When life gives you lemons, make this delicious twist on lemon tart. Bright, citrusy custard with a subtle lavender scented crust. Tart, sweet, and slightly floral.
Lemon is one of my favorite ingredients to cook and bake with. It makes everything taste brighter and fresher and better. Just the smell alone makes me so happy. How can you not smile with the scent of freshly squeezed lemons in the air as the morning sun peeks through the kitchen blinds? Mixed with the relaxing aroma of lavender flowers—now that’s a recipe for self-care. This lemon tart will not only make your tummy happy, it will make your soul happy.
I’ve been very drawn to lavender over the last couple years. As a person who deals with anxiety, it’s an herb I’ve used a lot for therapeutic and aromatherapy purposes. The smell is very calming and puts me at ease. I swear, just working with the flowers to style this shoot put me in a zen like state. It was definitely the most relaxed I’ve felt during a shoot.
Lavender is very potent, which is nice on the nose, but you’ve got to practice restraint when using it in the culinary sense. A little goes a long way—the whole recipe only calls for 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of dried lavender flowers. You’ll get a subtle lavender aftertaste, but it won’t be overwhelmingly floral. The decorations are totally optional, and although they are technically edible, you’ll want to remove them before serving. Consuming that much lavender will be too overwhelming on the palate.
When you first bite into this tart you’ll get a tangy burst of lemon custard and as you continue to chew the crust the lavender will begin to come through and then linger on your tongue afterward. It’s like musical chairs for your taste buds. I’m actually impressed I made such a whimsical, delicious dessert. But hey—if I can do it, you can too!
The trickiest part is the crust. And it’s not even that tricky, it just requires a few steps and may take a couple tries to really get down. For really good visual instructions, click here. You’ll want to save this recipe for a lazy Sunday morning or break it up into two days. Make the dough the night before and whip up the filling the next day. Or if you’re really strapped for time, use store-bought crust and nix the lavender—I won’t judge you. But I will say, it does feel damn good to say you made the whole tart from scratch.
Because the ingredients for this recipe are so simple, the quality of the ingredients you choose will be what really makes this dessert stand out. Try to get fresh, local and organic ingredients as often as you can. Especially for the lemons! I tested this tart twice and the second time I bought lemons from Erewhon Market—a health food store that sells only the most ethically sourced and sustainably produced foods—and it made a big difference in flavor! It tasted so much brighter and fresher with the lemons from Erewhon. I also added a touch of honey to balance out the acidity, which worked out really nicely.
If you like sweet, tart, tangy, and slightly floral, you’re going to love this twist on traditional lemon tart!
LEMON TART + LAVENDER SCENTED CRUST
*Note: You’ll need a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom and pie weighs (dried beans or uncooked rice).
For the crust
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (+ have extra on hand)
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ – 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
For the filling
- 5 eggs
- ¾ cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp honey
- lemon slices
- dried lavender flowers
- fresh edible flowers
For the crust
Combine flour, sugar, dried lavender, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. If you want more lavender flavor in the crust put 1 tbsp, otherwise use 1/2 tbsp for a more mellow flavor. Cut cold butter into small chunks and add to food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles a crumbly, coarse meal texture. Add egg and vanilla and pulse just until dough is no longer dry and starts to pull together in large clumps.
If dough is too wet, transfer to lightly floured surface and add a tablespoon of flour at a time (same with water if dough is too dry) until dough is manageable. Form dough into a ball and slightly flatten it to make a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.
Take dough out of fridge and let soften slightly for about 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 11-inch circle using a rolling pin. I like to flour the rolling pin to keep it from sticking to the dough. Working quickly, take your floured rolling pin and roll the dough loosely around the pin, then transfer it to tart pan by gently unrolling it over the pan.
Using your fingers, shape the dough to fit snugly into the edges of the pan and trim the excess dough off with a sharp knife and use it to patch thin areas. Make sure to smooth over patches to prevent cracks when baking. Cover pan in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help keep it from shrinking while it bakes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Take dough out of freezer. Cut a piece of tinfoil larger than the pan and press it is tightly against the bottom of the crust and into all of its edges. Fill with dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights, if you have them. For visual instructions, click here. Bake crust for 20 minutes—foil will not stick to dough when it’s ready. Remove weights and foil, then put back into the oven for 5-10 minutes longer. Crust should be dry and starting to turn golden. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.
For the filling
Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
While crust is cooling, make filling. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, cream, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and honey until fully combined and smooth. Let frothy bubbles settle from whisking, then take the back of a spoon and pop as many bubbles as you can. You want filling to be completely smooth and bubble free to get that silky smooth top while baking.
When crust has completely cooled, gently pour filling into the crust and smooth over any last bubbles with an offset icing spatula or butter knife. Very carefully place tart into oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until tart is completely firm and set and crust is dark golden brown. I like to put my tart pan on top of a wire rack fitted inside a baking sheet incase any spillage occurs during the baking process.
Let tart cool completely before serving to allow the custard to firm up. I like to chill it in the fridge after it cools and serve it cold. If you want, you can decorate the top with powdered sugar, dried lavender flowers, lemon slices, or any edible flower you like.
*Make sure you dust off any dried lavender flowers you use for decoration before serving as they are very potent!