While I couldn't exactly do that (though my lucky Sis did! - more on that in a while), at least I got to replicate a little something from Paris in my own little kitchen...
Fresh strawberries; Pureed strawberries; Strawberry tart shells; Filling the tart shells
It's strawberry season and I spotted a ton of red red RED Korean strawberries in the mart. The smell was totally intoxicating and I grabbed four punnets straight. I gobbled most of it by myself within one week, before I actually sat down to think about making a strawberry dessert. It immediately sprung to mind. What better to make during strawberry season than a dessert that is essentially strawberry-fied? The total essence of strawberries in all of its components. Yeps, I knew that it was the one.
I had to make another trip to the mart again, but alas, the super red strawberries had been snapped up in a jiffy, a week later, the avail ones on display were sorely lacking in redness. :( Well, I still had two boxes at home, and I picked the four reddest punnets I could find from the mediocre selections.
The recipe was quite easy, just follow the steps and you shouldn't face any problems (at least I didn't!). I stuck to the tart shell proportions, and halved the rest, cos I didn't want to make too many as I also wanted to keep some to enjoy the sweet strawberries on their own.
How was the tart you might ask? I liked it! Or rather, the thought of it. Cos it's really strawberry in three ways. The tart shell was crispy (but didn't have a noticeable strawberry taste) and I used quite a fair bit of red powder colouring, more than recommended, and yet the colour wasn't as bright red as I would have thought. I didn't really like the strawberry almond cream, even when I halved it, it yielded too much cos I only spread a thin layer of it in the tart shell - so my suggestion is to further half the proportion I listed below.
The custard was unique! It's my first time using a fruit puree to make a pastry cream and I must say it was a really interesting idea. It wasn't overtly sweet, hmmm, perhaps just a tad too egg-y/cornstarch-y if you get what I mean? So maybe I overcooked it a little, or the cornstarch amount can also be reduced, I don't know. But overall, the pastry cream was still nice, just that my personal preference is that it could be less egg-y tasting.
And oh the strawberries. Must I even say it? I originally started layering thin strawberry slices atop the small tarts, when I realised that it didn't look very aesthetic (could be my skills at fault) and that the meagre slices didn't offer a really good bite of strawberries. So after only one experiment tart, I topped the remaining tarts with full sized strawberries. Much better.
Once again, I like how the dessert wasn't too sweet. And Daddy dearest probably appreciated that fact too. He was so cute to comment after tasting, that I can probably consider doing a mango version! Haha, Daddy, the potential dessert creator? ^^
Oh yeah, and where was I regarding the news about the Sis in Paris? Sigh. Uber jealous that she's currently IN Paris at the moment. She'll be having an awesome 10 day trip with the boyfriend. Imagine that! I would kill to be there soaking in the atmosphere, making sure my camera batt dies every day from the sheer amount of pictures I would have taken, grown fat nomming on delectable Paris treats daily...:'(
Well, at least I know I'll be getting goodies when she's back! Can't wait for the bags, wallet and the Paris macarons (and also, especially Pierre Herme's Vanilla tart if it can last that long) that I've requested! *crosses fingers*
Hugo and Victor's Victor Fraise Tart (adapted from here)
(makes six 3.5" tarts)
Strawberry tart shell
150g unsalted butter
40g almond meal
1 large egg
20g strawberry juice
250g all purpose flour
big pinch of fine sea salt
red powder colouring
Strawberry almond cream
40g unsalted butter
60g almond meal
20g strawberry juice
½ tbsp lemon juice
pinch of lemon zest
250g strawberry puree
1 egg yolks
45g caster sugar
Strawberries (to garnish)
Prepare the dough the night before or several days in advance. Combine all ingredients in order until dough is smooth and homogeneous (and a little soft). Divide into two equal portions and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, roll the pastry to 3mm thick, and cut out rounds to fit six tart molds. Let stand for at least ½ hours in the refrigerator (Wrap remaining dough with cling wrap and freeze for future use). Prebake for 20 minutes at 160°C.
Prepare the strawberry almond cream. Combine butter, cream, sugar, and almond meal at room temperature. Stir in strawberry juice, lemon zest and cream until smooth. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to touch. Let stand for 1 hour in refrigerator.
Spread a thin layer of the strawberry almond cream over the bottom of the prepared crust and bake at 190°C for 10-15 minutes. Cool.
Prepare the strawberry custard. Mix egg yolk with sugar and cornstarch. Place strawberry puree in a saucepan and bring to a boil, temper the egg mixture with the heated strawberry puree, whisking constantly. Transfer back into saucepan. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to bowl, cool and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for at least an hour.
Shortly before serving, pour the strawberry custard over the pastry and decorate with strawberries.