Saturday, April 23, 2011

Strawberry Season 2011 has commenced!

I took a week of "stay-cation" this past week.  One of my favorite springtime activities is picking strawberries, and it was the perfect week, because the weather played out just perfectly for strawberry season to begin on my week off!  I took my oldest daughter with me.  We picked 2 big flats of strawberries.  I froze many of them.  On Friday morning we had whole wheat pancakes with real whipped cream (unsweetened) and fresh strawberries (with a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top).  Yum!

Today I made this tart, which I've had in my mind for quite some time.  I think you would love it.  It's light and very springy!  We delved into it after the youngest finished her nap today.  I heard "quite delicious" and "best dessert ever" from the family!  Hope you'll try it! 

I want to share with you two new strawberry tools that I bought recently, both of which were fantastic!  Easy to use and made my workload much lighter!  These tools really sped up the time I spent prepping!

The Chef'n StemGem and Sliceter were both awesome tools that I picked up at Sur La Table.  It appears they're also available elsewhere for the same prices.  Hulling the strawberries went much faster than using a paring knife, and only cut out the unnecessary parts.

So without further adieu...

Strawberry Citrus Tart (makes 2)

Tart Cake:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp fresh orange zest
pinch of salt
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped until stiff
1 jar lemon curd, chilled

Fresh sliced strawberries for top

For cake:
Prepare 2 tart pans (preferably the kind that will make a well in the center when flipped, such as Pampered Chef's) with cooking spray, a circle of parchment, and more cooking spray.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 375.
In a prep bowl, mix sifted flour, salt and orange zest.  Set aside.  Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl until frothy.  Gradually beat in 1/4 cup granulated sugar; beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
In another bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed with 1/3 cup sugar until thick and lemon-colored, several minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.  Fold the flour mixture into the yolk mixture.  Fold the yolk mixture into the whites.  Spread evenly into the 2 tart pans.
Bake at 375 for 12 minutes.  Center should spring back when you gently push with your finger.  After cooling for 5 minutes, invert to your serving platter.  Cool. 

For filling, gently fold the lemon curd into the whipped cream until well blended.  Spread into the well of each cake.  Top with sliced strawberries and indulge. 

Go on, have a second piece.  I won't tell.