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Lavender and Custard

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So…there’s three weeks left.

Three weeks until Christmas break and I’m in the office at 6.45am.

Ahh the end of year rush, there’s nothing like it.

I’m also having to give myself a pep talk as my alarm goes off for it’s second time because my eyes would much rather stay shut and I need to convince them otherwise.

This past weekend I decided to re-visit one of my absolute favorite places in this world, and what perfect timing for my friend needed a day away from the world after ending her relationship.

With her heartache lingering in the air and my exhaustion the walks to spectacular almost empty beaches in perfect sunshine was exactly what we both needed.

A kick start from the weather and scenery.

As we sat on the beach taking it all in, our woes, exhaustion and frustrations with reality melted away and all we were left with was silent awe of what our eyes could see and our brain couldn’t comprehend in beauty.

Do you have a place you visit as often as possible despite it being slightly difficult/time consuming to get to?

I’d love to hear about it.

Note: If you can’t buy lavender, but you have some in the garden and are unsure of whether it’s edible I found this site useful – Everything Lavender.

Lavender Custard Strawberry Tart
RoamingTaste
Serves 8

Ingredients:
Shortcrust Pastry
Adapted from Jamie’s Italy
125g butter
1/2 cup confectioners/icing sugar
Small pinch of salt
2 cups of plain flour
1/2 vanilla pod, sliced lengthways and seeds removed
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold milk or water
Custard
Adapted fromPortuguese Custard
1/2 cup superfine/caster sugar
1/2 cup icy-cold water
1 tablespoon dried lavender
1/3 cup level plain flour
350ml milk
6 egg yolks
1 strip lemon rind
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200ml cream
Topping
1/2 cup Strawberries sliced half and half once more
3 tablespoons dried lavender

Directions:
Begin by greasing a tart tin lightly. Place the butter, sugar and salt in a bowl and cream.

Rub in the flour then add the vanilla, milk and egg yolks and mix well.

When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs add in the milk or water. Combine until it is a ball of dough then knead approximately 1 minute into a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.

Then placing in the freezer for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F and bake the pastry for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.

To make the custard, place the sugar and icy-cold water with the lavender in a loose tea strainer, in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir with a metal spoon to ensure sugar has dissolved, then let bubble for 2 minutes, do not let caramelize.

Set the sugar syrup aside. Keep the lavender dipped in the sugar syrup for a further five minutes. Resting on top to allow any of the syrup to drip off the lavender once removed.

Place three quarters of the milk into a saucepan with the vanilla extract, lemon rind and vanilla bean over a medium heat. Do not let boil.

Meanwhile, make a smooth paste with the flour and remaining milk, then add the yolks and mix until combined. Mix in the hot milk once the paste is smooth enough.

Return to low-to-medium heat and stir constantly until thickened, add in the cream and stir further.

Pour the custard into the cooled pastry and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of an hour.

Once well chilled, arrange the strawberries on top and sprinkle the lavender evenly.

Slice to serve.

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