This is part one of a two part series I am doing on edible flowers. Next week’s post will be part of a fun little virtual potluck but I am flying solo on this one since the gorgeous flowers Marx Food sent me were just too amazing to keep for only one recipe.
Flowers may seem like an unusual and even intimidating ingredient to incorporate into your cooking but they add a whole new flavor to dishes and make for the most gorgeous garnish. Since not everyone is super familiar with incorporating edible flowers into their kitchen, I’ve outlined a few tips for cooking with edible flowers:
Organic only. As temping as it may be, you can’t just go out into your neighborhood and pick some flowers for dinner. It’s important that you only use flowers that you grew yourself organically or that are labeled as edible. This will ensure that you don’t eat any pesticides that could have been sprinkled onto the flowers and also to help avoid accidentally eating poisonous flowers.
Play with the flavors you already know and like. For example, I’ve been a huge fan of hibiscus tea for years so I made sure to incorporate that flavor into the dishes I made since it was a flavor that I knew I already liked. If possible, ask to sample the flowers before buying so you can figure out which ones taste the best to you. Also, if you aren’t a huge fan of the flavor of any of them, mix the flowers with a strong flavor you do enjoy like citrus or a fragrant herb.
A little goes a long way. Flowers are not for everyone and they have a flavor that we aren’t always used to eating in our everyday diets. Don’t hesitate to mention to your guests to stay clear of the little flowers if they don’t enjoy bitter foods or to only start with a few if they are new to edible flowers. Also, some people may have trouble digesting them if they haven’t been exposed to edible flowers before.
Keep it simple. It’s not everyday that you cook with flowers so make sure to really let them shine when you do. They look best when kept raw so make sure you put a few aside to garnish the dish with.
If you are a fan of lemon curd then you will love this tart! It’s tangy and sweet with a dose of chocolate (crust) for good measure. I blended the dried hibiscus into the curd to get the most flavor possible but feel free to strain the hibiscus out of the filling before blending in the butter if you’d like to keep the hibiscus flavor subtle. Also, I used these micro flowers for garnish but some organic hibiscus flowers would be gorgeous or even just a few dried petals leftover from the custard would make an appealing garnish.
Hibiscus Lemon Curd Tart With Cocoa Crust & Edible Flower Garnish
Makes 1 9″ tart / filling adapted from Food52
For the crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, very cold
- Ice water
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup dried hibiscus
- 2/3 cup sugar
- dash of salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 Tablespoon pieces
For garnish, optional:
- Whipped cream
- Edible flowers
- coarse sugar
For the crust: Pulse the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor until blended. Next, add the butter and pulse until a coarse meal has formed. With the food processor still running, slowly add in the ice water (a teaspoon at a time) until the dough has turned into a bowl. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least thirty minutes.
Once chilled, remove the dough from the fridge, grease a 9 inch tart pan, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it fits snugly in the tart pan. Press the dough evenly around the tart pan and use a fork to poke holes all over (like the photo above). Bake for ten minutes and then set aside to cool.
For the custard: Using a double boiler, set a few teaspoons in the bottom bowl of the double boiler and bring to a simmer. In the top bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, hibiscus, sugar, and salt. Once the water is simmering, place the top bowl with the sugar mixture over it and add in the eggs and yolks. Whisk constantly until the mixture has reached 180 degrees (which should take about 10 minutes). Once at 180, remove from the simmering water and let cool to 140 degrees. Once cooled, use an immersion blender to blend the butter, a tablespoon at a time, into the curd mixture until a thick and smooth curd has formed. (if you don’t have an immersion blender then this can also be done in a standard blender).
Pour the curd into your prepared chocolate crust and transfer to the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Top with whipped cream, edible flowers, and coarse sugar.6