Since these past couple of weeks have been taunting and teasing us with wonderful spring/summer weather, only to literally rain on our happiness, I’ve decided that enough is enough. Let’s try to beckon and plead for summer to come – there is no need for pride anymore, because it’s May and there should be May weather! School’s out for me (only to have summer school start again in two days) and I’m itching to go buy summer dresses, a new bathing suit and start planning picnics by the lake.
Nothing spells summer to me more than the smell and taste of fresh strawberries while drinking a nice cold glass of lemonade. This strawberry coulis lemon curd tart is the perfect combination of sweet strawberries and tart lemons, all enveloped by a nice buttery tart shell. This dessert is really easy to put together, but it does require some assembly time because you need to wait for the coulis, the curd and the chocolate to cool down. I adapted a couple of recipes, but my most prominent influence was Donna Hay’s shortcrust recipe for the tart shells, and SophistiMom’s lemon curd recipe (which she adapted from Ina Garten). The coulis sauce (and the chocolate additions, of course) I winged myself, because I didn’t want it to be overwhelmingly sweet.
In the end, even if summer doesn’t come just yet, I think I’m going to sit in front of my window, with a pot of flowers, a glass of lemonade and one of these tarts – in my bathing suit.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2) – makes about 12 mini tarts or one 9inch tart
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp superfine caster sugar
- 5 oz cold butter, chopped
- 2 -3 tbsp iced water
- Whizz together the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until mixture looks like fine bread crumbs.
- While motor is running, add enough iced water to form a smooth dough, and process until just combined.
- Knead dough lightly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Cut out circles to fit the tart tin(s) and press down, making sure to make them look pretty =)
- Place parchment paper over the crust, and fill with baking weights/uncooked rice/dried beans and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the weights, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until pastry is golden.
- 1 cup strawberries, cut up in small pieces ( make sure to reserve some slices for decorations!)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp cornstarch for thickening
- Melt butter and sugar in a pot until syrupy, but not browned.
- Add in strawberries and continue simmering for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Using an immersion blender, give the berries a good whirl until smooth.
- Dissolve cornstarch in some cold water, and mix it in with the strawberry sauce. Return to heat and cook until it starts to thicken.
- Pour into bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready for assembly.
Lemon Curd (adapted from Sophistimom)
- zest of 3 lemons
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
- pinch of salt
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together zest, butter, and sugar.
- Incorporate eggs one at a time and mix until smooth.
- Add in lemon juice and salt. Mixture will be curdled.
- Pour mixture into a large saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Lemon curd will come together and thicken.
- When it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from heat. Strain into a glass bowl and allow to cool. Refrigerate or freeze until you need it.
- If you want to add chocolate, melt chocolate and just drizzle it in an abstract pattern on parchment paper or your silpad. Let cool, remove carefully and set aside.
- Spoon a teaspoon-full of strawberry coulis into bottom of each tart shell. Top with a tablespoon of lemon curd.
- Top each tart with a slice of the reserved strawberries and your chocolate decorations. Let refrigerate for another hour so that curd will set.