I have to admit, I was not the biggest fan of lavender flavored food. I love candles, oil, and bath salts that perfume the air with the calming lavender scent, but to eat?! I always thought lavender made dishes taste soapy and bitter. This tart completely changed my outlook on cooking and baking with lavender. The taste was light, refreshing, and paired well with the blueberries.
For the recipe, I created a lavender sugar and added it to the whipped cream and mascarpone cheese filling. The lavender flavor wasn’t overpowering at all. The key to using culinary lavender is to experiment and add a little bit at a time. I started with 1 teaspoon, tasted, then added another. Remember, a little bit goes a long way. Too much and it will be like eating perfume!
I usually avoid baking tarts because the tart shells always shrink and look horrible! I found this recipe for an unshrinkable tart shell that doesn’t even require blind baking with baking weights! It works well too! The key is to not skip the chilling and freezing times for the dough.
Blueberry Lavender Tart
Unshrinkable Tart Shell Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the Unshrinkable Tart Shell (makes one 9-inch tart shell)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes (plus one tablespoon unsalted butter for coating pan and foil)
- 1 egg
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons culinary lavender
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
- 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
- For the tart shell: in the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add in the butter and pulse a few more times until the butter is the size of peas. (Don’t over pulse the butter because the small pieces are what makes the crust flakey). Add in the egg and process until dough comes together and forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round, lifting and turning the dough occasionally. Being careful not to tear or stretch the dough, use the rolling-pin to gently lift the dough and place it into the tart shell. Press the dough into the tart shell and trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold the overhang into the dough, making the sides double thick. Use the extra dough trimmings to press into the corners of the pan. Prick all over with a fork. Freeze the tart shell for at least 30 minutes.
- Center the rack in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 375ºF. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, butter side down, tightly against the tart shell. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (Since the tart shell was frozen, there is no need to blind bake with baking weights).
- Remove the foil, and using the back of a spoon, gently press down the crust if it has puffed up at all. Bake the crust for an additional 10 minutes until golden brown. Cool the tart shell completely before adding in the filling.
- For the filling: in a food processor, grind together the sugar and lavender until the lavender is in small pieces and incorporated into the sugar. Using a mixer or by hand, whip the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the mascarpone cheese and lavender sugar. Chill in the refrigerator. When ready for serving, sprinkle the blueberries on top. (I like the tart chilled, but the blueberries at room temperature).
* Make Ahead: For the dough, follow step 1, then chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days