this week, my awesome friend jules gave me some baking lavender. when i got home and opened it up to smell it, i was immediately transported to a meadow covered in flowers, far, far away from the slushy snowy icy mess that is new york right now. it smelled delicate and intense at the same time, beautifully floral and reminiscent of spring. needless to say, i couldn’t wait to get started baking.
for my first lavender adventure, i decided to make something lemon-themed. but i didn’t want to make just any plain old lemon bars, so i went out and got some beautiful meyer lemons and found martha‘s recipe for a “rustic” meyer lemon tart. it was simple and straightforward, and seemed like it would be the perfect vehicle to highlight both the lemons and the lavender.
well, the tart turned out to be a great idea. meyer lemons are much sweeter than regular lemons, so they give you the distinctive lemon tang you’re looking for, without being overly sour–and their lovely flavor really came through in the simple lemon curd filling. and let’s not forget about the crust. it was like a shortbread cookie mixed with a pie crust–with a good bite, but also light and flakey. the lavender flavor just barely came through in the background as a light floral note, which was a lovely counterpoint to the lemon. to be honest, i didn’t think the lavender was quite strong enough, so i would increase the amount of it for next time–i’ve indicated the increased amount in the recipe below. but lavender or no lavender, this tart was really delicious, and made for a dessert that was beautiful and elegant in its delicate simplicity.
a delicious and elegant tart with the delicate flavors of meyer lemon and lavender.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lavender
- 3/4 cup earth balance
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- zest and juice of 3 meyer lemons
- 6 tablespoons earth balance, cut into chunks
- powdered sugar, for sprinkling (if desired)
- combine the flour, sugar, salt, and lavender in a large bowl. use your fingers (or a pastry cutter, if you're fancy) to work in the earth balance until it is in the size of peas.
- combine the water and vanilla, then stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. stir everything until it comes together into a ball (you might need to use your hands to make it all come together, but don't work it too much).
- form the dough into a disc and wrap it with plastic wrap. refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
- press the chilled dough into a greased 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. put it in the freezer to chill for another 30 minutes.
- towards the end of the freezing time, preheat the oven to 375°F. put in the tart and bake it until it is lightly golden, about 25 minutes. let the crust cool completely on a wire rack.
- in a medium saucepan, combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. add the zest and lemon juice and stir to combine. cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5-8 minutes. remove the pan from the heat and mix in the earth balance, one chunk at a time.
- pour the filling through a mesh strainer into the cooled tart shell. bake the tart (again at 375°F) until the filling is slightly puffed and starting to brown, about 30 minutes. take it out of the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
- if you want, sprinkle powdered sugar over the tart just before serving.