Summer break has disappeared rather quickly! It's hard to believe that Soeren will be back at school next week after 8 weeks - as a 2nd grader! Things were to be a bit different this year, I know. He would not only have had a new class but also a new school, new friends and a whole different country to get acquainted with.
It was not to be and in a way I am happy. He has taken pleasure in enjoying his friends intensely over the summer and is also looking forward to celebrating his 7th birthday later this month amongst familiar faces. The prospect of celebrating in a new unfamiliar place was not very appealing to him and although he did not let me feel it, he was a bit shaken at the idea.
Soeren is a strong but very sensitive boy and picks up on the slightest bit if uneasiness or distress. His sensibility tells him to be strong and not to show his vulnerability, but being his mum, my sensors do pick up the signals and I am inclined to do my best to make him feel comfortable.
Over the two weeks we spent in Denmark we had a lot of time to discuss several issues with him. It was important for him to know what has been happening and basically that even though our path has changed that we are all going to go along the new one together. We did not have the opportunity to do this properly while it was happening. He did not understand - one minute he was sorting out and packing up his toys the next minute he had to unpack everything again. He knew things were not going the way they were planned to and he picked up the signals that we were very much in turmoil and stress. He made jokes to hide confusion and became clingy to console his insecurities.
When you are neck deep and shoveling like mad, you lack the time to explain in great detail. I myself often had a tough time keeping my composure. Every time questioned about our change of plans, all I wanted to do was scream and cry out "leave me alone!"
Denmark was the balsam we needed. Yes we did run away! It did not resolve any of the actual issues on hand but it did help us get away - to think and to talk! We were able to take time to to clear up Soeren's confusions and take away his insecurities. And although our problems have not gone away yet, we have returned a little bit stronger. Even though Soeren is still clingy, I am able to console him with a new freshness and stamina.
To spoil us I am making use of all summer has to offer. Before they totally disappear, berries, berries and more berries. My refrigerator is full with several types already and after a weekend at my in-laws I returned with more ripe home-grown blueberries, gooseberries and red currents!
For today's recipe I am using strawberries for a dessert I made shortly before we left on vacation. It's a divine tart that will soothe away any ails and worries for sure!
Strawberry Yogurt Mascarpone Tart
[Print Recipe here]
For the pastry crust
150g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, preferably organic lemon
60g fine sugar
1 vanilla bean, insides scraped
80g butter, softened
30g almonds, peeled and finely ground
1 tablespoon cold water
For the filling
200g Greek yogurt
40g icing sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 gelatin leaves
For the topping
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
Handful of pistachios, chopped (optional)
- To make the pastry crust place all the ingredients in a bowl and using your hands knead into a nice smooth dough. Cover in plastic wrap and put the dough into the refrigerator for approx. 2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
- On a clean surface sprinkle some flour and roll out the pastry to fit a round tart form (26 cm diameter). Press the pastry up the sides and with a fork pierce several holes into it. Cover with some baking paper, fill with pie weights or dried beans and blind bake in the oven for approx. 10 minutes. Remove the baking paper and pie weights/beans carefully and bake the pie crust for another 5 minutes. Take out and allow to cool slightly in the form.
- Soak the gelatin for approx. 5 minutes.
- In a clean bowl mix together yogurt, mascarpone, icing sugar and lemon juice.
- Take 2 tablespoons of the yogurt-mascarpone mixture and gently warm in a saucepan. Squeeze out the water from the gelatin and dissolve in the mixture. Add another 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture to the saucepan and stir. Finally pour the entire mixture into the bowl with the rest of the yogurt-mascarpone mixture. Stir to incorporate well.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust and place in the fridge to set – approx- 2 hours.
- In the meantime, wash and hull the strawberries. Cut into halves. When the tart is ready remove from fridge and set the strawberries close together over the yogurt-mascarpone filling.
- Heat the strawberry jam gently in a saucepan to make it easier to spread. Then drizzle over the strawberries and allow to set.
Food Guide tips:
- How to select and store strawberries
- Versatile almonds
Pie crusts and shortcrust pastry need to be partially pre-cooked to prevent them from getting soggy when the moist fillings are added. This process is called blind baking. It basically seals the surface and keeps the pastry case crisp and flakey.
The basic way to blind bake is simply covering your pastry dough, after it has been rolled out and lined the tart, with a sheet of baking/parchment paper and then filling with dried beans or rice. One can buy special pie weights at the stores but in my opinion dried beans do the trick very well. I have a bag full of kidney beans that I re-use a few times for blind baking.
It is a lavish tart and brought us much pleasure. I mean, a delicious crispy crust with a hint of lemon, a creamy filling and plenty of juicy strawberries would catch anybodys fancy I presume. For us it simply meant comfort - lavish comfort.
You might like these delicious tarts from WFLH:
|Minty Peach & Cardamom Goat Cheese Tart||Chocolate Caramel Tart||Toblerone Tart|
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