Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lovely, Lavender, Lulls Lori

Yes, I am silly. I think I am punch drunk from being busy having fun and weeding the jungle, er, I mean garden. My DH is outside at this moment finishing up. It was so bad, it's downright embarassing.

I planted lavender in my garden last year. (Yes, that garden needs weeding too so don't look too closely). I love lavender. The scent is so lovely. I recently found out that lavender, in a study, was shown to reduce anxiety. The study says that it has a calming effect on the nervous system. Of course it has been known for a while that it helped people to sleep but now they have confirmed that it reduces anxiety. Check out the article here. Now that I have a ton of it in my garden, I can dry it, and put sachets all over the house!

A couple years ago I had lavender in some lemonade. I tasted it at the County Fair. I really liked it. I was kind of hesitant about it because in an instant it can go from a lovely taste to an overpowering, perfumey taste.
I have been drying some out, so I added it to these tarts. I added some lemon curd and I think they were a nice little treat. I took most of them over to a friends house. (I hope she liked them.)
Lemon Lavender Tarts

the tarts:
adapted from Tartelette's recipe

8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
pinch of salt
lavender buds ( a smidge)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, takes about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. In a measuring cup mix together flour, salt and cornstarch. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface. empty contents of mixer onto the wrap. Gather it up into a disc and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Once the dough has been chilled, it's ready for rolling. Use plastic wrap to roll it out.

* I used pie weights on a large tart I made. With the remaining dough I made five mini tarts.

Press lavender buds into tarts before baking. Bake at 350F. Bake until lightly golden on edges.

Lemon Curd

5 yolks
1 cup sugar
juice and zest of 4 lemons
1 stick of butter (4 oz.) cut in eight pieces

Combine yolks, sugar, juice and zest of lemons in a stainless steel bowl. Whisk until combined. Place bowl over boiling water. (You could also use a double boiler). Stir with whisk constantly. You want to heat it until it sticks to the back of a spoon. When you run your finger through it, it makes a trail. This usually takes anywhere from eight to ten minutes.

Take off the heat and whisk in pieces of butter one at a time until melted. Place in a glass or ceramic container and refrigerate. You can store this for about a week. It freezes well and defrosts rapidly.


Chow and Chatter said...

what a wonderful idea lori we Brits love lemon curd thanks for posting Rebecca

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I've been using essential oils since my 20s and I always have lavender around my house. It not only helps you feel calm but works wonders on any insect bites (you can rub them into your skin) and can also repel the blood sucking types of insects.

It must be wonderful to have lavender growing in your own garden. How nice is that?

Lisa Michelle said...

Although I was never big on the flavor of lavender in my food (tastes like baby scent..hehe), those tarts look absolutely stunning. I would try them, but probably with some thyme :) So pretty!

Selba said...

Wow... what a lovely lemon tart with lavender... I can imagine how nice the aroma is :)

kat said...

What a lovely use for lavender. In Hawaii we had it in scones & I've been addicted since

Mary said...

Lori, these look really good. I'm not as brave as you. I've used herbs de provence but never worked with lavender alone.

Lori said...

Chow and Chatter- I think I am part Brit because I LOVE curd! Any flavor.

Murasaki- I wish everyone could have a garden. Thanks for the info about the insect bites as well.

Lisa Michelle- I was never to big on it until I tried it in lemonade. That did it.

Selba- It was wonderfully gragrant as it was baking.

Kat- Oh man, I would love to try it in a scone, oh, and with some lemon curd on that. I am curd crazy.

Mary- Start with a smidge. You may love it!