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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer's last harvest

Strawberry time is almost over in Germany and all the little strawberry-shaped stalls in Berlin's streets will soon disappear. I haven't had time to enjoy the summer's harvest so far except the occasional bowl of cherries. Exams, presentations and life kept me busy. Today after I had finished my last exam I went to the Farmers Market and bought all the ingredients (and more) for strawberry tarts. The idea came from my friend Josi who asked me to give her a recipe for strawberry tarts. Josi, here is your recipe!

First I should say that until today pastry seemed to violently hate me. Everytime I dared to attempt making it it turned out less than desirable let alone perfect. Last week my friend and fellow Foodie Maria recommended The great unshrinkable sweet tart shell  by Smitten Kitchen to me. I tried it and it worked perfectly and broke the pastry curse I must have had on me.

Sweet tart shell recipe (adapted from Smitten Kitchen )
200g flour
60g icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
125g super cold butter (mine was in the freezer for 40min)
1 large egg


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon super cold unsalted butter
1 large egg

Creme Patissierre

1 vanilla bean
1 cup/250ml milk
 2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup/60g sugar

- put flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and just quickly fork through to break up any lumps
- cut the butter into small cubes and add them to the flour
- using a knife, a pastry blender or a food processor cut through the butter until you have oatmeal-like flakes
- add the egg and cut through the flour and butter until it starts forming big clumps
- knead the dough lightly in the bowl until all the dry ingredients are incorporated (be cautious not to do it too long as you don't want the butter to get too warm)
- now either press the dough into the tart shell and put it in the freezer for 30-40mins or wrap the dough in cling foil and put it in the refridgerator for 2hrs or longer ( I mixed this up: I first refridgerated it for an hour and then rolled it out and put it in the mini tart shells then they went into the freezer for 30mins which worked really well for me)
- preheat the oven to 190 degrees C or 375 degrees F
- before baking butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and put it shiny side down onto the tart shell (butter prevents it sticking)
- you won't need any baking beans as the dough was frozen (in case you didn't freeze it you will need them)
- bake for 20-25min
- take out and take off the foil
- it will need another 10min to fully bake, filled or not
- let it cool off before taking it out of the shell

creme patissierre

- first cut the vanilla bean open and put the seeds and pod into a pot with the milk
- heat gently until bubbling and leave it to bubble approximately 5 minutes while stirring
- take off heat and leave for 10min for the vanilla to infuse the milk
- put egg yolks, flour and sugar into a bowl and mix together
- add milk mixture and stir until well combined
- pour back into the pot and heat up again while stirring

- it will only take seconds to firm up (as soon as it reaches the consistency you want take it off the heat)
- pour into the prepared shells and put the fruit of your choice on top


Tess Malone said...

Congrats on finishing your exams and please keep baking to celebrate because these look delicious.I'll definitely keep this in mind because I think strawberries are still in season in the States. Smitten Kitchen tends to cure all baking woes, so I'm glad you've finally mastered pastry.

The Midwest is nice and relaxing- lots of baking, reading (although nothing too heavy, I can't seem to finish any fiction for the life of me. My English lit degree has ruined me haha. Consequently, I'm reading a lot of essay collections/memoirs. Guess I'm preparing myself for journalism school.), and catching up with high school friends for coffee.

Maria B said...

Huzzah for breaking the curse. The recipe is awesome, right? Looks heavenly. Good job

Caroline said...

The recipe is awesome and I'm now very tempted to get that patry blender as well!

dassana said...

love the grey background with the red cherries... looks good