Presenting Strawberries 'n' Cream tarts, a new drama

 Apparently, baking up a nice fruit tart is high-stakes drama.  At least according to Fox’s ‘Masterchef’, a competition of home cooks out to prove themselves before over-the-top chef Gordon Ramsay (word in the industry is he’s actually a nice guy).

Irregardless, last night the show’s producers portrayed a tart as an intense, risky, highly sensitive baking venture.  I laughed all the way to the commercial break because tarts are so simple!  But, you know, you do have to pay super-duper-extra careful attention to EVERY step of the process…

Like the crust.   The easiest and most traditional one is a sugar cookie dough.  But if you don’t cream the butter and sugar just right before slowly beating in an egg and then the flour, you could completely upset the space-time continuum.

And for instance, if you don’t roll the dough out to exactly 1/4-inch thick and blind bake (using rice or beans) it at exactly the right temperature, you will of course ruin your life and the life of anyone within a 50 mile radius of your kitchen.

Furthermore, if you neglect to use a whisk to stir the pastry cream vigorously as it thickens, your stove and oven will explode with anger.  AND, if you forget to cover the cooling pastry cream with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming your refrigerator will explode, too.

When finishing a tart such as this strawberries ‘n’ cream version, proper folding of whipped cream into the pastry cream is essential. If your strokes aren’t exactly the same every fold, it will taste like dirt.   Precise piping of this lightened cream into the tart shell is also essential, otherwise it will taste like dirt AND grass.  Not sweet, smooth vanilla cream resting among a crunchy, crumbly cookie crust.

As for the fruit, if the berries are not in perfect harmony, the whole tart will simply vanish from your counter top and reappear moments later falling from above your head.  So you know, have all your wits about you when you set out to make a fruit tart.   It’s a high stakes situation.  You wouldn’t want to risk all that sweet and tart, creamy and crunchy goodness falling on your head. Or worse, directly into your mouth.

Printable recipe including an easy cheat version...

Christina chronicles edible discoveries, recipes, fun with food and plenty of tasty beverages over at Edible Times.


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