As I ruminated on the idea of a late-winter tart, my mind turned to seasonal fruits, and I thought of the trees in my neighborhood, still laden with lemons and oranges. Incorporating citrus into my new tart seemed a given-- but how to take it in a new direction? Then I thought of my favorite wintertime cocktail, the Hot Toddy, and the idea for my new tart took shape. I researched the history of the drink, learned of its probable origins in Scotland, and all at once, I had my tart crust--shortbread cookie. I prefer brandy in a Hot Toddy, and so the brandied sugar topping for the shortbread crust was born. I wanted the bright flavors of fresh lemon, similar to the last- minute squeeze of the fruit into the cocktail, and so I decided to work the lemon into a whipped cream, to be used to top the tart. And finally, I knew I would need to highlight tea. This posed some problems. In earlier iterations of this tart, as I tested different ideas, the tea always came through too faintly. Finally, taking a page from Burma, and one of my favorite dishes from that cuisine-- tea leaf salad-- I decided to soak the tea leaves in lemon juice and then incorporate them into the shortbread, in addition to working prepared tea into the whipped cream.
You will find the resulting tart below-- inspired by the iconic wintertime, fireside Hot Toddy cocktail, this tart showcases a crunchy brandied sugar topping, layered over a tea-leaf shortbread cookie crust, and topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, infused with all the flavors of the cocktail. —indieculinary
Test Kitchen Notes
Srirachayeah makes a grand entrance to food52 with a playful first recipe that tastes just like a hot toddy. This shortbread tart hits all the right notes of the drink that inspired it; buttery caramel with hints of oak and fruit from the brandy, a heady, sweet tea shortbread void of bitterness, and luscious, lemony whipped cream. Note: The extra tablespoon of sugar goes in the whipped cream, along with the lemon juice, brandy and tea--just like the drink itself, the sugar will take the edge off. —CookLikeMad