Lemon Verbena Tart with Cape Gooseberry Compote

Mary Dumont picks the lemon verbena for this fabulous, puckery tart from her kitchen garden, just outside her restaurant's back door. The cape gooseberries grow in the yard all summer long. More Pie and Tart Recipes

Lemon Verbena Tart with Cape Gooseberry Compote
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Makes one 10 1/2-inch tart



  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts, finely ground

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 4 extra-large egg yolks

  • 3 extra-large eggs

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup dried lemon verbena leaves or 6 fresh lemon verbena leaves

  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

  • Salt

Compote and Garnish

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice

  • 1/4 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier

  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

  • 3 pints cape gooseberries

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh lemon verbena, for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, stir the cake flour with the cinnamon and ground hazelnuts. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, then beat in the vanilla and lemon and orange zests. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches until almost incorporated. With a rubber spatula, stir the pastry until thoroughly combined. Divide the pastry in half, pat into 2 disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate one disk for 1 hour, until firm. Freeze the other disk for another use.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Roll out the chilled pastry between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap to a 12-inch round. Chill until firm. Unwrap the pastry and press it into the bottom and up the side of a 10 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, until firm. Line the pastry with foil and fill the pan with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the pastry for about 45 minutes, until browned around the edges. Remove the foil and weights and bake the tart shell for about 25 minutes longer, until crisp on the bottom. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

  3. In a large, heavy saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs with the sugar, lemon juice and lemon verbena leaves. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until hot and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until blended. Add a pinch of salt. Strain the curd through a sieve set over a bowl. Pour the curd into the tart shell and smooth the surface. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

  4. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, orange juice, Cointreau and vanilla seeds and bring to a boil. Add the gooseberries and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring gently, until the berries are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper and let cool to room temperature.

  5. Cut the tart into wedges. Spoon the cape gooseberry compote around the tart. Serve with whipped cream and lemon verbena.

Make Ahead

The tart and compote can be refrigerated overnight.

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