Sunday, 31 March 2013

Strawberry Panna cotta Tart

Every once in a while I like to shop unprepared, rather than planning a meal before you venture to the market it can be very inspiring to let the produce speak for itself. When your feel inspired by certain ingredients it is effortless to put a dish together. 

Like most brits I have been a little fed up  by the ridiculous weather we have been having, snow at easter is never fun, usually around this time of the year spring has officially sprung and we are usually enjoying what the season has to offer, because the weather has been bitter I think that comforting warming food has been on the agenda. Fortunately at my local market they had manage to source some superb French strawberries, I teamed this with a local Yorkshire Lemon curd and homemade butter to make a tart to get rid of the winter blues. 
Rather than filling the pastry case with pastry cream I thought it would be better to fill it with a soft set panna cotta that is flavoured with the lemon curd, lemon brings out the sweetness in strawberries and will cut through the richness of the cream. This was a total experiment that I think really worked, my son absolutely adored it.

You will need:
For the pastry:

85g of butter
85g of caster sugar
2 tsp of vegetable oil
200g of plain flour
2 egg yolks
the zest of one lemon
a pinch of maldon salt
40ml of lemon juice 

Firstly blend the vegetable oil and the flour together until it looks like damp sand, the oil will prevent the butter from being absorbed by the flour, if it stays in small lumps it will result in a very short and flaky pastry. Add the Sugar and butter and continue to mix (this can be done in a food processor on pulse). Add the yolks, zest, salt and juice and mix until it only just comes together, wrap and chill the pastry for at least half an hour. Butter a 20cm loose bottomed tart tin ready for the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Roll out the pastry until it is 3mm thick, lay this onto the tart tin and lift the pastry to let it fall into the corners, this will ensure that the pastry will not shrink too much. Do not trim the edges until the pastry is cooked. Place a layer of grease proof or foil onto the pastry and place either baking beans or coins onto the grease proof to ensure that the pastry will remain flat. 

Cook in the oven for 15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Whisk an egg yolk up and brush the cooked pastry all over with it, this will ensure that the tart shell will not leak. Return the yolk washed pastry back to the oven for a few minutes, then trim the edges with a knife.

For the filling:
400ml of double cream
100ml of soy milk
4 tbsp of great lemon curd
the zest of one lemon
2 vanilla pods split and the seeds scraped out
2 tbsp of vanilla sugar
2 tbsp of caster sugar
a pinch of maldon salt
3 gelatin leaves

In a saucepan add all the ingredients apart from the gelatin leaves. Allow all the flavour to cook for 15 minutes on a very low heat, this ensures that the flavours will infuse into the cream. Meanwhile soak the gelatin leaves in cold water until they become soft, drain the leaves , remove the cream from the heat and stir the leaves into the cream, stir until they dissolve. Sieve the cream into the tart tin and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. Top with strawberries or any other berries you you like and brush with warmed apricot jam. 

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