Baking with Botanicals

Creamy Lemon Tart with Lavender “Sprinkles”

Creamy Lemon Tart with Lavender “Sprinkles”

I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate lavender in cooking which is what compelled me in September to attend a class on botanicals at Old World Levain (OWL) Bakery in Asheville, NC. By definition, a botanical is anything derived from plants. This includes spices and grains. You can add botanical elements to most any recipe and explore seasons, cuisines, and nature. I learned how to make crystallized herbs, a technique that I could not resist adapting to lavender. Check out the recipe, below, for lavender “sprinkles:” I used dried culinary lavender in place of the chopped herbs.

Creamy Lemon Tart with Lavender “Sprinkles”

Creamy Lemon Tart with Lavender “Sprinkles”

Crystallized Herbs

2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon water

In a skillet, bring water and sugar to a boil and stir gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Keeping syrup in center of pan, allow to boil until you see very large, glassy bubbles, and white crystals on the side of the pan. When ready, throw in your herbs (or dried lavender buds) and stir vigorously continuously without stopping until your herbs stop generating foam and start to separate. Remove from heat immediately and pour onto a sheet of parchment. Allow to cool, and break up clusters with a rolling pin if necessary.

Lavender Sprinkles

Lavender Sprinkles

Use the lavender sprinkles as a garnish on cakes, pies, and tarts. The flavor of lavender works well with anything lemon such as the tart in the first two photos.. I made using Tartine Bakery’s Lemon Cream recipe with a basic tart pastry. Lavender also works beautifully with chocolate. Last blog of the year and wishing you peace, love, and happiness! Thankfully yours, Alethea