By Karen Vivers
The Cooking Coach July/Aug 2015
Karen Vivers, originally from Scotland, has lived here in Amsterdam since 1997, and has set up the Cooking Coach to help inspire people to get back into the kitchen. The basis of the cooking lessons are easy, tasty, healthy recipes. Each course starts with a free introduction session, to make sure that you only cook what you like to eat.
As well as cooking lessons, Karen offers Culinary Tasting Tours in Amsterdam, is a passionate food blogger, writer, author of “Love Food, Live Healthy” and works freelance as a Business Consultant, specialising in small and medium food businesses, helping them get started, grow and deal with commercial challenges.
Strawberry Tart with Frangipane Filling
If there is something the British and the Dutch have in common it’s their love of, no their obsession with strawberries.
Even though we can get them all year round nowadays, there is something about this time of year that seems to set off that sixth sense, we all know that it’s strawberry season. Maybe it’s the increase in temperature, the longer days, or for some it may even be the approach of Wimbledon that gets our strawberry senses tingling.
I say that the British and the Dutch have their love of strawberries in common, but the way both cultures eat them can be different. The British approach is very definitely from a dessert perspective, whereas the Dutch have broadened the use somewhat. You may have seen them mash up strawberries with a little sugar and then spread them on ‘beschuit’. Beschuit is probably best described in English as a light cracker. It is actually a sort of bread which has been twice baked. The beschuit has economical origins. It can be baked at a very low temperature, so, when bakers had made their bread, they would turn off the ovens and bake the beschuit in the residual heat. Following on from the beschuit theme, the Dutch also eat sliced strawberries on bread, sometimes with a little butter. My preference lies very much in using strawberries in desserts and cakes, but most of all in fruit tarts. This combination with frangipane is my summer favourite.
Preparation: 50 minutes
Baking: 45 minutes
Decorating and Finishing: 10 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10 portions
Use a flan tin with a removable base, measuring 29cm / 11 in. in diameter
For the Pastry
200gr / 7 oz. plain flour
75gr / 2.5 oz. unsalted butter, softened and cubed
50gr / 1.7 oz. icing sugar
1 x egg, beaten loosely with a fork
125gr / 4.5 oz. unsalted butter, softened and cubed
125gr / 4.5 oz. sugar
125gr / 4.5 oz. ground, bleached almonds
2 x eggs, beaten loosely with a fork
For the Strawberry Decoration
500gr / 1.1lb. fresh strawberries. Try to get even sizes and equal coloured fruit – but don’t be too prejudice.
To Glaze and Finish
3 x tbsp strawberry (or apricot) jam
A splash of tap water
- Pastry first. Place the flour, butter and icing sugar in a large bowl and rub together through your fingers until the mix becomes like breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg and bring together. I do this at first with a wooden spoon and then move on to using my hands. Work it until it becomes a ball, then remove from your bowl and knead it, just two or three times on a cool surface. By this I mean just 2 or 3 kneading movements, that’s all. This dough is quite sticky and can be a little difficult. If it is just too sticky to get into a ball, add a small amount of flour, just a tiny sprinkling, you don’t want to dilute the sweetness too much. Also, the addition of more flour gives a tougher dough if you over do it.
- Wrap your ball of sweet dough in cling film and chill in the freezer whilst you make the frangipane. Don’t forget about it though, you just want to cool it, not let it freeze. If you make the pastry in advance and have more time – chill in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Set the oven to pre-heat at 170°C / 340°F. Make sure your baking tray is in the oven. The reason for this is to heat up the tray on which the tart will cook so that the bottom of the tart comes immediately into contact with a hot surface and aids an even bake.
- Then the frangipane. Cream together the butter and sugar in a food processor or with an electric mixer, this will take a few minutes. Of course you can do this by hand, if you feel the need for exercise.
- Then mix in the eggs, and add the almonds, stir everything through until even.
- Take your pastry from the fridge and on a cool, lightly floured surface, roll out, turning it is you do to keep it in a round shape. Roll until it is about 2mm / 0.08in to 3mm / 0.10 in. thick.
- Lay the pastry dough over your flan tin and push gently, but firmly into the corners and the sides. To pick it up, you can wrap it over your rolling pin, or carefully lift by putting your hands, splayed underneath. However you chose to do it, a swift movement is best. Trim any excess pastry that is hanging over the top of your tin. The pastry will shrink back a little while cooking, so make sure you leave a little lip.
- With a fork, prick lightly all over the entire base of your pastry dough. Spoon the frangipane mix into the pastry case and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
- Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. I check after 40. The tart is ready when it is an even golden brown colour.
- Let the tart cool and then remove it from the flan case. I often leave it sitting on the metal bottom and only remove the side. This makes it easier to transport to your serving dish.
- In a saucepan, heat the jam and water, stir with a metal spoon until it has warmed through and mixed together.
- Place your strawberries in circles starting at the outer edge of the tart and working your way to the centre. Brush over the jam glaze allowing any extra to drizzle into any little gaps between the fruit.
Tips and Variations
- This tart is best eaten on the day it is made.
- Serve with a bit of crème fraiche or mascarpone with a dash of Marsala wine on the side for some extra indulgence.
- If you have some pastry left over, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days, or you could make a couple of extra small tarts. I tend to put it in the freezer and keep it for emergency repair work!
- Try with raspberries, really yummy or a mix of berries works really well too.
- If you make the pastry the day before, I tend not to leave the dough in a ball shape, but flatten the ball out – this makes it easier to roll.
Karen's Healthy Cooking BookBuy it online
Love Food, Live Healthy is ideal for those of us who really enjoy our food, but want to eat consciously without compromising on flavour. Packed with over 100 recipes, this book has lots of practical cooking and healthy eating tips. Designed for cooks of all skill levels, whether you love cooking or just love eating!
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