Ingredients for 4-8 people
- 24 hours time, so that the sugared flowers can dry properly
- 1 egg white
- 100 g caster sugar
- 100 g begonia flowers*
- 1 tbsp fennel powder (fennel seed crushed into powder)
For the tart base
250 g flour
140 g cold butter
50 g sugar
2 egg yolks
For the filling
6 (organic) lemons
9 egg yolks
250 g sugar
175 ml organic crème fraiche
225 g ground green pistachio nuts + 50 g finely chopped for decoration
Brush for painting flowers with egg white
Spring form tin 28 cm diameter, greased
Pie weights for blind baking (dry beans or ceramic beads)
How to make it
Pre-heat the oven to the lowest setting a day before or in the morning; not above 40°C** (proving setting). Briefly beat the egg white with a splash of water. Brush the begonia flowers very lightly with the egg white and then sprinkle with a thin coating of sugar. Place the petals on a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper and leave to dry in the oven for 4-6 hours.
**Check with a thermometer that the oven is not too hot. Otherwise it’s better to leave the flowers to air-dry for a whole day and night.
For the dough, rapidly mix the flour with the butter, sugar, egg yolks and a pinch of salt, preferably in a food processor. Knead briefly (or run the food processor briefly). Wrap the dough in plastic film and leave to chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of baking parchment into a piece with a 36 cm diameter and use this to fill the cake tin or press it down into the cake tin. Neatly trim the edge. Cover with baking parchment and fill with the pie weights. Blind-bake the tart for around 10 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven, remove the baking parchment with the pie weights and return the tart to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile zest four lemons and squeeze all the lemons. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar for about 10 minutes to form a thick and foamy mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest, the crème fraiche and the pistachio flour whilst beating.
Lower the oven temperature to 125°C. Pour the filling into the tart base to just below the rim. Bake the tart in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes; the filling should be set but still ‘wobbly’. Allow the tart to cool completely. Sprinkle with the finely chopped pistachio nuts and decorate with the sugared begonias. Sprinkle with fennel powder through a sieve.
Serve the tart on a beautiful plate or cake stand. Place it on the table, but beware - it’ll be gone in the blink of an eye. Is there any tart left?
* Worth mentioning: never just tuck into a (cut) flower or plant. Only use edible flowers from specialist suppliers that have been grown for consumption.