Do no get mixed up, when I talk about my valentine, I do not talk about my dutchie, at least not today! Valentine is the nickname we give to a good girlfriend of mine who can sometimes get very grumpy (we are then more tempted to name her otherwise) but can also be a doll when she wants, hence her nickname.
I saw valentine last weekend in her parents appartment in Le Touquet Paris-Plage on the north sea cost of France. A beautiful beach resort built in the middle of a beautiful pine tree forest and dunes where I happened to be born (lucky me!). Valentine was a bit tired from a sleepless trip to Paris but she was still very valentine when we arrived. But then, it rained, and rained and rained... In between two showers, we still managed to enjoy the market, to drool in front of the best pastry shop in town and have a walk in the duins. We even braved the stormy weather to go out and party all night.... But then Valentine fell and hurt her arm, the one she had just broke a short time ago. Even if she tried, Valentine was not really valentine anymore after that.
To chear her up, here is the strawberry tart I made in a flash when she came to see us in the Hague for her birthday, last june. Just like me valentine's favourite birthday cake is strawberry tart. Except from delicious fragrant dutch strawberries, my fridge was almost empty that day. Nevertheless, I think this was one of my best strawberry tarts. I didn't have enough milk and eggs to make enough custard, so I mixed it with what was left of my fat free "fromage blanc" I have for breakfast. I was surprised by the result: the texture was light and not watery at all as I first dreaded and married really well with the strawberries... Come on Valentine, give us a smile, this is for you (please leave a slice for sophie too... it seems she's on a sugar crave: here's a desert, now you 're happy?):
Valentine is more than 3... but I had a shortage of birthday candles!
A strawberry tart for valentine
prep. 15 min, cooking: 15min
500g small tasty stawberries
1 (ready-made) shortcrust pastry (roll)
1 egg yolk
2 Tsp sugar
a pinch of powdered vanilla
a small glass of low fat milk
5 Tsp of "fromage blanc" (I used fat free fromage blanc and it worked perfectly, but the real stuff is of course fine too)
optional - lavender sirup (or something else: grand marnier, other syrup...)
If like me you are short of time and have a well furnished freezer just pick a shortcrust pastry roll out of your freezer at least half an hour before, if you have more time, a home made shortcrust dough is always a plus. Preheat your oven at 200 deg. Put the crust in a tart mould, prick with a fork and cover with dried beans, stones or whatever you normally use to prevent the crust from raising, Bake for 15 min. In the mean time, warm up the milk with a pinch of grounded vanilla on low fire (it shouldn't boil!). In a bowl, whip the egg yolk with the 2 Tsp of sugar and a pinch of salt until the mixture becomes white. Transfer in a pan, add the milk slowly while stiring and stir regularly on low fire until it thickens. Here's for the custard. Leave it too cool. In a bowl, pour the fromage blanc with 1 Tsp of lavender syrup, sugar or sweetener. Whip until firm and shiny. Reserve in the fridge Pour the chestnut cream, butter in a bowl and mix until smooth. Wash your strawberries and remove the green bits (if they are small you can leave them whole, otherwise cut them into 2 in the length). You're almost done! mix the custard and whipped "fromage blanc" together. Garnish the tart shortcrust with the mixture in an even layer and then dispose the strawberries nicely. A little cloud of icing sugar over that et voila!