Gluten-Free and shamelessly delicious
Desserts are definitely my weakness. On the strictest diet i still give in and no I don’t feel guilty. Whilst this tart goes against probably every diet known to man, it will truly make the lack of self control worth every bite.
I am trying to come up with a delish fool-proof sweet pastry recipe to use for this tart. If you have any suggestions comment down below because I am stuck! I had to whip this up quick smart for an impromptu gathering so with no time to spare I sent Adam (My hubby) on a quest to find Gluten free sweet short crust pastry. When he walked in the door he handed me puff pastry… To be honest I was hopeful but kind of not that surprised. Out of sheer desperation I did something the “big guns” of the pastry world say you should never do.. I eyeballed my ingredients. I did plenty of pastry making in my pre-diagnosed days so I tried to base my findings on those. I played with a blend of gluten free all purpose flour, icing sugar, butter, egg yolks and Xanthan gum. I altered amounts as I went on so I cannot supply you with a proper recipe this time. The one time I am not writing things down and the darn thing turned out perfect! *slightly annoyed thankful it worked
I promise I will attempt this pastry a few more times and pay attention to the measurements. The pastry was a pleasure to handle, light, buttery, rich short bread-like. It was able to be rolled ridiculously thin and was quite forgiving. The filling was an delicate orange scented blend of mascarpone and ricotta cheese. Topped with perfectly sweet little strawberries that had been macerating in a bit of sugar, orange zest, balsamic vinegar and basil. My taste testers were my aunts and the reception was everything I had anticipated. “Not too sweet”, “subtle”, “great combination of flavours” were their words. The basil acts as a harmonious base note. You can’t pick up straight away that it is there yet you would notice if it was missing if that makes sense? probably not but I’m rolling with it.
Basil & Balsamic Strawberry Tart
1 sweet short crust tart base baked, cooled and ready to fill
400g strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
zest of 1 orange, divided two equal amounts
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp finely shredded basil, (about 4 big leaves)
60g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
1 tbsp brandy
juice of half an orange
To prepare the strawberries, place the fruit in a NON METAL bowl.
Add the balsamic vinegar, half of the orange zest, 1 tsp of lemon juice, caster sugar and basil. Gently toss to combine.
Cover with cling wrap and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes (longer is better).
For the filling, combine the mascarpone, ricotta, icing sugar, vanilla, the remaining orange zest and lemon juice.
Use a whisk and a bit of elbow grease and whip the mixture to a homogeneous fluffy mixture. (or use a mixer easy done)
Spread the cheese mixture into the tart base and allow to chill and firm up. About 15 minutes is plenty if your crunched for time.
*In the meantime, run your fingers around the bowl and enjoy the left overs * This is necessary trust me!
Strain the strawberries over a small saucepan.
On a medium flame, heat the juices along with the brandy and orange juice until it bubbles and reduces to the consistency of a syrup.
You should end up with just under 1 tablespoon of syrup. Allow to cool for 2 minutes
Arrange the strained strawberries on the tart any way that floats your boat. Drizzle the syrup over the top. Note: This tart keeps really well. It can be made a day in advance if need be. My only suggestion is that you don’t prepare the syrup until you are close to or ready to serve. The reason for this is because the syrup can become a sticky mess and its just easier to handle when it’s freshly made. Adding the syrup at the last minute prevents the syrup from running all over the shop.