Baking|Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread Crust – Edible containers for Daring Bakers

“The truth is that life is delicious, horrible, charming, frightful, sweet, bitter, and that is everything.”
Anatole France

Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread CrustI’ve never delayed a Daring Baker challenge this long before, and it gave me palpitations! Seriously, in my 3 years as DB, I’ve usually hit the ground running within the first week. This time around things just don’t seem to want to fall into place. My blog was throttling me, in addition to a million other things {you really don’t want to know, and life goes on!} Well,  I completed the challenge a few hours ago , and happily so!Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread Crust

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

I didn’t to the maple mousse as authentic maple syrup is very expensive here, and not  easily available. The other bit of the challenge was the edible container. Heavens knows I had thoughts, many edible delicious thoughts, but summer in India is treacherous. With daytime highs already hitting 40C, melting mousses is more the call! My thoughts of sugar cookie boxes, cream rolls, spun sugar, chocolate coffee mugs with an espresso mousse, a pistachio meringue with lemon curd mousse all laid to rest!Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread CrustI liked Evelynes idea of nut bowls, and of course got mighty distracted. I eventually googled my way and found Mollie Katzens Strawberry Meringue Tart with Walnut Shortbread Crust. It looked absolutely gorgeous and I had 2 boxes of strawberries on hand. I was fascinated by the beautiful meringue on topBUT Fast track desserts one day before the posting date = BAD IDEA! Once I got the tart shells baking {walnut shortbread tart shells = edible containers!}, I put the berries to simmer…Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread Crust It was only half way through that I realised I was actually making a strawberry curd, very similar to a pastry cream. It did look deep pink and gorgeous once done, and I happily ladled it into my very delicate edible containers. One word of caution on the tart shells – they are very delicate {and very delicious too!}. Maybe the dough was overly soft as the weather is so warm here. I would probably add another 1/4 cup flour next time around, or would use this walnut shortcrust pastry dough that I used in these Dark Chocolate and Sour Orange Walnut Tartlets. Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread CrusI happily spooned my very cheerful looking strawberry curd into the tart shells and offered a small taster to Mr PAB. He doesn’t mince his words unfortunately, and I hated him when he said it wasn’t the best. I could have strangled him as posting date was around the corner; he looked positively unhappy. He suggested it might taste better after chilling in the fridge for a bit, and I knew this wasn’t looking good! {He said it had a slight eggy flavour. For me, that is just doesn’t work at all!!}Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread CrustTurned the oven off, pushed the whites away; sadly there was going to be no meringue! Off to my beloved kitchen, mind working overtime, I began whipping cream. I would do a whipped strawberry curd cream filling, and all would be well with the world again! In went a dash of sugar {and vanilla bean powder to it as well}, and it was whipped it to medium stiff peaks. I then folded half the strawberry curd into it. I can say I felt much better, and one lick of the spatula told me that the sun was shining again!! Mr PAB gave this version a beamer!

Thank you Evelyne for the delicious challenge.{I’m sorry I couldn’t do the maple mousse}.  Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by HERE and check out how the stunning creativity of the other Daring Bakers!

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Baking| Strawberry & Lemon Curd Shortbread

“Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.”
G.K. Chesterton

Strawberry & Lemon Curd ShortbreadDesperate times call for desperate measures! Even though the magnitude of my troubles was minuscule, 3 days of no internet reduced me to tears. Silly how addicted and dependent we can be on the internet. Sometime back, sweet Joy from Gourmeted tweeted about Lemon Curd & Shortbread Bars. I had a small jar of left over lemon curd in the freezer and this recipe called my name. Saved the link as the net is just a heartbeat away; well almost always… Strawberry & Lemon Curd ShortbreadLittle did I know!! We have massive roadworks being carried out for rain harvesting which have meant underground telephone cables being cut pretty often. The cable company always has them up and running the same day; not this time though as the damage was extensive. Oh the untold anguish and the feeling of being cut-off…Strawberry Lemon Curd ShortbreadThese wedges were something born out of desperation as I finally gave up and decided to bake ‘anything shortbread’ with the lemon curd and strawberries. Cookbooks yielded nothing, so I eventually put together a basic shortbread recipe for the base, topped it with the lemon curd, and then threw on some strawberries to add colour and taste. Slivered almonds on top  for crunch seemed to crown these well. Strawberry Lemon Curd ShortbreadMy love for fruit in baking continues unabated. I managed to get a neat stash of strawberries the other day at a really good price. The challenge of course was to use them judiciously and deliciously so they wouldn’t disappoint! Froze some, made some strawberry muffins {recipe to be blogged}, and then made this shortbread.Strawberry Lemon Curd Shortbread’twas soon time to tempt the teen out of her diet, and these had her eating out of my hand, no fuss, nothing! Ah the power of food, always A M A Z I N G!! I enjoyed making these. Loved the different textures, the colours, and the burst of flavours from the rather buttery unsweetened shortbread to the sweet tart lemon curd, the strawberries lending their ever promising magic to the wedges. Bye bye diet, hello happiness!!Strawberry Lemon Curd ShortbreadIt’s always handy to have lemon curd on hand. Have you tried making your own? I use a simple home made lemon curd recipe from Ju @ Little Teochew. It freezes beautifully too, and am contemplating doing a batch of orange lemon curd once before the season bids us adieu.

Strawberry Lemon Curd Shortbread Strawberry & Lemon Curd Shortbread
Delicious and light, the crisp buttery shortbread base is complimented beautifully by simple homemade lemon curd – the flavours tart & sweet.  Strawberries add a unique dimension to this indulgent dessert.
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Cooking time: 45 mins | Servings: 6 | Meal type: High tea / Dessert
Biscuit Crust:
100g butter, chilled, cut into cubes
3/4 cup plain flour
Topping:
2/3 cup easy homemade lemon curd
100g fresh strawberries, diced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a loose bottomed 7″ round tart pan.
Run the flour and butter in blender until you get a breadcrumb like mix. Press into the bottom of a removable base 7″ round tart pan.
Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes, until light brown Take out of oven, top with lemon curd followed by strawberries. Sprinkle the slivered almonds over.
Return to oven and continue to bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes till the edges begin to get light brown.
Cool on rack, cut into wedges and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream.
Variations
You can use other seasonal fruit like blueberries, raspberries etc.
Strawberry Lemon Curd ShortbreadThank you for stopping by
Copyright © Deeba @ Passionate About Baking

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I have a winner for the CSN giveaway… It’s Michelle @ Big Black Dog who said, “I know exactly what I want at CNS, a pizelle maker!”. Congrats Michelle. Mailing you soon!!

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Baking| Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd Napoleans … ♥Happy V Day♥

“Gastronomy is and always has been connected with its sister…
…art of love.”

M.F.K. Fisher

Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd Napoleans14th morning is always an action replay of the days gone by. He will come and announce {without fail} that we first met on the 13th of Feb many years ago. 21 years!! Can’t believe it’s been that long. Mr PAB has a memory that astounds me,  and in many ways is my personal journal – birthdays, anniversaries, who died when etc, each day with marked by an event significant to the time elapsed. He offers me time-lines whether I want it or not, often a balm to my cluttered mind. I do the more mundane practical stuff -  insurances, bank work, bills, payday for Man Friday, the gardener etc!Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd NapoleansRed is the colour of passion or so they say. IMHO, V Day is much over-hyped and a commercial oversell for new lovers! Me? Give me the vibrant colours of nature and I’m inspired. Roasted red bell pepper sauce, a fiery yet sweet Sriracha {finally made it and it’s yum!}, strawberries … all colour my world. {Daughters red painting too!}redI am far from a mushy V Day person, yet there’s something magnetic about all the red one sees around this time of the year. It tends to get to me, making me obsess about a Valentine Day special, for PAB though. Blogs are resplendent with sweetheart desserts, one more charming than the other,  often more amazing than any you’ve ever seen, and they egg me on to post some love on V Day too.Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd NapoleansI fell for the trap of this love filled or rather love-fueled day. More red & more lv after the heart shaped Strawberry Meringue Chocolate Layer Cake. The bazaar is still flooded with the most gorgeous red strawberries, the second annual wave in India every year. The fruit & veggie vendor, or fruitwala, is a persuasive fellow, charming me with the shiny red berry. Knocks off a fraction of the price. ‘Specially for you,‘ he says. In my heart I know he says this to many regulars, but I get talked into it and come back in a gleeful mood.Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd NapoleansWhat shall I make is the eternal question? Waffles are really on top of my list since I saw El’s gorgeous Belgian Waffles post, but after a headless chicken dance on soccer Saturday, a Sunday morning waffle exercise falls flat. By the time we get our act together, it’s almost time for lunch. The teen has been up doing art work since 5am and at 8am decides its time for nap number 2. Wild horses can’t drag the dieting diva out of bed … so dessert it has to be!Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd NapoleansRough puff pastry in the freezer is a bad thing, possibly worse than I ever thought it would be. Do you think so too? It has hypnotizing powers and is the easiest thing to have in the freezer. Did me in for World Nutella Day when I made Nutella Strawberry Puff Pastry Hearts. It threw me a line of temptation yesterday too. Quick check of the fridge revealed low fat cream, home made easy lemon curd, strawberries and of course rough puff pastry! Time for mille fueille, the classic French dessert which holds endless charm, and one I’ve never baked before. Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd NapoleansIf you have puff pastry on hand, this is an indulgent dessert on fast track. I used whipped lemon curd cream instead of pastry cream, the latter I think is quintessential to the classic version. Also cut out a few hearts on top to go with the V Day theme, gave the tops a brushing of egg yolk, and sprinkled some vanilla sugar on top {which you can see got caramelised}. I suppose regular puff pastry would yield a more layered Napoleon vis-a-vis rough puff pastry, but the later is simpler to make at home and is fine with me.Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd Napoleans

The Napoleon is a pastry made of many layers of puff pastry with filling alternating the layers. It can be eaten as a dessert, or even as a decadent meal. As a French pastry it is called mille-feuilles, or thousand leaves, and it is usually filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, and fruit preserves – most often raspberry jam. The topping may be simply powdered sugar, or a layer of fondant, often with strings of chocolate drawn into a chevron design. In Italy, where the pastry is thought to have originated in Naples, it is called mille foglie (again, thousand leaves), and contains a similar layering like the mille-feuilles of cream, pastry cream, and fruit preserves. A traditional napoleon is filled with plain pastry cream but if desired you may add a thin layer of fruit preserves such as seedless raspberry or strawberry jam or preserves to the filling.

Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd NapoleansStrawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd Napoleans
200ml low fat cream
200gms strawberries, sliced
1 egg yolk lightly whisked with a fork for glaze

Vanilla sugar for sprinkling {optional}

Method:
Roll out the puff pastry to a 1/4″ height, trim the edges, and cut into 9 equal rectangles. Cut out hearts in 3 of them if you like, and place rectangles and cut out hearts on a baking tray.
Place tray in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 225C.
Brush the pastry with the glaze, sprinkle with vanilla sugar if using, and bake for 20-25 minutes till puffy and golden.
Cool on racks, and then carefully split each horizontally into 2 with a sharp knife. or the tines of a fork. {You can get 3 layers if you use regular and not rough puff pastry}
Whip the cream to medium peak, and then gently but thoroughly fold in the lemon curd. The cream should thicken quite well now. {You won’t need to add sugar as the lemon curd is quite sweet on it’s own.}
Reserve the heart cut out layers for the pastry tops. {I used the tops and bottoms to give me ♥ cut out tops}
Spread about 1 1/2 tbsp of the whipped lemon curd cream on the bottom layer, and layer with strawberry slices. Top with a middle layer of pastry. Repeat and finally top with remaining pastry layers. Garnish with sliced strawberries if you like. Chill up to 1 hour.Strawberry & Whipped Lemon Curd Napoleans

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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