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Posts tagged ‘strawberries’

Sweet Solutions III: Local Strawberry Tart with Basil-Infused Mascarpone Custard and Cracked Black Pepper

Sweet strawberries with a touch of spice and an herbal hint.  So summer.

Last Saturday after the farmer’s market Jaime and I decided to walk down to the il laboratorio del gelato on Houston St. We were already in need of a cool refresher, but the walk escalated the effects of the sticky summer afternoon– at least we were heading to the perfect spot. Picking out which flavors we were going to get was probably the most difficult decision of the day. With so many fruity, sweet, and even savory options– the combinations seem endless!

I was immediately drawn towards the honey-lavender, but at the last minute I decided on the basil gelato with raspberry sorbet. The mix of puckering tartness from the raspberry and the mild, creamy, herbal finish of the basil was everything one could hope for on a humid day. Not too sweet, but amazingly refreshing, cooling, and my favorite summer colors– pink and green.

My inspiration.

The treat inspired my own take on the flavor combination later that weekend, with my farmer’s market purchase of some tiny (more tart than sweet) local strawberries. I sliced the berries and tossed them in just a bit of sugar and freshly ground black pepper, and let them soak while I made pate brisee tart shells, and the basil-infused mascarpone custard.

For the custard I brought 1 cup of heavy cream to a boil, and then removed it from heat. I added 1/2 cup of roughly chopped basil to the cream, covered it, and allowed it to steep until the tart shells were baked-off and cooled. When I was ready to fill the tarts, I strained the basil cream and set it aside. Then, over low heat, I combined 2 egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan, and whisked them until they were light yellow in color. I slowly added the cream, whisking well until the mixture was thickened, and then I folded in one container of mascarpone cheese. I filled the tarts, and let them chill overnight, before I topped them with the sliced strawberries. The syrup from the strawberries makes a beautiful decorative and delicious sauce for serving with the tart, top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Martha Stewart also has an excellent strawberry galette recipe in her Pies and Tarts cookbook if you don’t have any tart molds on hand. She pairs the rustic tart with a basil whipped cream. This elegant flavor combination is really something special to share over the summer when fresh ingredients are available.

The perfect summer bite.

Sweet Solutions II: Strawberry Rhubarb & Ginger Pie

Slightly over-baked, but still oh-so-delicious

Sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb are a classic combination, and one of my all-time favorites– but the addition of ginger makes this pie stand out from the crowd. With an ultra-flakey lard and butter crust, and ingredients right from the farmer’s market, this summer treat is one that your friends and family are sure to love. It was difficult not to cut right into this pie as soon as it came out of the oven with it’s delicious red juices bubbling up out of the lattice-top, but I brought it into class to share instead.

Strawberry Rhubarb and Ginger Pie

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 stick cold butter, cubed
1 cup lard (or shortening)
1 T salt
1 T sugar
1/4 cup ice cold water

In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients a few times just to mix. Add butter and lard or shortening and pulse until dough begins to come together, adding water as needed. Divide into two, and flatten dough into discs. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling:

1 q strawberries, hulled, and cut in half or in quarters if large (small local in-season strawberries are best!)
5 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, grated
2 teaspoons lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon juice
1/2 cup sugar
pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch or tapioca

Combine all ingredients.

For the Pie:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough into an 11″ circle, place in a 9″ pie pan, and fill with mixture. Roll our other cylinder of dough, cover pie, and crimp edges with fingers. Brush crust with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 1 T cream if desired, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden-brown and juices are bubbling.