A Final Taste of Summer: Rose-scented Strawberry Tarts

Strawberry tart

We came back from holiday to a late burst of summer sun which meant that the return to “normal life” wasn’t as bad as it could have been. However the boots and jumpers are now out of the wardrobe, the final flush of roses are starting to die off and rain is currently hammering against the kitchen window. It’s only a matter of time before we clear out the veg and fruit beds in preparation for winter. So it’s time for a tasty fruit tart to try and recapture those summer memories.

Strawberry tarts - cases I came up with this tart to use some of my rose petal jelly . The pastry base is a Pate Sucree recipe from the Leith’s Baking Bible (if you’re into Baking it’s worth getting a copy as pretty much every baking technique or recipe you could want is in here). I didn’t follow the method precisely and ended up just bringing all the ingredients together on my worktop as you would for pasta. The important thing here is to chill once the mix is brought together and then chill again once you’ve put it into the pastry cases. I didn’t trim until after this second chilling when I then cut it along the rim of the cases before blind baking. As you can see there was no shrinkage (hurrah!).

Strawberry tarts - creme patI left these to cool whilst I did the creme patisseire. Again this was a Leith’s recipe with the addition of a couple of drops of rose water, rather than vanilla extract, once the custard had been made. It’s important to taste at this stage – you can always add a bit more flavour if you think it needs it. Again chill and when you’re ready to use give it a quick beat before carefully folding in the whipped cream and putting into the pastry cases.

Strawberry tart - preglaze

I then arranged half strawberries on top of the creme pat before making the glaze. This was a couple of heaped tablespoons of rose petal jelly which I heated in a pan with a splash of lemon juice. Once it was thin I used it to glaze the tarts using a silicon brush. The tarts were then chilled until ready to serve.

The rose petal jelly and rose water just gives the tarts a hint of that summery rose fragrance which works really well with the strawberries. A definite splash of summer for a rainy day.

Strawberry tarts - final

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Baking in Hot Weather

Summer fruit pavlova

At last the British summer has arrived! Hurrah! And for once it’s not going to be a “blink and you missed it” affair. We’ve got a whole week of decent temperatures and blue skies ahead of us (readers in Yorkshire ought to be aware that I’m off work next week so get your barbecues out of the way before then…)

Messing around in the kitchen when I could be out in the garden is not hugely appealing, even for a baking addict like me. However we need bread for our barbecue tonight as well as a pudding to use up some our newly ripe blackcurrants so I’m up early to get it done before it gets too warm. Both these recipes were really easy to do.

First it’s another of my stuffed breads so I’m sure you know the basics by now (if not try here and here.)

Pear and gorgonzola filling

I’ve gone back to Bertinet’s olive dough and this time I’ve gone for a pear and gorgonzola filling. Chop about 3 small pears into quite small pieces (be sure to cut them in thin pieces as you want to be able to roll the bread). Take some Gorgonzola picante and roughly chop into similar size chunks and finely chop some walnuts. Roll the dough into a rectangle after its first rise (you want it about the size of a Swiss roll tin). Then scatter liberally with the filling.

Pear and gorgonzola - bakedRoll like a Swiss roll and pop onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. I managed to get a bread that was too long for my tray so its more of a strudel shape (or as it looks in this photo, a travel pillow!). Leave to prove. Coat with olive oil and bake at around 210C until golden (about 30mins).

Apologies for the final shot. We were mid barbecue (and mid wine!) before I realised I hadn’t taken a photo of a slice so had to rescue these 2 from our guests who had happily polished off the rest.

Pear and Gorgonzola - slices

This pavlova recipe is based on this pistachio pavlova on the BBC Good Food site but I’d run out of caster sugar so the base was 175g caster sugar with 50g icing sugar to 4 medium egg whites. Once the sugar and eggs were combined I folded 55g of finely chopped pistachios through it before baking. I topped the meringue with extra thick double cream and a mixture of strawberries and home grown blackcurrants. A wonderful taste of summer!

summer flowers