20 August 2006

Fleeting memories of strawberry perfection

The large punnet of strawberries that we bought yesterday was one of the most perfectly ripe, balancing perfect levels of acidity and sugar. I put my foot down, and was allowed to "do something" with them, rather than just eat them with cream or in passing.

The recipe is Tamasin Day-Lewis's Strawberry Tart, P. 95 from her Art of the Tart book.

Sitting down with pi r squared, I calculated that a 7" tin would need only a third of the ingredients of the 12" tin in the recipe. I should have done a half, as I always find it difficult to get the pastry to stretch in her recipes. Does Tamasin roll perfect circles which fit the tin exactly with no wastage? Or is her pastry really only 3mm thick?Anyway, I managed with some patchwork to get the pastry to line the tin, blind baked it, and put it back in for a few minutes. Too many - it became dark brown, dangerously close to burnt.

In parallel, I attempted to make the creme patissiere. It was incredibly temperamental, becoming so lumpy as to need mechanical rescuing not once but twice. At the same time, it was difficult to cook it enough to soften the flavour of cornflour. All this was very stressful!

Arranging the strawberries was fun, carefully sorting them into small, medium and large ones before fitting in concentric circles, and basting in melted redcurrant jelly.

We demolished it all in about 15 minutes. I'd love to make another one soon. I think I might be able to avoid both the pastry-scorching and lumpy creme. The fleeting memory of its flavour makes me long for more and more of them.

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