Late last year, my friend Alison Baitz put out a zine entitled ON FLORA. It is a stylish little collection of photographs of flowers and plants, with no words (though there are some photographs of print) that convey humor and camp and craftiness while still managing to be beautifully shot, designed, and printed.
Just before Valentine's Day, Alison had an ON FLORA release celebration in the form of a Galentine's Day party at Meeps. There was an activity table--flower crown and corsage crafting and valentine making, a treats table with edible flower-infused punch and cupcakes and sweets, and all the floral print you can imagine. To add to the treats table, Alison commissioned me to make two floral-inspired pies. This was an exciting challenge--I love when I'm given a framework for a creative project-- baking or otherwise. I did a lot of recipe browsing and brainstorming, and settled on a Hibiscus-Poached Pear & Cranberry Pie and this Dark Chocolate Lavender Tart, adapted only slightly from Desserts for Breakfast. I was tempted to make more floral-infused treats-- with jasmine or orange flower water, or this Chamomile Buttermilk Pie, but they'll have to wait until ON FLORA's second issue.
This Dark Chocolate Lavender Tart with a Lemon Cardamom Crust is a dream. It's not too sweet, and in my opinion you can never go wrong with a chocolate and cardamom combination. For those who don't like the taste of lavender, this one's definitely not for you, but I love it.
Adapted only slightly from Desserts for Breakfast
Makes 1 9-inch tart
For the crust:
260 grams all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon ground cardamom
1 Tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar
7 Tablespoons salted butter, cold and cut into pieces (if using unsalted, salt to taste)
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons water, cold
For the filling:
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dried lavender buds, plus more for dusting
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
3 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse salt and fine sugar, for dusting
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, cardamom, lemon zest, and sugar until combined. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal and peas.
2. Add the egg yolk and gradually add the lemon juice and water until a dough begins to form. Do not overmix. Form the pastry into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove pastry ball from fridge and press the dough into the greased and floured 9-inch tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, cover with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. If dough has softened, return to the freezer for a few additional (10-15) minutes.
4. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove the beans and parchment paper and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes more, until the crust has turned completely golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the filling:
1. In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the cream and dried lavender buds just until simmering. Cover and remove from heat. Let steep for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place the chocolate and honey in a heat-proof bowl and place a fine wire mesh strainer on top. Set aside.
3. Add the butter to the cream and lavender mixture and return to a simmer. Once it simmers, remove from heat and pour the mixture through the strainer onto the prepared chocolate, making sure to press all the liquid from the lavender buds. Discard the lavender buds.
4. Let the chocolate sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until it is completely melted and the mixture is homogeneous. Immediately pour the mixture into the cooled tart crust. Let tart sit at room temperature until completely cool, about 1-2 hours. Then store in the fridge. When ready to serve, sprinkle with additional dried lavender buds, coarse salt, and fine sugar. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Related recipes:Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Tart with Candied Pecans