I made Apple Lavender Tarts again last night. I just couldn’t believe that the lavender flavour disappeared entirely. Before cooking, the lavender leaves are very perfumy and almost too strong in aroma and flavour. Like rosemary, the flavour borders on bitterness (no surprise there because lavender and rosemary are related). It was this very characteristic that made me think that apple and lavender wouldn’t marry well. I did not expect that the lavender would be completely upstaged by the apple!
But of course, Martin is right:
[T]his only means that the experiment was inconclusive, not that is was a failure.
But this time, I left the lavender leaves whole and just sprinkled them on top of the apples before closing the pastry. And because the goat cheese flavour too was lost, I used a Danish blue cheese.
Once again, there was not really much evidence of the lavender’s presence in the aroma of the just baked tarts. And blue cheese was a mistake. It only lent a sour smell to the tart as well as a bitter sour flavour in any sections where the cheese was.
But whenever there was a whole lavender leaf in the forkful of pie!! Very very interesting!! And very very surprising. The lavender flavour was definitely there. It wasn’t predominant or overpowering or perfumy. It merely added a lovely sweetness to the apple flavour.
Conclusion: Colour me surprised! Apple & lavender really do go well together!
Next time, I will omit the cheese entirely. But cider vinegar and whole lavender leaves in apple tarts are definitely keepers.
edit 6 October 2007: Inge has posted the roundup. Do take a look: