saucepan to boil. Reduce the heat so that the water is simmering. Place the egg mix bowl over the saucepan making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Whisk until the mixture thickens and the sugar crystals dissolve. It can take 10 minutes. Once off the heat, whisk through the butter, one small piece at a time.
Let the lemon curd cool and thicken in the fridge for at least an hour before pouring it into the shortcrust pastry shell. Chill the tart for at least 2 hours in the fridge. The lemon curd will turn into a jelly and should slice cleanly when the tart is cut.
Serve with a dollop of cream or creme fraiche and decorate with fresh lavender from the garden.