Chocolate Lavender Tart with Honey-Lavender Ice Cream
When I first think of lavender, soap, drawer sachets and peaceful soaks in a hot tub come to mind. But lavender is also a versatile herb. Try it in dried, culinary form for desserts and sprinkled on roasted chicken. Here, the herb is infused into a chocolate tart, and then topped with lavender-infused ice cream to add a sweet and spicy zing to dessert.
Chocolate Lavender Tart with Honey-Lavender Ice Cream Recipe
For Chocolate Lavender Tart
Nonstick canola oil spray
9 whole chocolate graham crackers
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 T honey
1 cup whipping cream
2 tsp dried culinary lavender blossoms
Note: Culinary lavender is often available at local Farmers’ Markets and gourmet grocery stores. Penzey’s Spices is an online resource.
1 12 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup blueberries, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick spray.
Grind graham crackers with 3 T butter and the honey in a blender or food processor until mixture develops fine crumbs. Press crumbs on bottom of tart pan, but not up the sides. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Bring cream and lavender buds almost to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, without stirring.
Place chocolate in a medium saucepan, or a tapered Windsor pan, if you have one. Using a fine mesh strainer, pour hot cream mixture into saucepan containing the chocolate. Discard lavender blossoms. Stir over medium-low heat with a wooden spoon until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add cocoa powder and remaining 1 T butter, stirring until incorporated and mixture is creamy.
Pour mixture into tart pan, on top of crust. Chill at least 45 minutes, and as long as one day ahead of serving.
Tart may be covered after 2 hours in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving, which should take about an hour.
Serve with honey-lavender ice cream and blueberry garnish.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2008.
For Honey-Lavender Ice Cream
Note: recipe requires 8 hours time, which includes steeping, chilling and freezing
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup honey
2 T dried culinary lavender blossoms
2 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt
Special equipment: an instant read thermometer, ice cream maker
Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender almost to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, for 30 minutes.
Pour cream mixture through fine mesh strainer into a bowl and discard lavender blossoms. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.
Whisk eggs and salt in a large bowl.
Add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
Pour egg cream mixture into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on thermometer, approximately 7 minutes. Do not allow to boil.
Pour custard through (cleaned) strainer into a bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill covered, until cold, at least 3 hours, and up to one day.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Ice cream keeps for one week.
Adapted from Gourmet, September 2003.
Wine educator, Stephanie Davis from Albarello, agrees that great dessert wines can be hard to find when you want something other than port. She suggests Quady’s “Elysium” Black Muscat, a unique and beautiful dessert wine. Easy to find and priced under $20, the wine has aromas of rose and blackberry that will accent the flavors in the tart and the blueberry garnish.
She also says to remember this recipe and wine pairing for next Valentine’s Day, or any romantic occasion.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, because living brings its own humor, angst and heroism. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme , or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou where she hopes you’ll find illumination of the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Vodka and recipes optional.