There are a few simple pleasures in life, for mine in particular, would be eating desserts. I would love to have a picnic every so often with a basket full of roasted tomato sandwich, sausage rolls, berry tarts, cheese and crackers, and a bottle or two of wine (sweet or bubbly). However, the weather (and security) here doesn’t permit so I shall enjoy such luxury at the vicinity of my house. That’s not going to stop me from enjoying the little things in life 😉
Ok I’m gonna be honest, I don’t have a basket or mat, neither do I have a roasted tomato sandwich but I have these gorgeous strawberry tartlets and wine for this scorching hot weather.
These tartlets are made with a easy pâte sucrée; a sweet shortcrust pastry, filled with a smooth vanilla crème pâtissière (pastry cream) and fresh strawberries with a dust of icing sugar. If you don’t like strawberries, it can go with other berries or even poached pear if you prefer. And so flexible it is, you it can be made into a bigger tart, a medium sized tart, or mini bite size tartlets. It’s one of the basic recipes that one should have in their recipe ‘cabinet’.
The recipe consist of 2 parts, if you must, you can prepare the dough and pastry cream a day before. That will give the cream ample of time to set.
To go with these strawberry tarts, I have a Chateau Les Arroucats, St Croix Du Mont to pair with it from Wine Talk. Come’on, if you’ve gotta pretend you’re in a picnic, you have to have a wine to seal the deal. No? French wine and french pastry cream; hehe Chateau Les Arroucats, a sweet wine from St Croix Du Mont, France and has a composition of grapes: 85% Semillon, 12% Sauvignon, 3% Muscadelle. Offering a superb, golden colour and a subtle bouquet with lovely intensity and elegant hints of apricot and pear, it shows plenty of roundness on the palate, well-balanced tannins, with fruity, honey flavours. Perfect as an aperitif, with foie gras, melon, blue cheese or fruits based desserts. With its fruity, honey flavours, this sweet wine makes a great pair with these strawberry tartlets.
- 220g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 150g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2-3 tablespoons ice water
- 3 egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 20g cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 250ml milk
- 10g butter
- 1 punnet strawberries
- icing sugar
- Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla bean paste and 50ml milk till thick. Add in corn starch and whisk the slurry.
- In a pot, add in the remaining milk and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and pour the milk in a slow stream on to the egg slurry, whisking all the time.
- Return the mixture to the pot and continue to whisk over a low-medium heat. The cream will start to thicken. Once it releases a bubble or two, take it off the heat. Add in butter and stir till it has melted.
- Pour onto a tray lined with cling film. Cover with cling film (pat the cling film so it sticks directly on to the cream and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using.
- Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse few times to combine. Add the butter pieces. Blend the fat and flour until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Or, instead of the food processor, rub cold butter and flour with your fingers till it resembles the texture of course breadcrumbs.
- Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture and process continuously until the dough begins to clump together. Do not over-process; the dough should not form a ball. If using hand to mix, add in 2 tbsp of water then fold the dough. It may or may not need the 3rd tbsp.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape it into a thick wide disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm enough to roll, about 30 minutes.
- Place unwrapped dough on a work surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 3mm thickness.
- Cut out and gently press the dough into the tart shells. Roll the pin over the top of the 3½" tart shells to trim off the excess dough. Lightly prick the bottom of the dough in each pan with a fork. Refrigerate the dough in the pans for 20 minutes to firm up the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C. Bake for 20-25 minutes or till it is golden brown. Transfer the tartlet shells to a wire rack and cool completely.
- Pour creme patisserie out into a bowl, use a whisk and loosen the mixture by whisking it. Scoop it out into a piping bag. Fill the tart shells with creme patisserie. Arrange with freshly cut strawberries and a spinkle of icing sugar.
These tarts are perfect for a afternoon tea, a school party or even for weddings’ dessert table, or you don’t actually need a reason to eat strawberry tart, do you? With dessert tables all in trend now for weddings and birthday parties, it may seem a little overwhelming if you are planning for your own (or making the products yourself! that’s cray cray) The thing with parties and such is that, there’s A LOT of planning and things CAN go wrong. I mean, what if the cream starts to melt, or your balloons aren’t exactly the colour you want, or that there aren’t enough food or drinks for your guests (horror!).
If you have a party and you are looking to serve wines but have no idea where to start from or how many bottles should you order, you should check out Wine Talk where it’s sommelier team, headed by French sommelier, David Stephan, will provide you the best recommendations based on your tastes, preferences and price range.
Wine Talk is an online wine delivery service where you can easily order wines via http://www.winetalk.com.my or via call to 1300 88 9788. Choose from over 400 labels of red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, champagne, rosé wine, even non-alcoholic wine, and have them delivered to you home, office, wedding venue or any location within Peninsular Malaysia.
If you are a fan of wine, they also have a subscription service called Wine Club where members will receive wine cases on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, delivered straight to your home. But not just any wines, they are great value wines and handpicked by David based on your preference; popular labels and also fun discoveries. It comes with a personalized booklet that details the history of the winery, grape varietals, tasting notes, food pairing and more; only for RM 454 for 6 bottles and RM835 for 12 bottles with FREE delivery included.
There’s a quote that says “Wine makes every meal an occassion, every table more elegant and every day more civilized” 😉
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