Strawberry tart – a taste of summer

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

I always use some of the wonderfully sweet summer strawberries we have in Denmark during June, July and the beginning of August for a strawberry tart with chocolate, almonds and a thick vanilla custard. It is probably my favourite summer treat and is perfect both as a sweet accompaniment for an afternoon cup of coffee or as a beautiful centerpiece dessert at a dinner party.

I will not lie, this is a relatively time consuming tart as you have make the shortcrust pastry, the almond filling and the vanilla custard, but all the components themselves are relatively easy to make. And when you take the first bite of your homemade strawberry tart and taste the crispy pastry with its dense almond filling combined with the silky, vanilla perfumed custard, the slightly bitter chocolate and the sweet ripe strawberries then you know exactly what summer heaven tastes like.

Strawberry tart
For 6 people

Half a portion of shortcrust pastry
500g strawberries (preferably organic)
75g dark chocolate (70%)
4 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly (or any other sweet red jelly)

Almond filling
150g marzipan
100g soft butter
100g golden cane sugar
2 eggs
50 wheat flour
The seeds of half a fat, good quality vanilla pod

3 egg yolkes
2dl fullfat milk
50g golden cane sugar
The seeds of the other half of the vanilla pod
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 sheets of gelatin (4 grams in total)

Start by making the shortcrust pastry. When it has been in the freezer then pre-bake it for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius until slightly golden.

Meanwhile make the almond filling. Knead the marzipan with sugar and vanilla and add the butter little by little until the mix is homogeneous. Mix in the eggs in one at a time and then finally add the flour. If the mass starts to split then add a bit of the flour between the eggs.

Pour the almond filling into the pre-baked tart shell.

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

Bake the tart for another 15-20 minutes until the filling has set and is golden. Chop the chocolate very fine and divide on the hot tarte filling so it melts. If it doesn’t spread on its own then help it along with a spoon until the filling is covered.

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

For the custard start by soaking the gelatin in lots of cold water for ten minutes (or follow instructions on the package). Mix the rest of the ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan and bring it to a boil while continually whisking. Let is gently boil for a couple of minutes until it has thickened quite a bit.

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

Remove the pot from the stove. Squeeze most of the water from the gelatin and then melt it in a pan over low heat with the little water still clinging to it. Mix carefully into the still warm custard. Cover it with clingfilm and let it cool down completely. The custard should be very thick, but that is the intention.

Put the custard on the cold tart with filling. Hull and half the strawberries and arrange them neatly on top of the cusard. Melt the redcurrant jelly in a saucepan over low heat and brush it evenly onto the strawberries.

Serve the tart for some very lucky guest!
Jordbærtærte, færdig1, august 2013

Rhubarb dessert with skyr cream and hazelnut crunch

Rhubarb dessert

Rhubarb dessert with skyr cream and hazelnut crunch

Rhubarb heralds the coming of spring and is a stable of the Danish spring and summer kitchen. We use it both for savory and sweet dishes, and it is probably my favourite fruit. I love the pretty pale pink colour and the sweetly sour taste. It tastes of my childhood summers where my childhood friend Freja and I – somewhat to her mother’s  irritation – would pluck the fresh rhubarb stems right of ground in their kitchen garden and eat them raw dipping each bite in a cup of sugar.

This dessert is a variation of the Danish summer classic ”rødgrød med fløde” literally red compote or porridge with cream” – a kind of very thick fruit soup made from red berries and served with fresh cream. It is a very practical dessert as the rhubarb and the crunch can be made in advance and then assembled with the cream just before serving.

You can use frozen fruit if you cannot get it fresh, but the taste will not be quite the same. Skyr is a Icelandic kind of low fat, but incredibly tasty and very thick yogurt. If you cannot get it, it can be replaced with Greek yogurt.

Rhubarb dessert with skyr-cream and hazelnut crunch

Compote of rhubarb and strawberries
600 grams of rhubarb
300 grams of very ripe strawberries
½ deciliter of water
The seeds of a pod of vanilla
1-1½ deciliter of caster sugar – to taste
1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a bit of water

Hazelnut and oat crunch
1,5 deciliter of hazelnut flour (very finely ground hazelnuts)
1,5 deciliter of rolled oats (not too thinly cut)
1,5 deciliter of caster sugar
½ deciliter of wheat flour
60 grams of butter

Skyr cream
2,5 deciliter whipping cream (38% in Denmark)
3 heaped tablespoons of skyr or other thick yoghurt

Clean the rhubarb and hull the strawberries. Cut the rhubarb into think slizes and quarter the strawberries. Place the fruit in a pot with the water, vanilla and the sugar – hold back ½ a deciliter to taste later.

Fruit for rhubarb compote

Let the compote boil gently without a lid for 10-15 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if needed. It should not be too sweet if you ask me, but this is a matter of preference. Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of water and add to the fruit while constantly stirring. Let the compote boil for another few minutes – keep stirring. When it has thickened a bit take it off the heat, cover it in cling film, and let it cool completely. When cold the consistency should be like a very think soup.

Rhubarb and strawerry compote

For the hazelnut and oats topping mix, all the ingredients until the texture is like very coarse breadcrumbs.

Hazelnut and oat crunch

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius or until crisp and golden.

Hazelnut and oat crunch

When you are reading to serve the dessert, whip the cream and then carefully fold in the yogurt. Assemble in glasses with the compote in the bottom, a generous dollop of skyr cream and plenty of crunch on top.

Rhubarb dessert with skyr cream and hazelnut crunch