I have to say, this Gin and Tonic tart has been a bit of a labour of love.
By that I mean that I had to make three before I got it just right. Actually, I have made four – but one wasn’t my recipe, so I don’t count it.
A good friend commissioned me to make a Gin and Tonic Tart which was published in Delicious Magazine earlier this year. It was basically a lemon tart with some juniper berries used to flavour the filling, it had pastry made with a little tonic water, and had a gin and tonic citrus syrup. It was quite nice, but I didn’t think it really lived up to its name – it was more like a lemon tart which had been vaguely made-over to jump on the whole Gin & Tonic internet bandwagon and get a gazillion likes on social media (I might add that the good people at Delicious succeeded in this endeavour).
But many of the recipes on the interwebs look and sound good but fail to live up to expectations (or maybe my expectations just have Michelin star ratings). Now, I’m not saying that my Gin and Tonic Tart deserves Michelin stars, but I can honestly say that it really, really is like eating a Gin and Tonic. It has a wonderfully short lemon and tonic pastry, an uber-zesty lemon lime curd filling which is scented with some of the key botanicals used in Gin, like juniper, coriander, cardamom, orange, black pepper and cinnamon (actually Gin usually has cassia in it, but I figure, same tree), and a proper honest to goodness Gin & Tonic jelly topping.
Can I just mention right here, that anyone who has been serving vodka jelly shots to their friends should try Gin & Tonic jelly shots. They are absolutely superb. I discovered this when slugging the leftover Gin & Tonic jelly during Gin and Tonic Tart attempts 1 and 2. In fact, I will go so far as to say that since tasting G&T jelly, the regular old pour-able drink really isn’t up to par.
The key to getting this tart right was in the setting. The first tarts I made were mini – and had a wonderfully smooth lemon lime curd with a sensationally dense texture. The Gin & Tonic jelly however was a bit temperature sensitive. The second time I made a large tart, and this time the curd had the temperature problem and the jelly sort of slid off. Third time a charm, as they say.
The curd takes a lot of egg yolks, so to avoid wastage, I freeze my egg whites and put them to good use in meringue, macarons, friands, or angel food cake. Coming up soon on Cakeophilia is a post on Pavlova Roulade, which is also a super way to use stray egg whites.
In the meantime, serve my Gin and Tonic Tart to all your Ginophile friends, and watch them swoon.
Gin and Tonic Tart
Makes one 20 cm round tart, or a 10x35cm oblong tart, (each serve 10-12) or 40 3cm tartlets (double the pastry if making tartlets)
Lemon Tonic Shortcrust Pastry
95g butter, cubed
1 cup flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cold tonic water
In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer or a food processor, mix or process the butter and flour and icing sugar until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the lemon juice and half of the tonic water and mix or process until clumps of pastry start to form. If necessary, add the rest of the tonic water. Mix or process only until the mixture starts to clump together. After that, use your hands to press the mixture into a ball, flatten the ball and wrap in cling wrap. Try not to over mix or over handle the pastry because this will lead to it being tough. Let the pastry rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to the shape of your tart tin – the pastry should be about 3 mm thick. Carefully roll the pastry on to the rolling pin to make it easier to transport without breaking, and lift the pastry over the flan tin or pie dish. (If making tartlets, cut 5cm rounds of pastry and press carefully in to mini muffin pans). Carefully unroll the pastry across the pie dish and gently press in to the edges. Trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife. Prick the base and sides of the pastry extremely well, then bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Gin Botanicals Citrus Curd
125g butter, cubed
1/2 cup sugar
125mL lemon and lime juice (about 2 lemons and one lime)
Zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 tsp coriander seeds
5 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
3 slivers of orange zest
1 tsp black peppercorns
6 large egg yolks
Combine the butter, sugar, citrus juice, lemon zest and salt in a medium saucepan. Crush the juniper, coriander and cardamom lightly. Add to the saucepan along with the cinnamon and orange zest. Heat the mixture, stirring, until the butter melts, and the sugar is dissolved. Bring almost to the boil. Remove the mixture from the heat, and allow the botanicals to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Whisking the egg yolks in a medium bowl to combine. Heat the butter mixture until nearly boiling, then pour in a thin stream over the yolks, whisking all the time until the butter mixture is all incorporated. Transfer the combined mixture back to the saucepan, keeping the botanicals in the mixture. Heat gently, stirring all the time until the mixture thickens, making sure that the mixture does not boil. Continue cooking until the mixture is thick – when stirred, the spatula will form a deep track in the mixture revealing the bottom of the saucepan.
Let cool slightly, then pour into the cooked tart case. Chill. Make the Gin & Tonic jelly.
Gin & Tonic Jelly
1 1/2 sheets titanium strength gelatine (9g)
125 mL tonic water, chilled
25 mL gin
1 tbsp sugar
Soak the gelatine sheets in very cold water for 10 minutes. Heat the gin and 30 mL of the tonic water with sugar until hot (no more than 60 degrees Celsius. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Squeeze the water from the gelatine, add to the hot tonic mixture, stir to dissolve the gelatine. Add the gelatine mixture to the remaining tonic and stir well to combine. Chill until the mixture begins to gel (between 30 minutes and an hour: the mixture will appear slightly lumpy when you stir it). Whisk the half gelled mixture until air bubbles are incorporated as if the mixture is “fizzy”. Pour over the surface of the cold citrus curd and level the surface. Chill until set. Decorate the tart with candied citrus if desired.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Thin slices (1-2mm) or zest cut into strips of one lemon or two limes (or a mixture as desired)
To make the zest, peel the lemon or limes with a vegetable peeler, then cut into fine strips with a knife. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, boil one minute. Add the zest and continue to boil until the zest becomes slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool, then drain. Keep the syrup in a jar in the refrigerator for making cocktails, drizzling over fruit, etc.