Happy Bastille Day Baking July 18 2012, 0 Comments

 

Last Saturday the 14th of July was Bastille Day and in honour of France's National Day I  baked a good ol' fresh French Strawberry Tart to celebrate!

I too have been swept into French hysteria and love everything that country produces! I mean, hello  - Chanel suits, bubbly Champagne, Lavender Macaroons, Apricot Pastries, and Goat's Cheese!

Now we can't all just pop to the local picturesque market, ideally situated in some little town square to pick up some fresh 'fraise'......

But we shall make do! Enjoy this simple French Flan Recipe in a park, on a lovely sunny winter day, champagne in hand, wearing a chic frock and you will feel positively French!

Strawberry Tart (Compliments of Martha Stewart.)

For the Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups flour, plus a pinch more for handling the dough.
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, chop aggressively into small pieces (the aggressive bit was definitely a joke. Knives are dangerous kids!).
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/3 cup sugar.

 For the Yummy top stuff

  • 1 bar (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese (we're not implying anything - swear it), softened.
  • 1/4 cup sugar (however darling, you're sweet enough).
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved.
  • 1/4 cup seedless red currant jelly (any jelly really).

Hulled, you say?! To hull strawberries, insert the tip of a knife below the strawberry's stem. Gently cut around to remove only the base of the stem and the white core.

What the heck do I do now?

  1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor (or the 'blendy thingamabob' as I call it), blend flour, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt until moist crumbs form (this may take up to 1 minute). Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. With floured fingers, press dough evenly into pan and up sides. Dip a measuring cup in flour, and use it to press dough firmly into bottom and against sides of pan to make it nice and flat. Freeze crust until firm, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Using a fork, prick crust all over. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, pressing down gently once or twice with a spoon during baking if crust puffs up. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Yes, it smells amazing. But resist the urge to break off big bits of crust and eat it right away.... There's more to come!
  5. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth; spread mixture evenly in bottom of baked crust (still in tart pan).
  6. Starting from outside edge, arrange strawberry halves however you so fancy on top. Any left over? Eat straight away or use to garnish your champagne glass!
  7. In a small saucepan, heat jelly on medium-low until liquefied. Gently brush strawberries with jelly to make them nice and shiny, then let set at least 20 minutes. Pop in the fridge for at least 1 hour (and up to 6 hours); then remove from pan just before serving and place on a pretty plate or cake stand.
  8. Try and not eat it all in one go. You may get a tummy ache. Call some friends and show off your talents instead!

 Bon appétit!