4.11.2012

Strawberry tart




Last week was a one of those weeks full of huge meals followed by strong regret and inevitable weight gain. That, my friends, makes it an awesome week. The week after, however, is the week that isn't so great, as you want to go back to your normal calorie consumption rate and you can't. Also, having a huge bucket of Easter candy sitting on your work desk doesn't help.

The reason for that Christmas-like week was a birthday dinner on Thursday, and Easter Sunday lunch, both at Scott's parents house. These huge two delicious meals, with appetizers, several entrees and two desserts each (with an Easter-egg hunt included in one of them) are a good example of how Lisa and Gary like to do holiday meals. But if this description wasn't enough for you, you can see it with your own eyes.







I know, they look amazing, right?  I can tell you they tasted amazing too. One day I will make cakes like those, but for the time being I am going to show you a much simpler cake I made yesterday.

In this craving for even more food that last week left me with, I decided to make a dessert myself. My only requirement was that it had to have fruit on it. After finding and bookmarking several blueberry pies, raspberry cobblers and apple tarts (that I will have to make in the future) I decided to make this strawberry tart because we are on strawberry season and they cost half as much as blueberries or raspberries.

What I liked the most about making this cake was to make the pastry cream (which is pretty much all for this cake). I had never made pastry cream before and I was very surprised about how fast it goes from being liquid to being thick. It was also the first time I used vanilla beans and I love how the flavor is so much better than that of vanilla extract.


Strawberry tart
(Adapted from smitten kitchen)

For the pastry cream:
1 1/4 cups / 300g whole milk
1/2  vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup / 100g sugar
3 tbsp/ 30g cornstarch
3 tbsp butter, at room temperature

For the crust:
A 9.5 inch circle of pie crust

For the strawberries:
About 20 strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
The juice of a lemon

Pastry cream (make 4 hours ahead):
In a small saucepan heat the milk with the vanilla pod and pulp. Bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and let it stand for 10 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod.
In a medium saucepan whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Slowly add the milk while whisking, until  well incorporated. Put the pan over medium heat and whisk constantly until it boils. you will see how the cream suddenly thickens. Keep stirring for another 30 seconds and remove from heat.
Scrape the cream into a bowl and let it cool for 3 minutes. Cut the butter into little pieces and stir them into the cream until blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap pressing it onto the surface of the cream to make an airtight seal.
Refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove from heat 30 minutes before final arrangement.

Pie Crust (make 1 hour ahead)
Make our buy a pie crust. I keep failing at trying to make a nice pie crust. I know it's easier if you have a food processor. I don't have one so I used a store bought pie crust that i had in the freezer. If you are going to make it, let one more hour for cooling the dough in the refrigerator.
Unroll the dough circle over a tart pan. Bake it following the instructions on the package or the recipe. Let it cool completely at room temperature.

Strawberries (make 20 minutes ahead):
Remove the leaves and any non-red parts from the strawberries, rinse them and cut them in halves. Place them in a bowl.
In a pan stir the lemon juice and the sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Pour the syrup over the strawberries and toss to coat.

Final arrangement:
Remove the cream from the fridge and let it stand for 20 minutes. Spread the cream over the crust. Arrange the strawberries on top forming concentric circles.

Eat (make 0 minutes ahead): 
Cut, eat, smile.

3 comments:

  1. maria! tus fotos son magnificos!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. much better with fresas, not available everywhere,than with estrauberries (fresón), unless the "freson" is from Conil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't write anonymous, I know who you are. I have known you for 26 years papa.

      Delete