I'll admit - I'm really not much of a baker, but when I went to pastry class I found tarts to be easy and foolproof and versatile. This lemon lavender version is the first type I learned, and I've loved it ever since. Serve this at your holiday dinner for a little bit of France at your table.
Lemon Lavender Tart
1/2 Basic Flaky Tart Crust (1 crust only - recipe below)
6 whole lemons
1 cup sugar
5 whole eggs
5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons dried lavender
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Heat oven to 350°. Dock crust then line crust with foil and pie weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights and continue baking until crust is cooked and is a light golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool. Zest 4 of the lemons into a large metal bowl or double boiler. Juice the 4 lemons and continue juicing remaining lemons until you have 1-½ cups of lemon juice. Add the lemon juice, sugar, whole eggs, egg yolks, and lavender to the zest, and heat the mixture over simmering water, stirring until mixture is thickened. Strain lemon curd through a strainer into a bowl; discard solids in strainer. Whisk in butter one tablespoon at a time, and then pour into the prepared tart crust. Refrigerate tart until well chilled and set, about 4 hours.
Basic Flaky Tart Crust
Yields two generous 11 inch crusts
12 ounces all-purpose flour
8 ounces cold butter, cubed
4 ounces water
1 ounce white vinegar
Blend flour and butter in an electric mixing bowl on medium low until roughly combined; small lumps of butter should still be visible. Combine water and vinegar. With the mixer on medium low, add liquid slowly just until the dough comes together. When it begins to form a ball, stop adding liquid even if you have some left. Remove dough, pat into a ball and cut in half. Flatten each half in plastic wrap into a thick disk, about 5 inches wide. Wrap well and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
To prepare crust, remove dough and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling on a light floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick crust. Transfer to the tart pan and gently press the crust into the edges of the pan, trimming away any excess crust. Wrap crust (in tart pan) in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.