Lapis Lazuli fruit tart

The inspiration behind this fruit tart came from the lapis lazuli gemstone. It is a naturally blue mineral studded with gold and white streaks. I wanted to also make this dessert an homage to my hometown of Palos Verdes, where wild fennel grows, and that’s where the inspiration to use fennel pollen came from. I wanted to use blueberries and blackberries for the dessert just to add more of a fresh note, and figured that lemon curd would pair off of that really nicely. The inspiration behind using the elderflower liquor was because the flavors of lemon, berries, and fennel, it is very summery, and I did not want to just completely rip off a previous dessert I prepared, so I figured I would go down this route instead, and do a fruit tart.

I used elderflower liquor, which has an almost lychee-like scent to it, in the tart shell, because the alcohol evaporates when the pastry is baked off, giving it a flakier, butterier finish, to compensate for the fact that I did not use as much butter as I normally would in a tart recipe. The lemon curd, it is a pretty standard lemon curd, using cornstarch to thicken instead of eggs, butter to emulsify it, but the thing I did differently was infuse it with the elderflower and fennel pollen, to really liven it up. For the topping, I did a veil, made with butterfly pea tea, which is naturally blue, but can turn pink or purple with the addition of citric acid, and again, elderflower and fennel, which comes off as greenish-yellow, to mimic the lapis lazuli pattern.

For the tart shell:
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon’s worth of zest
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup elderflower liquor; cold

Combine together your baking powder, sugar, and salt first with the flour. Add in the butter and mix together until it forms a crumbly texture. Make a well and add in the cold liquor. Mix together into a dough ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

Once the mixture is cold, place on a parchment sheet and roll out using a floured rolling pin (or wine bottle, or thermos, if you don’t have a rolling pin, because trust me, we’ve all been there before). Once the dough is rolled out to about 1/16th an inch thick, flour the surface that is exposed and flip into a fluted tart tin. Remove any excess (trust me, with this recipe, there will be excess). Weigh down the tart (I used rice, but dried beans work too!), and bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, then remove the rice and parchment paper, and re-bake for 10 more minutes. Cool completely before removing from the tin.

For the blueberry-blackberry filling:
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup blueberries (in two parts)
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Combine ingredients with one part of the blueberries and bring to a simmer. Strain and add in the rest of the blueberries. Continue to cook down until the liquid is thick and glossy and the blueberries are completely tender.

For the cheesecake mousse:
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
a pinch of salt

On the stove, reduce the sugar and water with the salt. In a bowl, whip the cream cheese with the extracts. Once the sugar has reached soft ball stage, pour into the cream cheese and continue whipping until the mixture it smooth.

For the lemon curd:
In retrospect, using the lemon was not as smart of an idea because it changes the color of the butterfly pea tea to pink or purple upon contact. However, you can still replace the lemon juice with elderflower liquor and water, and omit the sugar as well. I just wanted to use the lemon curd to give the cheesecake a little more tartness and body.

2 lemon’s worth of juice
1 lemon’s worth of peels
1 teaspoon elderflower liquor
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fennel pollen
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine lemon juice, elderflower liquor, salt, peels and bring to a simmer. In a bowl, add in sugar and cornstarch. Once the lemon liquid is simmering, pour through a strainer into the cornstarch-sugar mixture. Mix to remove lumps. Pour back into a pot and whisk on the stove until the mixture is thickened and glossy. Add in the fennel pollen, vanilla extract, and the unsalted butter at this time. Refrigerate until the mixture has cooled completely.

For the lapis lazuli veil:
Butterfly pea tea veil:
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butterfly pea tea flowers
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons agar agar

Combine ingredients and reduce by about half. Strain out the flowers and pour onto a sheet tray. Do not allow the mixture to set before you add in the other veil mixture.

Elderflower-fennel pollen veil:
3 tablespoons elderflower liquor
a pinch of fennel pollen
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons agar agar

Combine ingredients and bring to a simmer. Once the agar has completely melted into the liquid, quickly pour onto the butterfly pea tea veil that was already poured onto the sheet tray, making sure that both are still warm and liquid. You can play around with the pattern however you want with this. Allow the mixture to set in the freezer for 2-3 minutes after you are happy with how it looks.

Using the same tart tin you used to bake the tart in, cut out a single sheet of the veil. If you set the veil on a baking tray that is smaller than the tart tine, you can cut out multiple sheets.

Fold your fillings together and pipe into the cooled pie crust. Layer the veil on top of the fillings and allow the entire thing to set in the fridge until it is solidified.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Marissa says:



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