‘As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul.‘
I let years pass before I ever even thought about using lavender in food again. I have a nice big lavender bush in my herb garden but really I just let it be never once have I picked its blooms for anything other than a floral arrangement.
I opened my spice shop about 2 months ago now and when I was out perusing for the best spices in the world I saw a big ol’ vat of tiny purple flowers, the closer I got the stronger the smell got, it was almost as if it held me captive I couldn’t walk away. So I got a couple of scoops of it, figuring at the very least people might want to purchase it for those little scented pillow things. I was wrong… I haven’t sold even 1 tiny bag of it.
So here I am with all this lavender… what in the world am I going to do with it. Then it occurred to me if I do not know what to do with it… there is a very good chance that most of my customers have no idea how to use it either. So I set off on a mission to find the best (least soapy) ways to use culinary lavender in the kitchen.
And that brings us to todays recipe:
1 TBSP Sugar
1 TBSP Culinary* Lavender
1 ¼ C. All Purpose Flour
¼ C Cold Butter, Cubed
¼ C Shortening
*Only use lavender cultivated and sold as culinary lavender as many ornamental growers will spray their plants with pesticides.*
Lemon Filling Ingredients:
2/3 C. Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 ½ C. Sugar
7 Egg yolks
2 Whole Eggs
¼ Cup Butter
Pinch of Salt
3 TBSP Heavy Cream
- Take all of your filling ingredients out and allow them to come to come to room temperature while you prepare your crust.
- In your food processor pulse together your lavender, sugar and ¼ c. flour, when that is finely ground add the other cup of flour and blend.
- Add in cubes of cold butter and pulse, then add in shortening and pulse
- Finally, you are going to add your cold water into the food processor one tablespoon at a time until it forms dough.
- Press your dough into the bottom and edges of your tart pan, and pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- While your shell is in the freezer you are going to want to preheat your oven to 350*
- You are going to bake it for 30 minutes or until golden brown. (Origional recipe suggests the use of pie weights if you have them, I do not so I skipped them)
- Mix everything EXCEPT the heavy cream in a non reactive pot, on medium low heat until you have a thin sauce consistency
- Strain your sauce through a sive to get out any chunks of lemon zest
- Mix in the heavy cream, and pour into your tarte shell when it is still hot from the oven
- Return to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, when you remove the tarte the center will still be rather jiggly… just let it set for 2 hour.
I am going to call our first adventure with culinary lavender as success. I am going to leave you all with a few lavender facts and tidbits:
-Lavender is used to ease stress and induce sleep
-Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavor to dishes.
-Provence is now the world’s largest lavender producing region.
-The Shakers, a strict sect of English Quakers, are credited with commercializing lavender and introducing a variety of lavender-based products to the United States and Canada
-Lavender has many medicinal uses, including but not limited to treating:
It is both antifungal and antibacterial.
-When cooking with lavender one must exercise restraint and self control. A little REALLY does go a long way. Over using Lavender could leave your food tasting more like soap than a culinary delight.
-Lavender is on of the many herbs used in the popular herbes de Provence mixture.