Photo by Clementine Day
Make Clementine Day's Lemon & Lavender Curd Tart
By Clementine Day
The lemon tree that hangs over my fence is laden with fruit at the moment. I always feel so lucky to get fruit and vegetables straight from their plant. Feels like such a gift, much more satisfying than a shop. This curd uses quite a few eggs, so it’s perfect if you’ve got plenty to use up or if you have little egg laying chickens. I use fresh lavender from my garden in this, but you could use dried lavender too. Lemon can be easily swapped for any citrus, so don’t be shy to play around with it. My only recommendation is that if you choose to use a less tart citrus like orange or blood orange, mix it with some lemon juice so you don’t lose the tang.
I had a funny realisation the last time I was making curd that it's kind of like a sweet mayonnaise - which I just find so funny but also interesting. The realisation really helped me to understand what was happening in the process of making curd, which is just emulsification, really, like mayo or aioli. You start with eggs and acid, and slowly add fat (butter, in curds case) until it thickens. I think with tarts, and pies, and desserts in general, we tend to get a bit hung up on the perfection of it all, but I really, really like an imperfect dessert. I think they taste better, they look better, there's more room for an 'imperfect' amount of gooey oozy curd which is just lost with a perfectly gelatinous slice of lemon tart, which of course has it's place, but not in my kitchen. I love the way a soft tart filling oozes out once it's sliced into, and the way that texture works with the crumbly biscuit base is just divine! So enjoy, let go of perfection and have fun!
Lemon & Lavender Curd Tart:
+ INGREDIENTS (CURD)
- 1 1/3rd cups lemon juice, about 8-10 lemons
- 6 egg yolks
- 300g butter, cut into large cubes
- 1 1/3rd cups of sugar
- About 10-15 lavender flowers
+ INGREDIENTS (TART BASE)
- 150g plain flour
- 110g brown sugar
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 125g unsalted butter (melted)
- pinch of salt
+ METHOD (FOR THE CURD)
- I like to make the curd the day before making the base, which makes the whole thing just a lot easier, but it's not essential.
- In a bowl, add sugar and half of your lavender. Using your fingers, rub the lavender into the sugar, releasing the oils and fragrance. You may notice the sugar goes slightly purple. You want to break down the lavender as much as possible here. Take your time with it, it's quite satisfying and you'll enjoy a bit of aromatherapy while you're there.
- In a medium sized saucepan (big enough to comfortably fit a litre of curd), combine eggs, yolks, lemon juice, sugar and lavender, whisking over a low heat until combined and sugar completely dissolves.
- Add in butter, one cube at a time and using a wooden spoon, stir constantly between each addition, waiting for each cube to melt fully. Continue stirring after all butter is added, until it's thickened well. The curd should coat the back of the wooden spoon.
- Strain the curd through a sieve to remove any blobs of egg and lavender buds. Set aside to cool. It will continue thickening as it cools. If making ahead, place in an airtight container or jar in the fridge.
+ METHOD (FOR THE BASE)
- For the base, preheat oven to 180 C.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Melt butter and combine with dry ingredients.
- Into a tart tin with a loose base (approximately 24cm diameter), use your fingers or the bottom of a cup to press the mixture into the base and up the sides as evenly as possible.
- Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until golden. Be careful here because it can go from golden to burnt pretty quickly.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool in tin. Once cool enough, I like to refrigerate the base for 30-60 minutes to help make it a little less fragile for removing it from the tin.
- Once cooled, remove from tin and fill with cooled curd. Pull apart the buds from your remaining lavender and sprinkle over the top, a little lemon zest is nice on here too.
- I like to refrigerate the tart, now that's it has been assembled, for a few hours before serving so that the curd gets to know it's new home (the tart shell) well.