Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Fresh Strawberry Tart

Fresh Strawberry Tart
Strawberry - my favourite berry. It's summertime again and the produce section in shops are filled with all kinds of berries which my family would certainly take advantage of. My son likes raspberries, my daughter like cherries and strawberries (like me) and the husband likes everything! Good thing they like most fruits to compensate for not particularly wanting to eat much veggies.

I found this irresistible tart on the cover of last month's BBC Good Food magazine and I thought I just had to make it. Good thing we were invited by good friends of ours for a barbecue so I have a good excuse. I tweaked this recipe of Phil Vickery a little bit to cater to my taste - increasing the sugar in the filling and decreasing the jam (you don't really need that much). My youngest helped me a lot in making this. Actually, she's bragging to our hosts that she made it. ;) And rightfully so. She helped cut in the butter, she rolled the dough and pressed it in the pan, she hulled the strawberries, mixed the fillings, glazed the pastry as well as the strawberries, and sprinkled over the nuts. I say - well done my little one!

Fresh Strawberry Tart

100 g  unsalted butter - chilled and cubed
200 g  plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar (superfine)
1 egg - beaten

250 g  cream cheese
3 Tbsp caster sugar (superfine)
grated zest from 1 small orange
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from the small orange)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (optional)

500 g  strawberries - hulled and halved
3 Tbsp strawberry jam
1 1/2 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp chopped, shelled pistacios

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F.

  • For the pastry crust:
    1. Put flour and sugar in a bowl, mix well.
    2. Add the cubed butter and cut it in the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives until of coarse breadcrumbs consistency.
    3. Add only 3/4 of the beaten egg (reserve the rest for glazing). Toss the mixture, adding a little water if needed, until the dough just about comes together into a ball.
    4. Wrap plastic or cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
    5. Roll out the dough evenly on a floured surface to about 1.5 inches/4 cm larger than a 9-inch/23cm tart pan (preferably with removable bottom).
    6. Put the rolled dough on the tart pan and press it in. Trim excess pastry from the edge.
    7. Prick base well with a fork and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    8. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper or foil then fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes.
    9. Decrease oven temperature to 160°C/fan 140°C/325°F. Remove the foil with the baking beans and cook for a further 10 minutes.
    10. Take out the oven and brush with the reserved beaten egg (to prevent the crust from getting soggy with the filling). Put back in the oven for about 2-3 minutes.
    11. Remove from oven and cool completely.

  • For the filling and assembly:
    1. Beat the cream cheese with the sugar, juice, and orange zest. Mix in the chopped mint.
    2. Spread the mixture on the pastry case and arrange the strawberries prettily on top.
    3. Gently heat the strawberry jam and the water while stirring all the time. Sieve the jam (optional) and then brush over the strawberries to give it an attractive gloss.
    4. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top. Remove from tart pan and serve.

Fresh Strawberry Tart

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