Bright Red And Sexy

The first glimpses of summer are making their way to Germany. In and around the area of Langenargen many farmers plant small strawberry fields and the first batch is now being sold. You can usually find them in little fruit stands with bright red umbrellas and an elderly gentleman reading a newspaper. For 2,80 Euros a pound, these small, sweet, and bright red strawberries are a steal. I picked out two baskets, and smiled as I handed the old man the necessary change. I could smell the sweet sun-filled strawberries as I placed them into my canvas bag and couldn’t resist a taste- pure heavenly goodness, the way strawberries are supposed to taste. The inside was through and through red, no white or light pink to be found- the color of a true strawberry, bright red and sexy.

Besides eating strawberries fresh out of the basket, I love them with cream, and with rhubarb. What about a sweet threesome, cream, rhubarb, and strawberries all in one? I think so. I love strawberries fresh, not cooked, baked, or frozen- the texture changes too much. Therefore, I made this elegant tart filled with vanilla cream custard, rhubarb compote, and topped with fresh strawberries. Of course all ingredients are organic to boot and the crust is made with 2/3 part spelt flour. What else could be better on a warm, sunny day, than sitting on the porch, with friends and family enjoying a fresh cup of cafĂ© and a slice of the strawberry tart? Hmmm….I can only think of one thing, but that will have to wait.

Strawberries not only taste wonderful, but they of course carry along healthy benefits. They are stock full of antioxidants with 1 cup containing 148% of your daily vitamin C. Strawberries also rank as the best fruit source of manganese, which is a key cofactor for antioxidant activity. For those wanting to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, or for those with type 2 diabetes, strawberries contain polyphenols, which help reduce blood sugar elevations when simultaneously consumed with other foods. Now you can thoroughly enjoy this lovely summer dessert without guilt or hindsight!

Strawberry Rhubarb Summer Tart
Makes a 20 cm tart

For the Crust
Makes two small (20 cm) or 1 large (26 cm)
150 grams spelt flour
100 grams flour
125 gram butter, sliced thin
1 egg
70 grams sugar
1 sprinkle salt
Zest of 1 lemon

1.  Add the about ingredients into a bowl and knead by hand until a smooth ball is formed. Allow the dough to rest a minimum of 1 hour in the refrigerator.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a 20 cm tart pan. Roll out half of the dough on a floured surface and put the dough into the tart pan. With a fork poke holes along the bottom and the sides of the crust. (Optional) Add pie weights to bake the crust uniformly.
3.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the crust sit for 5 minutes and carefully remove the crust from the pan. I quickly turn the crust upside down on my hand, remove the tart pan, and place the rack on top. Then I flip the crust right side up. Allow the crust to cool on a wire rack.

For the Rhubarb Compote
For a 20 cm tart
2 large sticks rhubarb (about 42 cm long)
½ cup water
70 grams sugar
½ vanilla bean, scraped
juice of ½ lemon
1 shot fruit schnapps, I used raspberry (optional)

1.  Dice the fresh rhubarb into small pieces and add to a small saucepan with water. 2.  Add the sugar, vanilla bean, and lemon and allow the mixture to slowly simmer. Cook down until it is thick.
3.  Add the schnapps and allow the compote to boil up once more and remove from heat. Allow the compote to cool completely.

For the Vanilla Cream
Filling for a 20 cm tart
200 ml whole milk
110 ml cream
50 grams sugar
3 egg yolks
1 Tblsp cornstarch
1 Tblsp flour
½ vanilla bean, scraped

1.  Pour the milk and cream into a small saucepan.
2.  Cut the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds into a saucepan. Add the whole bean as well. Heat bean, milk, and cream, slowly until it begins to boil.
3.  Meanwhile, in separate bowl mix egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt, and 2 Tbsp of hot milk. Mix until smooth and creamy.
4.  While whisking, slowly add the egg yolk mixture to the hot milk. Allow the cream to come up to a boil and quickly remove from heat. Do not stop stirring until you have removed it from the heat, otherwise it will burn on the bottom.
5.  Allow the cream to cool to room temperature.

Fresh & Sweet Strawberries
1 lb. washed and dried, enough for 20 cm tart and a little snacking

Assembly of Tart:
1.  Spread the creamy custard on the bottom. Allow for enough room for the compote and single layer of strawberries.
2. Spread the rhubarb compote on top of the cream until 1 mm or so from the top of tart.
3.  Slice each strawberry individually while laying them on top of the tart in a circle. Start on the outer edge and work your way towards the middle. Overlap each circle a little bit and finish the center with a whole strawberry. Refrigerate until serving time.
Optional: I finished the tart with a clear cake glaze by Dr. Oetker. I don’t know if you can find this pre-made package in America. If you can find it, follow the directions on the package. It keeps the strawberries fresh for a longer period of time and gives it a professional finish. However, if you are serving the tart immediately you do not need to cover it with a glaze.

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