I visited Provence this past June where it seems... all things lead to LAVENDER. You see it growing practically everywhere. I took the photo below several years ago. On our recent trip, we stayed just up the road from this home, where lavender lines the drive, and drove past it almost daily -- a visual delight.
Visiting the village markets and local shops, you will find lavender soap, sachets, lotions, syrups, and what I consider the most wonderful of all -- lavender honey -- in abundance.
But, was I smart enough to bring any lavender products back home with me? Ah, no... I was trés stupide!
Every morning at our B&B in Gordes-Les Gros, we had a breakfast that included lavender honey in a very large container. I saw this same bulk container of lavender honey at the Super U, a grocery store in nearby Coustalet. Did it ever even occur to me to buy any? No... not at all. What was I thinking?
After arriving back home to St. Paul, Minnesota, empty handed, I rode to the Mill City Farmers' Market in Minneapolis and purchased a small bag of culinary lavender... I have been baking with it ever since.
NOTE: I used 10 individual Matfer tartlet molds measuring 3-inches in diameter at the top and 2 1/8 inches at the base. You can also use a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. If making a 9-inch tart, double the ingredients for the filling.
FOR THE CRUST:
• 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon culinary lavender
• 5 1/3 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoon ice water
FOR THE FILLING:
• 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• Confectioners' sugar
• Culinary lavender, for sprinkling
TO MAKE THE CRUSTS:
1. Pulse the almonds in the bowl of a food processor until ground. Add the flour, salt, and lavender and pulse to combine.
2. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Slowly add the ice water while pulsing. When the dough just starts to come together, stop and transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Press the dough into a disc and wrap with the plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. When ready to make the tart crust, remove dough from refrigerator; place on a work surface. I roll my dough inbetween a flour-dusted sheet of waxed paper and plastic wrap. If making a 9-inch tart crust, roll out the entire disc and fit into the tart pan. If making individual tart shells, cut segments off of the dough, roll, and fit into the pans. Prick the base of the tart crust(s) with a fork and place crusts in the freezer while the oven is preheating.
4. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Remove the tart crust(s) from the freezer and line with aluminum foil. Fill the foil-line shells with dried beans or rice to prevent the crust(s) from rising up during baking. Place the tart pan(s) on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans or rice, return the tart shells to the oven and continue to bake until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to fill with.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
1. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Combine cream, sugar, lavender, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid is just at a simmer.
3. Pour the cream mixture through a mesh strainer over the chocolate and butter and let sit until melted, about 4 minutes. Gently stir until smooth.
4. Spoon the ganache into the cooled tartlet shells; transfer to the refrigerator and chill until set, about 1 hour.
1. Whip the heavy cream and Confectioners' sugar, to taste, until thickened. Mound the chocolate ganache tartlets with whipped cream and sprinkle with lavender.
TAKE a LOOK: