Tag Archives: Spring

Doing Spring Day to taste – Lemon tart with berries

We might not have terribly cold winters here in Pretoria, but that doesn’t stop us celebrating Spring any more than any where else in the world. Picnics in the parks, outdoor concerts, and desserts that don’t use chocolate. Wait, seriously? If Spring means chocolate free puddings, maybe Winter isn’t so bad after all. Or maybe it just takes a really special dessert to convince me that not everything needs chocolate in it to be called a dessert.

So for Spring day the LiveInBaker decided to go for something a little bit lemony, a little bit tart, and all together pretty damn good:

Lemon Tart with fresh berries:

Ingredients:

For the pastry shell:

  • 150g cake flour;
  • 25g corn flour;
  • 40g icing sugar;
  • 90g butter;
  • 5ml vanilla essence;
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten.

For the filling:

  • 250g cream cheese;
  • Enough plain yogurt to thin cream cheese to desired consistency, around a quarter of a cup;
  • quarter to half a cup of lemon curd (done to your taste);
  • The grated rind and juice of one lemon (to taste);
  • 300 – 350g of mixed berries;
  • 1 table-spoon of icing sugar.

Sift the flour, corn flour and icing sugar together, then rub in the butter (don’t worry, I also don’t know what this means) until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Combine the vanilla and egg yolks, and then mix this into the crumbs to make a firm dough (you might need to add cold water if the mixture isn’t forming a firm dough).

The cling film stops the dough from sticking to the rolling-pin and counter top

Roll the dough out and line a 23cm round flan tin with it, pressing the dough up the sides. Prick the base with a fork (cover the entire base) and place in a fridge for 30 minutes.

Finishing lining the pastry tin

Preparing the tart shell for baking

Line the flan with baking paper and baking beans (or dried chickpeas for us). Place the tin on a baking sheet, and bake in a 200C oven for 20 minutes (turns out that blind baking is not in actual fact, baking while trying to keep both eyes on the rugby game), removing the paper and the beans for the last 5 minutes. Allow the pastry shell to cool completely before you start filling it.

Blind baking

Completed pastry shell

For the filling, cream the cream cheese, yogurt, lemon curd, lemon rind and lemon juice to your desired consistency and taste. We kept our quite tart.

Prepare your berries by washing and slicing the strawberries, and mixing it with 1 table-spoon of icing sugar. When you are ready to serve, fill the pastry case with your cream cheese mixture, and top with the sweet berries.

Decorating the tart with berries

You can either do the final preparation right before you serve, but you can also do this a couple of hours before. If you fill the pastry shell immediately before serving, the shell will remain very crisp and crumbly, and if you fill it a couple of hours before it will soften the shell a bit, but it won’t lose it biscuit like quality.

The completed tart, giving chocolate a run for its money

Drinking with this recipe:

We were drinking white and  rosé wine with this recipe, which, based on how the morning after felt, is not something I would like to remember.

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Spring Day hangover – Chocolate drizzled Biscotti

Spring is back in Pretoria! After one insane winter – okay in fairness there was only really one cold month, but it did snow during that month (the first time snow was seen in the city since 1968) which I suppose does make it a pretty special winter. But 1 September saw every warm-blooded Pretoria male donning their favorite pair of shorts. This is code for an uncomfortable amount of middle-aged men walking around in old rugby shorts, grease stains and all.

In true Pretoria style, everyone had their own way of celebrating planned. Ours this year being to drink more white wine than we have since drinking became legal (legal for us that is, not the world). Oh yes, if I remember correctly, there was dinner involved as well.

As we are such good planners, we had the post night out hangover breakfast planned and taken care of, thanks to the LiveInBaker. She did explain that these rusk-like “biscotti” were tasty, and a sneaky way of getting some early fruit in, but I couldn’t fail to miss the fact that there was more chocolate than anything else on them. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Really I’m not!

Walnut and Cranberry Biscotti:

Ingredients:

  • 300g cake flour;
  • 150g castor sugar;
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder;
  • quarter teaspoon salt;
  • 3 eggs;
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 75g walnuts;
  • 75g dried cranberries;
  • dark chocolate to drizzle over.

Start by combining all the dry ingredients together (except the nuts and dried fruit) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla essence, and mix together with the dry ingredients. You should be left with a sticky dough. Lastly mix in the walnuts and the dried cranberries.

Divide the dough into 2, and form each one into a log shape, 25cm long and 5cm wide.

Bake each log in the oven (pre-heated to 150 degree celsius) for 40 minutes or until they are a light golden colour.

Immediately remove from the oven, and cut across the log so that you are left with slices that are between 1 to 2 cm thick.

Lay the slices on their side on a baking tray, and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until the visible side is a light golden colour. Flip the slices over and bake for the same amount of time.

Remove from the oven and let the slices cool. We melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it over the slices. This is not compulsory but is highly recommended.

Once cooled, pack away into a convenient air tight container as quickly as you can. I find my stomach works well for this.

Read our first attempt at making Biscotti.

Drinking with this recipe:

I don’t really remember what we drank the night before, except that it was white and crisp, and there might have been a rosé involved as well, but with this recipe we were only drinking coffee, strong coffee!

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