Lemon-Thyme “Rainbow” Tart

For Pride this year, I waned to go with a bit more of a whimsical take on rainbows. When I think of rainbows, immediately I think of light and water. Since you know, the two work together to create a rainbow! So for the light side of things, I went with a lemon-thyme curd tart, just to add that brightness and the thyme brings in a little earthiness as well. For the water side of things, I went with clear gelees, similar to the water drop cake or water mochi that was so popular in Japan back in 2015! To actually capture the rainbow in terms of color, I colored a bunch of milk jelly cubes into all seven colors of the rainbow – the one challenge I face every year doing a Pride dessert is accurately measuring and portioning out 7 equal colors, since I refuse to leave any color behind! The cubes are both pressed into the lemon curd and placed into the clear gelee, to represent how the light and water both have their own “inner rainbows”.

For the components, we are using a pate sucre(sweet pastry) dough for the tart shell. The lemon curd is made with lemon juice and zest, as well as thyme, while being thickened with cornstarch and butter – you can use eggs, but I opted not to since the pate sucre is already using egg yolks and I did not want to give myself a surplus of egg whites to deal with layer on. The cubes of colorful rainbow gelee are made from a sweetened milk, set with agar, and dyed one of the seven colors of the rainbow using natural food coloring powders(you can just use food coloring too if you’re not crazy like me and happen to have those food coloring powders available). I encapsulated the tart with a clear gelee that is similar to the water mochi, which I also used to hold together the cubes of colorful rainbow gelee as well! In place of a meringue(I do not own a blowtorch and using the broiler on this tart would just melt the gelees anyways), I went with a thyme chantilly, just to add a pleasantly sweet contrast. The top is finished with edible flowers as well, just for more pops of color to round out the final aesthetic with.

For the pate sucre:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

Mix ingredients together to form a dough. Refrigerate the dough for at least 10 minutes. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and divide amongst 4 4-inch tart tins. Prick the bottoms of the unbaked tart shells with a fork and weigh them dough with parchment and either uncooked rice or dried beans. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Allow the shells to cool before removing from the molds.

For the lemon-thyme curd:
Juice and zest from 4 lemons
a pinch of thyme
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a pot, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, thyme, cornstarch, sugar, and salt on high heat until the mixture thickens up and clings to the sides of your whisk. Take off heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Once those ingredients are fully incorporated into your curd, pass the curd through a sieve to remove any lumps. If you are refrigerating it between now and assembly, be sure to re-whip the curd prior to filling in the tart shells, just to keep it smooth and pipable.

For the thyme chantilly cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of dried thyme
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Whip everything together to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate.

For the rainbow gelees:
14oz milk
2 tsp agar agar
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
red beet powder
turmeric powder
green spirulina powder
butterfly pea powder
acai powder
1/3 cup water
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp agar agar

In a pot, heat up the milk with agar, salt, and sugar until everything is dissolved together. Portion out 2oz of milk into silicone bar molds so that you have 7 bars of milk gelee. While these are still warm, mix in 1g beet powder for red, 1g turmeric for yellow, 1g each beet powder and turmeric for orange, 1g green spirulina for green, 1g butterfly pea powder for blue, 1g acai powder for purple, and 1g each butterfly pea and acai powder for indigo. Freeze these gelees solid before cutting them into small cubes for assembly, freezing them solid.

For the raindrop tops, mix together water, sugar, and agar on the stove and heat up until everything is dissolved. Pour into silicone 1-inch half sphere molds, filling just 8 of them and reserving the remaining gelee base, and place in the cubes of rainbow gelees while the clear gelee is still liquid. Freeze solid for 1 hour before attempting to unmold. Keep frozen until time to assemble. Wi

To assemble:
Clear gelee
Edible flowers

Start by piping the lemon curd into the tart shells, filling them about halfway up with the curd. Then press in cubes of the rainbow gelee first. Then pour the reserved clear gelee mixture over the tarts – if need be, reheat the clear gelee base with 2 tbsp water until melted down again. Freeze for 20 minutes just to set up the gelee on top. Then garnish the tops with chantilly cream, the rainbow-bubble gelees, and the edible flowers to finish.

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