Strawberry and Lemon Tart

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Strawberry and Lemon Tart

After a long hiatus of not feeling inspired about baking anything in particular, the Summer Cuisine Magazine caught my attention last month.

The section collected recipes from Australian chef Belinda Jeffery’s new book, Utterly Delicious Simple Food.

Simple – check. Summer fruits – check. Easy baking – check. “Go forth and bake!” I said to myself.

Recipe really is easy. Some tips / notes:

  • Recipe called for a pre-baked shortcrust pastry tart shell. You can either make it yourself (plenty of recipes online), or buy ready-to-roll. True to my current lazy self I went for the store-bought stuff. Still good, but my tart tin is 30cm and so I had to join 2 pieces of pastry dough together. I managed to do that but the dough had cracks over the pastry joints post blind-baking. Gotta figure that one out and if anyone knows a fix for that please leave a comment!
  • I think ceramic beans are probably still the best for blind-baking. Used rice and had bits of them stuck into the case – had the take them out post blind-bake.
  • In essence this is almost like a baked cheesecake. Admittedly because I had to change pan size and volume I might have overbaked and had cracks forming on the surface of the filling too. No need to worry though if that happens to you – it’ll all be covered up by those gorgeous strawberries.
  • Talking about hulling the strawberries – according to the internet, just use a drinking straw! Easy – just check out this youtube video: https://youtu.be/kA5QBiFpAoc

Charity Bake for Typhoon Haiyan Victims

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

A week ago, a friend suddenly contacted me to help donate some baked goods as part of her office’s Typhoon Haiyan Phillipines fundraiser. I like baking so naturally, it’s a yes!

Summer time is approaching in New Zealand so I’ve opted to bake things that are fruity and refreshing – something light, in other words. At the same time I’ve been consciously avoiding baking anything too complicated (aiming for simple and deliscious in the last 6 months)

Ta-da! So here we have some Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, and Coconut & Passionfruit Slices.

Coconut & Passionfruit Slices

Coconut & Passionfruit Slices

As you can see I’m hopeless at cutting anything straight, but the slices are very yummy.

I got the recipes here: Lemon Meringue CupcakesCoconut Passionfruit Slices

They are both good recipes and I’ve only had to make minor adjustments.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

  • Make the Lemon Curd (the link can be found within the cupcake’s recipes) 1 day ahead. That means it’ll set properly and one less last-minute thing to do.
  • Recipe says it makes 24 but it’s probably closer to 16-18. I was using muffin paper and a muffin pan so that’s probably why.
  • Didn’t alter anything in the recipe, but definitely taste test everything, especially the Lemon Curd and the Cupcake batter to make sure you’re happy with how it taste. Adjust by using less lemon juice and then add more to get to your preferred taste.
  • I borrowed the kitchen torch from a friend of mine and just bought a can of butane gas to fill torch back up before returning. Good way to save money!
  • I had trouble with the piping (my own inexperience) – and I think I would have chosen a different tip instead. Might look nicer.

Coconut Passionfruit Slices

  • Receipe calls for a 16x26cm pan – I don’t have it, so I had to bump up the recipe by a factor of 2.5. If you’re going to do something similar, then slightly reduce the temperature and just keep an eye out when the baking time is reached and adjust the time accordingly. I used a pyrex dish by the way.
  • These slices are quite rich. They say use 100g caster sugar, I would say probably 50g is enough. Also cut those slices smaller – perhaps like little squares.
  • Up that butter to 120 to 125g.
  • Taste test the topping part before transferring to your baking dish. Adjust by adding more lemon juice, more passionfruit pulp, or condensed milk. Probably 80% of 1 can of condensed milk would be enough.

Key Lime Pie

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So I live in a place with no Key Limes, and I really don’t know what they tasted like. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to make it.

Key Lime Pies are so easy to make, and it’s delicious (apparently), so why not?

I did, and the pie disappeared within 30 minutes, devoured by my 10 colleagues. And man, it is yum.

 

I originally followed the Epicurious recipe, but with a 9.5 inch tart pan. I got to the making the crust stage, even baked the crust. But since I was in a hurry and didn’t really do my math properly, the end result wasn’t great (it tasted great, just badly shaped) so I had to start all over again.

I also think that the amount of butter quoted in the recipe was nowhere near enough for you to get a nice crust dough to work with when shaping it into the pan.

So I opted to follow Cuisine magazine recipe instead for the crust, and I skipped the cinnamon. I wish though that they will provide a cup-ratio for the biscuit crumbs, so I could be a bit more accurate.

For the filling I followed the original Epicurious recipe.

 

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Now, what do you do if you don’t have Key Limes readily available where you live?

I’ve done some online research – some people said to use just lime. Some people said to use 50% lemon juice and 50% lime juice. Some people were lucky enough to have key lime juice available for purchase (bottled) in the local store, others like me aren’t as lucky.

So I opted for the 50:50 lemon / lime juice option. I just bought the lime juice from the baking section in my local supermarket. (Because as luck would have it, they don’t have fresh lime at my local store – I swear I saw some last week!)

i would say, adjust the pie filling according to your taste, AFTER you have whisk the juice into the condensed milk / egg yolk mixture. I personally added a dash more lime juice so reduce the tangyness (a dash being something like 1 teaspoon).

 

All in all, very delicious. Would definitely make it again – a bigger one next time (with proper pie pan)!

Lemon Curd Mousse Cake

 

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Lemon Curd Mousse Cake.

Recipe from Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2005/04/lemon_curd_mousse_cake

or Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lemon-Curd-Mousse-Cake-231898

I read through all the reviews, and if I were to do it again these are the variations from the recipe I would do:

Curd:

  • Make the lemon curd in a bowl above a saucepan of very hot water (like melting chocolate). This will stop the eggwhites from cooking. This time I didn’t do it, so I strained the curd. Probably best to strain the curd regardless.
  • Reduce the sugar in the curd. I reduced it to 2 cups but may be just 1 3/4 cup is enough
  • I also increase the lemon juice to 1 1/3 – you can add more by testing the taste

Crust:

  • For the crust people had said to use Walker Shortbread but I don’t think it matters

Mousse:

  • I whipped the egg white and sugar (like making meringue) for a full 10 minutes (after whipping egg white alone till soft peak formed), and also whipped the cream (medium to stiff peak) in another mixing bowl. These 2 steps were done before I started dealing with the curd and the gelatin.
  • Folding the meringue and the cream in really did take quite a bit of time, but be patient and get them really smooth and incorporated 🙂
  • Not entirely sure, but may be putting in 1 more teaspoon of gelatin to get a firmer texture..

Presentation

  • I didn’t pipe rosettes onto the cake, just put some strawberries on. Recommend to do very last minute just before serving. Otherwise they tend to fall down to the side.

 Overall:

  • I did this in a couple of days (3 steps):  (1) The curd first (because it can be chilled and kept for 1 week max, just let it sit and return to room temperature before you use it for the mousse part).  (2) The crust (doesn’t take long to do at all, I use a spoon so didn’t even need to get my hand dirty) the morning of making the mousse, so it will have a good chance to cool.  (3) Then finally the mousse the evening before serving the cake. The cake definitely need to chill overnight.