Never a drink to go out of style, gin and tonics is the refreshing antidote to a hot summer’s afternoon and life in general.
There’s just something about the combination of chilled tonic water, the floral botanicals of quality gin and a slice of zesty citrus, served over a generous handful of ice, which immediately cleanses the senses and soothes the soul.
These days there are almost too many varieties of gin to count, each offering botanical notes and flavour nuances as distinctive as every gin drinker.
Indeed among spirits connoisseurs, gin drinkers seem particularly passionate and opinionated when it comes to standing by their preferred brand.
The natural pairing of gin and tonic with citrus leads me to share this ravishing tart.
It’s a rich and decadent dessert perfect for a special occasion, taking the classic lemon tart and elevating it to a rather wicked adult’s only version.
Try this for your next dinner party and I guarantee you’ll be the most popular bartender around.
gin & tonic tart
from the november 2011 issue of delicious. magazine
¾ cup caster sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
¾ cup strained lemon juice
150ml thickened cream
¼ cup gin
1 ⅓ cups plain flour, sifted, plus extra to dust
¼ cup icing sugar, sifted
75g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 egg yolk
¼ cup chilled tonic water
gin & tonic syrup
⅔ cup caster sugar
1 cup tonic water
very thinly pared zest and juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup gin
5 juniper berries, lightly bruised
For the pastry, place the flour, icing sugar, butter and lemon zest in a food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Add the yolk and tonic water and process until the mixture comes together in a smooth ball of dough. Flatten slightly, enclose in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
Alternatively, if you’re like me and don’t have a food processor, place the flour, icing sugar, butter and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and use your fingertips to rub the chopped butter into the dry ingredients. Continue until you have a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of butter remaining.
Whisk the egg yolk and add to the crumb mixture along with the tonic water. Knead all ingredients together until completely combined into a smooth ball of dough. Flatten slightly, enclose in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F) and grease a 23 centimetre (9 inch) loose-bottomed tart pan.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until 5 millimetres (0.2 inch) thick. Carefully line the tart pan with the pastry and chill for a further 15 minutes.
Prick the base with a fork, line with baking paper and fill with baking weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden, then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Whisk the eggs, caster sugar, lemon zest and juice, cream and gin together until combined. Pour the filing into the cooled tart shell and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until just set.
Meanwhile, for the syrup, place the sugar, tonic water and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the gin, juniper berries and pared lemon zest. Simmer for 15 minutes until reduced, then leave to cool completely.
Remove the juniper berries from the syrup before drizzling over the tart. Allow the syrup to set slightly and serve the tart as is or lightly dust with icing sugar.