Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: La Palette's Strawberry Tart

This week's recipe couldn't have been better timed with the strawberry season here. We picked up a great little box of freshly picked local strawberry's from the coop the day I decided to put this together.

The recipe is a pretty easy one to throw together, or do ahead in pieces. Essentially the layers are just:
1) a tart crust
2) strawberry jam
3) fresh strawberries
4) cream

I have a lot of friends who are beginning bakers, and i think this would be a great recipe to start honing your culinary skills. I think a lot of people (myself included) see all the rules and regulations of baking as a huge and intimidating obstacle. The way I started learning to cook (and bake) was by using prepared products, like those rice and pasta side dishes where you just add water and microwave. Slowly I started to integrate things I learned to make from scratch. In the course of a few years, I now make just about everything from scratch. I've learned that not only do things from scratch taste better, they're generally cheaper to prepare, and not that much more difficult (albeit time consuming sometimes).

That said, this is a great recipe for someone who wants to start 'baking' but doesn't know where to start. Essentially you could just purchase a prepared crust, strawberry jam, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream and put this together in under half and hour!

Since I've moved past most pre-made products due to taste and budget reasons, I actually made the crust, jam, and cream for this recipe from scratch!

We made a last run to Costco before our membership ran out this week, and one of the impulse buys was a GIANT crate of strawberries. Unfortunately for me, I didn't notice till I got home that none of them were very fresh or attractive looking. Instead of throwing them out, I picked through the good ones and made a nice pot of fresh jam. I haven't learned to do proper canning yet, but making a fresh jam is pretty easy. My method is to chop up fruit, add some sugar, and lemon juice and cook on the stove top until it reduces down to a thick consistency.

The crust was made from Dorie's sweet tart dough recipe. I used whipped cream for the topping, which I whipped up right before serving using a bit of heavy whipping cream and sugar whipped together.

I opted to make single serving tarts since I just bought a set of 4" tart pans this week. These came out great, except the crust kind of fell apart while trying to eat it. I kept wondering if maybe you could make cookie-sized tarts using shortbread cookie dough as the crust, maybe I'll try that next time.

The recipe calls for a sprinkling of black pepper to top these tarts. Although we didn't do this last night, we might try it tonight when we have this dessert again with friends.

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) was originally used, like most herbs and spices, for both medicinal and culinary purposes. In the last few years several studies have been published which examine the use of black pepper as an insecticide (1, 2). This is especially interesting research as we, as a society, are steadily becoming more concerned about the treatment our food receives before it makes it's way to the table. The use of natural insecticides has benefits both for the health of the consumer, and also the growing environment the surrounding flora and fauna are exposed to. Everything is affected by the choices made by the farming community.

This is my weekly submission to Tuesdays with Dorie, hosted by Laurie of quirky cupcake. Be sure check out all the other creations by my fellow TWD bakers. A big thank you to Marie of A Year in Oak Cottage for picking this weeks recipe.

1. Simas NK, Lima Eda C, Kuster RM, Lage CL, de Oliveira Filho AM. Potential use of Piper nigrum ethanol extract against pyrethroid-resistant Aedes aegypti larvae. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2007 Jul-Aug;40(4):405-7.

2. Park IK, Lee SG, Shin SC, Park JD, Ahn YJ. Larvicidal activity of isobutylamides identified in Piper nigrum fruits against three mosquito species. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Mar 27;50(7):1866-70.


CB said...

I love the strawberries at Costco. HUGE plastic container full. Me and my hubs can eat it in 2 days but its true. You gotta pick through to find the container that has the good ones. Its worth the scavenging though :)
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Engineer Baker said...

Beautiful. And as for strawberry jam, I think there are a handful of refrigerator jam recipes that would do in a pinch. Google is your friend there.

Rebecca said...

I'm loving the single-serving tarts. Lovely!

Lori said...

So funny as I am putting together some cayenne pepper together for my little spider mites in the backyard.

I make nearly everything from scratcha s well in an effort to save money and due to taste. You should check out hte putting up event that Rosa had. THere is a link on my site under canning. Anyway- lots of yummy ideas on there.

Christine said...

I so wish we had a Costco in town. Beautiful looking tart!

Susie Homemaker said...

Lucky you - I live in Podunk - no Costco - You did a fab job!

Heather said...

I got my berries from Sam's...now I wish I had gone to the Costco up the road instead! Great job! Your tart looks delicious!

Gretchen Noelle said...

No Costco here in Peru...I am so jealous! Nice job on all from scratch recipes!

SiHaN said...

beautiful entry! the tart looks delicious! wish we had such gorgeous berries here in asia.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

It's a wonderful transition to make, the transition from prepared foods to made from scratch foods. Being able to take care of one's basic needs is highly underrated in today's society. Your tart looks great, you should feel proud as a baker and as a self-sufficient young lady!

Jules Someone said...

I am a big Costco strawberry fan. And blueberry and blackberry, too. Your tart was gorgeous. I love making refrigerator jam as well. I don't go through the canning process, I just cook 'em up and a jar will last a couple of weeks.

ostwestwind said...

Your tart looks gorgeous!

No Costco in Germany but lots of strawberry stalls, so I don't miss it ;-)

Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Shari said...

Costco is so dangerous! I always walk out of there with way too much wondering how I'm going to fit everything in my fridge! You're ambitious to make the jam this week as well as the tart!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Jaime said...

beautiful tart! i love how big, beautiful, and cheap strawberries are at costco!

btw - you don't need a membership to shop there. just get someone you know to purchase gift cards for you. walk in to the membership desk w/the gift cards and they will give you a one day pass - then you can shop and get whatever you need! a slight hassle, but it gets around the membership fee :)