Yet another pastry week on bake off went by and excitement buzzed as everyone knew a soggy bottom was coming – but who would it be! I love pastry week – pies, tarts and puff pastry are amazing fun to make but I often find it is surprising just how popular they are. I guess we are constantly surrounded by homemade cupcakes – these seem to be the standard go to item when it comes to home baking but we often overlook the wonders of home made pastry.
It is probably because it seems overly complex or that it is easier to cheat and grab pre-made pastry making it feel less of a victory in the kitchen. I’m not ashamed to say that until I really started making my own pastry that I was the same – though I’ve still not bee confident enough to dive into attempting filo or puff just yet. Making Lemon Pie really opened up my understanding though of just how much fun and easy it was to make and experiment with.
A sweet shortcrust pastry is actually really easy but often involves chilling it – another reason many people are put off by making their own as it extends the baking time and many recipes involve twiddling of thumbs while you wait for this.
For my recipe with Silver Mushroom, I thought that I would share my recent pastry find with this very cute yet easy Strawberry tart recipe.
For this recipe you will need the following:
- 3 tbsp ground almonds
- 100g plain flour (plus a little extra)
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- 50g butter
- 90ml creme fraiche
- 2tbsp lemon curd
- Fresh strawberries
- Icing sugar (optional)
Start by mixing the ground almonds, flour and caster sugar. Once mixed add in the butter and with your hands rub together the mixture until it all becomes like fine breadcrumbs. It is as this point that you will need to add in 1-3 tbsp until the mixture becomes a nice dough that you can roll into a ball. Wrap the ball in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. At this point heat the oven to 190 degree (or gas mark 5).
Now you have 30 minutes while you wait – I generally do some washing up or put on some songs to sing a long but you don’t need to belt out a ballad to kill this time.
If you have silicon bun tins or tartlet tins you can skip greasing them; metal ones however will need to be greased up so that you can remove them once cooked. Once the the pastry is chilled roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface; I generally love my silicon mat for dealing with dough as it just makes it so much easier and often means that I don’t need to use dusting flour as much. With this recipe you should get about 12 tartlets so roll the pastry thin and then cut out with a cookie cutter or glass to fit in the tartlet tins . Make the most of this pastry and squish together the leftovers and then roll out again until you manage to use it all up.
Make sure that you press the pastry into your moulds – I use heart shapes so often have to make sure that it is been pressed into the deep corner but it is worth doing this with even simple circular moulds so that it will make uniform shapes. Now take a fork and prick the base of each tart before putting it in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
Now as the filling takes very little time to make I suggest putting on a couple of songs while you wait – you could also watch a couple episodes of Zero Punctuation or read.
Once the cases are crisp and golden, take them out of the oven and place on a wire rack. I find that they cool really quickly so mix together creme fraiche and lemon curd carefully and slice the strawberries up. By the time you have managed all this you will find that the cases are normally almost completely cooled (though this may be cause I’m eating the leftover lemon curd or chopping down strawberries).
Spoon in equal amounts of filling into each tartlets and then top with strawberries. To finish gently dust them with a little bit of icing sugar and then nom down as many as you want before offering them to others… I mean these can be served immediately.
While this recipe is utterly wonderful, I have recently tried making them with Greens Strawberry Jelly and found them highly popular. The jelly is just 90p for two sachets and involves adding 200ml water and 25 g sugar then boiling the mixture for a minute and letting it cool only for two minutes before pouring into each case. This variation of the recipe does look spectacular and is just as easy. Despite involving a lot more work, it feels to me like a cop out compared to the lemony filling – it does involve more skill though as if you boil it too long it is then un-usable and if you leave it to cool too long it solidifies.
Even though I have only found this recipe in the last few months, the exciting level of experimenting with fillings, fruit and even adding 1/2 tsp of cinnamon has provided lots of yummy tarts. I would suggest the same – try both the lemon and jelly filling, or with different fruit or even play with the pastry.
So will you try out this yummy but flexible recipe? Do you prefer the lemony filling or would you prefer the jelly variation? Will you try this with strawberries or other fruit like pineapple, blackberries or even kiwi? Do you have a tart recipe that you love? Leave a comment below as it would be great to hear from you!