When I was shopping last Friday I picked up some beautiful English strawberries - the first English strawberries I have bought this year, the difference in flavour and juiciness is marked. I also picked up the latest Country Living magazine - I try very hard to wean myself off of magazines, but some weeks it's just impossible. I'm so pleased I bought both of these items on Friday because inside the magazine was a glorious recipe for Strawberry Tart.
I planned to make this on Sunday for dessert - and did eventually - but plans always go awry and the big tidy up I was doing in my bedroom took rather longer than I had anticipated. At about four o'clock I realised that I needed to do something about dinner and ended up throwing my chicken fillets, onions and mushrooms with a couple of bay leaves, salt, pepper, dried oregano and some chicken stock into a big pot and leaving it in the oven for about one and a half hours - perfect. Whilst waiting for my potatoes to boil, I realised that I still hadn't made the tart. I had sent out for some ready made pastry earlier in the day (as you do - the husband needed a job to keep him away from the Sunday papers and the television), I just knew I would never have the time to make pastry as well as sort out my bedroom, so all I really had to do was make the filling. A breeze. I melted the chocolate and mascarpone in a double boiler whilst the potatoes simmered and brocoli steamed, then left it to cool. Later I whisked some cream and mixed the two, in the meantime I put some pastry in a tin and cooked it - not very well I might add, as can be seen from the picture, the pastry was not cold enough and so shrunk away from the edge of the tin, was cooked for too long and so is rather crunchy but that aside the dessert was a success - apart from the fact that it needed to be left in the fridge to chill - overnight!! Yes, I hadn't read the recipe through to the end. We had slices for afternoon tea after school on Monday - I think it was better appreciated then than it would have been on Sunday night.
Anyway, here's the recipe for the tart - both pastry and filling:-
For the pastry:
225g plain flour
100g cold, unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
For the filling:
200g white chocolate, broken into pieces
150ml double cream
400g small fresh strawberries and icing sugar for decoration
Make the pastry in the usual way and wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. After rolling it out press into the base and sides of a deep 20cm tart tin, prick the base with a fork, chill well until ready to bake. Heat the oven to 190c (170c for fan oven) gas mark 5. Cover the base and sides with baking parchment and baking beans and bake for 12 - 15 minutes, remove the beans and continue baking for another 5 - 10 minutes - leave to cool either in the tin or on a wire rack. Of course you could also use ready made pastry and cook according to the packet instructions.
Place the mascarpone and chocolate in a double boiler but do not stir until it has all melted (mixture will go lumpy if stirred before being completely melted) - stir gently and leave to cool to room temperature.
The cream then needs to be lightly whipped - I did this by hand but wish I had used an electric mixer as it seemed to take forever - then gently fold the two mixtures together - I then filled the pastry case with the mixture, smoothed over the surface and finally did as I was instructed and left it in the fridge to firm up overnight. The next day I decorated it with the strawberries but didn't bother dusting with icing sugar - although the recipe said to do so.
Afternoon tea was rather delicious - I've just had another little slice whilst writing this to give me encouragement, if any was needed - it still tastes just as good!