If I could pick just one flavour to capture the essence of summer it would have to be elderflower. The weather can be a washout but these creamy white clusters don’t care, they appear anyway and fill the air with their heady scent. Lemon is a perfect partner with this floral flavour, so here is a rather impressive looking, seasonal dessert – Lemon and Elderflower Tart.
Elderflower blossoms in great abundance almost everywhere in Great Britain – in hedgerows, woodlands, by derelict buildings and on wasteland from late May to early July, depending on the weather conditions.
To me the simple annual ritual of gathering baskets full of fragrant flower heads, plunging them into a giant saucepan, waiting for the magic to happen – is my sign that summer has truly arrived. A cordial is a must to enjoy mixed in a gin and tonic or Prosecco, Cava or just with sparkling water. However as we are celebrating The Jubilee weekend here in the UK, a seasonal dessert is a fitting one.
To make this fragrant citrus tart, you must steep the flowers in cream to begin with, to maximise the delicious flavour. Simply place the flower heads in double cream in a saucepan and gently heat. Leave to cool, cover and place in the fridge overnight. Strain through a sieve, lined with a muslin cloth. You are now ready to make the tart.
Now the pastry: firstly it’s essential you bake it blind until it’s crisp and golden. Secondly lower the oven temperature to ensure a smooth and creamy texture.
Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a wonderful, seasonal dessert to serve over the Jubilee Bank holiday weekend!
Lemon and Elderflower Tart
- 24cm loose bottom tart tin
- 160 g plain flour
- 80 g unsalted butter
- 20 g icing sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tbls cold water
- 160 ml double cream
- 5-6 elderflower heads
- 130 ml elderflower steeped double cream
- 5 large free-range eggs
- 150 g caster sugar
- 80 ml lemon juice I weigh this in grams
- 2 lemons zest of
- Strawberries and raspberries
- Elderflower cordial undiluted
- Shake the elderflower heads to remove any insects. (Rinsing them will remove the pollen and the flavour). Place them in a saucepan with the cream. Bring to a very gentle simmer, remove from the heat and cool. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- Strain the cream through a sieve lined with a muslin. You need 130ml for this recipe.
- Put the plain flour and butter in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Mix in the icing sugar and a pinch of fine sea salt followed by the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of ice cold water. Mix until you have a combined dough, don't overwork it. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten it out into a disc. Place in a freezer bag, then chill for 30 mins before using.
- Roll out the pastry and line the pastry case. Prick the base with a fork and chill for 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven 175°C fan.
- Line the pastry case with parchment and baking beans and bake for 12 minutes, remove the beans and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden. If a few cracks have appeared, brush with a little beaten egg yolk as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cool for 5-10 minutes before filling.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C fan.
- Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and add the sugar. Follow with the elderflower cream, lemon zest and juice. Whisk with a balloon whisk.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the pastry case, hold back the last few millilitres. Add this when the tart is in the oven, to save spillages.
- Bake for 30-32 minutes or until when you give the tart a gentle shake it still has a little wobble in the centre. Cool. A few cracks may appear but you can cover these with berries.
- Take the berries and slice in a random fashion, add a tablespoon of elderflower cordial and leave for 20 minutes to macerate. Now decorate the tart and add a light dusting of icing sugar. Best served at room temperature.