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What can I say?? I just love to bake!! Ever since I would go to Grandma's house as a little girl and bake highlight cakes or help Ninny make her famous vanilla cookies, I've been obsessed with baking! Not only from recipe books, but freestyle too! With a father as a chef, i suppose it is in my genes! Some of my favourite memories from growing up were those moments after dinner when my dad would get his sweet tooth pang and have me help him whip up a batch of toffee fruit kebabs, or irish caramels! I used to love how he never followed recipes, he always just knew what ingredients worked with one another and how to play with quantities. So, from an early age, i had learnt from the master and i was well on my way to bake on my own! When i was 7 years old, i used to bake chocoloate cakes to sell to the mothers of my friends when they came to watch our Saturday morning minkey hockey games! Before i knew it, i was being commissioned from my school teachers to bake cakes for them at $2 a pop! This blog holds just a few of my favourite tried and tested recipes which I've thoroughly enjoyed both baking and eating! So enjoy!!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Strawberry TART!

Preparation Time:  30 – 45 mins
Cooking Time:  25 mins
Serves: 10-12

For the filling:
 -   4 egg yolks
 -   70g Castor sugar
 -   3tbs plain flour
 -   300ml milk
 -   1/8tsp salt
 -   1 tsb Vanilla
 -   450g Strawberries
 -   5tbs Red currant jelly
 -   1tbs orange juice

For the shortcrust pastry:
 -   190g plain flour
 -   1/2tsp baking powder
 -   1/4tsp salt
 -   1tbs Castor sugar
 -   Grated rind of ½ orange
 -   85g Cold butter – cubed
 -   1 egg yolk
 -   3-4tbs whipping cream

**Or you could just buy some sweet shortcrust pastry from the supermarket – but my grandmother would call you a ‘cheat’!!  (As she did me, when I was short on time!!)

To make the custard filling:
1)  Beat the egg yolk and sugar together until it becomes thick and lemon coloured; then gradually stir in the flour.

2)  In a saucepan, bring the milk and salt to the boil then remove from the heat immediately. 

3)  Whisk in the egg mixture, then return to the stove to continue whisking over a moderate to high heat until it’s just bubbling.  You’ll want to cook this for 3 minutes to thicken the custard. 

4)  As soon as it starts to thicken, transfer the custard to a bowl.

5)  Add in your vanilla, then stir to blend in.

8)  Cover the custard in greaseproof paper to prevent a ‘skin’ forming.

To make the pastry:
1)  Preheat oven to 200’C

2)  Stir in your sugar and orange rind.

3)  Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles course bread crumbs.

4)  Stir in the yolk and add just enough cream to bind the dough.

5)  Gather into a ball and wrap in grease proof paper, then refrigerate for an hour or so.

6)  On a floured surface, roll out your pastry to 3mm thick and transfer to a 10in/25s, pie tin.

2)  Or, if you’re using pre-made pastry, line your tray well until all the sides are covered and the base is tucked in nicely.  Run a knife along the top edge of the tray to trim any uneven ends.

3)  Prick the base of the pastry a few times with a fork and line with crumpled baking paper.  Fill the base of the tray with rice or pastry weights and blind bake for 15mins in your preheated oven. 

4)  After 15mins, remove rice/weights and baking paper and continue to bake for a further 6-8mins, or until golden.  Let the pastry cool completely.

To put it all together:
1)  Spread an even layer of your prepared filling in the pastry case, then arrange your berries on top.

2)  Melt your jelly and orange juice in pan to dissolve, then brush over your strawberries to glaze the tart.

3)  Eat it up and share with your favourite people!

Decorating the tart...

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