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 the goods

pastry:

1 1/2 cups flour (preferably pastry flour)

6oz butter (cold)

4 tblspns sugar

pinch salt

1 egg

1 tspn baking powder

2 tblspns buttermilk 

filling:

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup milk

3 oz butter

3 eggs, separated

3 tblspns corn starch / cornflour

3 oz sugar

1 tspn vanilla

pinch salt

grated zest 1 lemon

lashings of ripe, dark, sweet strawberries ( at least 2 punnets)

 

time: 30- 40 minutes active, 

1hr 10 minutes baking

you will need:

  • food processor
  • 9 inch springform pan
  • 8 inch cake pan
  • electric beaters
  • medium and large mixing bowl
  • small saucepan
  • rolling pin
  • baking sheet
  • baking parchment

 

Strawberry Buttermilk Tart

I discovered my first Buttermilk Tart last year during a
trip to Texas.

I thought that I was being served up a slice of custard
tart...the schoolboy in me immediately
thought 'Phlegm Flan!'...I was prepared to make polite
protestations that I had overestimated my appetite. 

Then I sank my teeth into it...and my teeth kept on
sinking!

This Texan custard was like my waitress's hair; bigger
and fluffier than it had any logical reason to be!

And the buttermilk didn't sour the flavour at all, it
simply cut the sweetness.

I came home and set to discovering how the custard
got to be so velvety and light.

I also worked on a biscuit pastry which is sweet, crisp
and easy.

The freshly baked tart felt like the perfect setting for a
mountain of the season's first strawberries. Still a little
tart and firm, they were the perfect foil for the delicate
custard.

They loitered atop that tart like a group of ripe, plump
vixens on a goose down mattress, waiting to be
plundered!

Sweet Biscuit Pastry:

This pastry is easy to make in the food processor. It is quite soft, so make sure to chill it at least 30 minutes. I recommend using pastry flour as it has less gluten and you will find the pastry will not shrink.

Mix: flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and butter (cut into cubes) in the food processor until everything looks like sand. Add the egg and buttermilk. Pulse. The pastry will form a ball. Scoop it out into a plastic shopping bag or a sheet of cling film and pat it into a disc about 7 inches wide. Wrap it and place it into the fridge.

Pre heat the oven to 350f / 180c

Place a large sheet of baking parchment on your counter space...at least 20 inches...sprinkle a little flour onto it. Place the pastry disc in the centre. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the pastry and use a rolling pin to roll the pastry out into a 17 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick.

Butter the 9 inch springform pan, then place it upside down in the centre of the pastry. Place your hand under the baking parchment, use your other hand to hold the springform pan in place and carefully flip the pastry and pan. Ease the pastry down into the pan and peel back the baking parchment. Carefully mould the pastry to the bottom and sides of the pan. I re-use the parchement by tearing it into pieces and I line the bottom and sides of the pastry with it. Then place the 8 inch pan into the centre. You are going to 'blind-bake' the pastry shell and this will stop the sides from collapsing. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, remove the 8 inch pan and peel back the baking parchment.  Prick the bottom of the tart shell with a fork...every inch or so. This pastry has a little rise in it and will have puffed up. That's okay.  Pop it back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

Now make the custard.

The Buttermilk custard:

Place the milk and butter in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter melts. remove from heat ( do not let it boil)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla.

In a smaller (very clean) mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they foam. Add a pinch of salt and continue beating until the egg whites look glossy white and hold stiff peaks.

Pour the hot milk in a slow and steady stream into the egg yolk mix. Whisk constantly to do this. Stop pouring and keep whisking if you can't do both at once. This mix will thinken and you don't want the eggs to get lumpy. Whisk the buttermilk into the yolks. Add the lemon zest.

Spoon about 1/4 of the egg white mix and fold it into the yolk mix by strirring from the bottom and up and over in a circular motion. Add the rest of the egg whites. Do not beat the batter as all of the air in the egg whites will be beaten out of the custard and it is this which makes the custard so fluffy and light.

Pour the batter into the tart shell and sprinkle some brown sugar on top.

Bake about 45 mins or until golden on top and the custard is just set in the middle...it will still be a little wobbly.

 When you are ready to serve, wash and hull the strawberries. You can slice them in half if they are large or leave them whole; you can arrange them artfully or carelessly. Sprinkle a little sugar over them if they are particularly tart.

* you have my permission to use a store bought pastry or pie case, but this is a lovely, buscuity pastry...give it a try. Don't worry if it tears, you can just patch it back together! 

 

 

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