Strawberries n Cream Tarts
I recently purchased a “Cook’s Illustrated; America’s Test Kitchen” magazine. Let me tell you, for instructional material, they have it on lock. Not only do they provide step-by-step guides, they let you know exactly WHY grandma’s recipe was sometimes hit or miss and why the variation and alteration you have in mind could possibly render a superb (or disastrous) recipe. They test several recipes and publish (often with pics) the outcome of each. I get excited because it brings out a little bit of the scientific geek in me. If only 10th grade science were like this…
I have to admit that I am “dieting” so please recognize the sacrifice I am making to bring you this recipe and excuse any drool on this post as well.
The original recipe was for a large tart but after making the graham cracker crust in the blender, I could not place my pie shell for the life of me. (IF YOU HAVE IT…..BRING IT BACK!!!) So, I ran to Publix and chanced upon mini prepared tart shells. These were probably more appealing to my nephews anyway. (But I STILL want my pie shell!)
Making the filling was surprisingly easy. I have to admit that it almost didn’t happen. The mixture failed to thicken as fast as promised and it wasn’t until I was about to throw it out (I don’t have time to waste on failed dishes, lol) that I noticed it was ready. So the lesson here is to be patient and WAIT!
FOR THE FILLING
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out (or 2-3 tea. pure vanilla extract if you can’t find a fresh bean. I couldn’t )
1 1/4 cups cold cream
1 quart strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
To Make Filling: Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tablespoon cold water in a bowl and let soften 5 minutes. Put the granulated sugar and vanilla seeds in a saucepan and rub the seeds into the sugar with your fingers. Add 1 cup cream and whisk over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Transfer to a bowl, then set in a larger bowl of ice water and stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cream and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Pour into the tart shells and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour….or for whatever reason in my case…2 hours.
Before serving, top the tart with the strawberries and dust lightly with powdered (confectioner’s) sugar.
This is a very LIGHT dessert. It’s perfectly refreshing for a nice summer night with friends.
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