Semolina Pudding

One of my favorite childhood comfort foods, and although you can add lots of different flavors, I like mine simple just made with milk and sugar!

I remembered what my grandmother made me when I use to sleep over at her place without my parents. It made me feel safe and warm and occasionally I still make this for myself when I get nostalgic about my childhood.

Ingredients

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 4 tbsp semolina
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa or chocolate powder
  • grated chocolate for decoration

Preparation

  1. Pour the milk in the small saucepan and heat it on medium to high temperature until it boils.
  2. Lower the temperature to medium low and add semolina and sugar. Whisk it intensively until it thickens. Remove from the heat.
  3. Divide it in two equal parts. In one part mix in the cocoa powder.
  4. You can add so many different flavors according to your desires: cinnamon, honey, nuts, dried fruits.

Zvonimir’s note: I made this so many times that I developed a variation that combines step one and two. Not only is it quicker to make, it’s also smoother, perfect thickness, with lower chance of lumps. Downside: it takes some practice, so it might take a few tries to get the results you came here for.
If you’re up for the challenge (and for the rewards), here’s how it goes.
Add sugar before the milk boils (it raises the boiling temperature). As the milk comes close to boil but not yet boiling, lower the heat, (not too low, you still want it to boil eventually). Start slowly adding semolina and stir with a spatula (not a whisk).
Keep going at a pace where semolina doesn’t get a chance to form lumps before you stir it away.
Keep going until the milk surface starts resisting semolina grains and they start taking longer to sink (you’ll know it when you see it) as the milk comes even closer to boil. At that point stop adding semolina, optionally lower the heat a bit more, depending on your stove, and keep stirring diligently, keeping the semolina from getting stuck on the bottom.

Zvonimir’s extra tips: now if you mastered that and want more, there’s a way to make it even softer while keeping the consistency. Yes, really.
I discovered this by accident, like a lot of great things sometimes are, but then played with it and practiced to get the technique right.
Do everything the same up to a point when you’re adding semolina, but stop before you put the right amount of semolina into the milk.
This would normally make a runnier semolina, so we need to do something to get the thickness back. Add extra fine breadcrumbs that taste as bland as possible, while constantly stirring (the same way you would semolina). The breadcrumbs need to soften and combine with the semolina so you need to cook it on lower heat than usual, for longer. The breadcrumbs you use will make a big difference so experiment with the type/brand (some may affect the aroma), amount, when you add them and the heat.
You don’t want them to overtake the semolina. Use a lot less breadcrumbs than semolina.
Breadcrumbs are a lot less sticky than semolina and they will make the semolina fluffier and lighter. When you get the technique down, no one will be able to tell what the secret ingredient is 😉
Now wait until you hear about my pancake tips…

Decorate with some grated chocolate 😀

What is your favorite childhood dish?

Royal Pie

This is one of those recipes I got from a friend’s grandmother written in an old notebook. It didn’t even have baking temperature nor time written! Well, in the old days they had wooden stoves and weren’t able to regulate it anyway, so this does make sense 🙂

Combination of chocolate and walnuts with a zesty jam will win you over forever 😀

Royal Pie

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 100 g (7 tbsp) butter
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100 g (1 cup) pastry flour
  • 100 g (1 cup) ground walnuts

For the cream

  • 150 g (10 tbsp) softened butter
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 150 g (10 tbsp) melted dark chocolate
  • 5 egg whites

For the chocolate glaze

  • 100 g (6 1/2 tbsp) dark chocolate
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) butter
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 beaten egg
  • jam of your choice (I used black current jam)

Preparation

  1. Knead the dough from all the dough ingredients, wrap in cling wrap and let it rest for half an hour in the refrigerator.
  2. Roll the dough and place it in a round 26 cm (10 in) diameter pie pan.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven on 170 °C (340 °F) until baked only half way! (10-12 min).
  4. Meanwhile make the cream. Melt the chocolate either on steam or in the microwave.
  5. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until firm peak.
  6. In a large bowl, mix sugar with egg yolks until foamy, add the butter and the melted chocolate.
  7. With spatula gently mix in previously firmly beaten egg whites.
  8. Take the halfway baked cake out of the oven and spread the jam thinly on the dough.
  9. Pour the cream on the jam. Bake until done, for another 10-15 minutes.
  10. Cool the cake before you put the glaze on.
  11. For the glaze melt the chocolate with butter and oil. Remove from heat and add the beaten egg. This is grandma’s secret touch 🙂

Serving: Sprinkle with some finely chopped walnuts for decoration!

We all have some old recipes passed done from generations before. What’s yours?

Pineapple and Strawberry Smoothie

Since I recently became a Mum, being busy with the baby doesn’t give me much time to eat 😂
That’s why I like to make smoothies and shakes to get my vitamins and minerals faster 😉
Having a healthy drink helps a lot!

Ingredients

  • half of pineapple
  • 450 g (2 3/4 cups) fresh strawberries
  • 250 ml (1 cup) of milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

Preparation

Mix all ingredients in the blender. This quantity makes two 300 ml glasses.

Tip: Freeze pineapple ahead for smoother texture and the colder punch!

What is your go to drink for energy boost?

Eggnog Chocolate Mousse

When Zvonimir and I arrived to Canada, it was just before Christmas season, and eggnog was one of our first “must try” discoveries. Inspired by the ongoing competition between hot chocolate and eggnog, we decided to make a fusion and end this story in an everlasting love affair 🙂

With Christmas on its way, we thought you might like to try this as a decadent, creamy, winter dessert 😀

Eggnog Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

  • 2-3 ginger cookies (optional) for a crunchy twist!
  • 2 small vanilla instant pudding (3.4 ounces each)
  • 375 ml (1½ cup) milk
  • 500 ml (2 cups) of eggnog
  • 230 ml (8 oz or 1 cup) Cool whip or whipped cream
  • 200 g (3/4 cup) melted chocolate of your choice

Preparation

  1. Mix the pudding, eggnog and milk in a bowl for about 2 minutes, then mix in the cool whip or whipped cream (without actually whipping it, confusing, I know).
  2. Put half of the mixture in a glass, add some crushed ginger cookies, and pour the rest of the mixture over the cookies. Serve the mousse in bowls or any way you like.
  3. Melt the chocolate on steam or in the microwave.
  4. Place the melted chocolate on top, cool overnight in the fridge and enjoy eating it the next day.
  5. You can add some cookies on top for decoration.

Are you eggnog or hot chocolate team? 😀

Christmas Tree Jam Cookies

This week is all about Christmas cookies 🙂 This is one of many variations of classic Linzer cookies that are very popular in Croatia. Traditionally they come with a hole on one side, allowing jam some breathing room and an audience 😉

They originally came to our Christmas tables from Linz, Austria, which is where they got the name from. Interestingly, they originated as a small version of world’s oldest torte recipe: Linzer Torte. Torte was created in the 17th and the cookies took two more centuries to develop, seeing the first light of day in the 19th century.

Ingredients

  • 300 g (2 1/4 cup) all purpose flour
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) starch
  • 90 g (1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp) of powdered sugar
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • 210 g (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) cold butter, cut into slices
  • 4 egg yolks

Preparation

  1. Knead the dough from all the ingredients.
  2. Let it rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 °C (395 °F).
  4. Roll out thinly and make cookies in shapes of your choice with a variety of molds. I used Christmas tree mold because Christmas 😀
  5. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. When cooled, spread them with the jam of your choice ( I used apricot), connect two by two and decorate according to your own inspiration.

For decoration mix egg whites with powered sugar to make the icing and sprinkle them with colorful decorations.

Tell us what’s your favorite Christmas cookie in the comments bellow!

Chocolate Crinkles

Every Christmas, a platter of cookies is something I always look forward to. I have a TO BAKE Christmas list with a new addition every year. A few years back I made these delicious crinkles, and they keep reappearing on the list 😀
These are simple to make and fun to eat, great way to include your kids in spending quality family time baking 🙂

Chocolate Crinkles

Ingredients

Makes about 40 cookies

  • 225 g (1 cup) good quality dark chocolate (at least 78% cocoa)
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) butter
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225 g (1 3/4 cup) all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • icing sugar for dusting

Preparation

  1. Brake chocolate roughly into pieces and stir together with the butter.
  2. Melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler on steam. Stir constantly until the ingredients dissolve. When done remove from the heat and cool off.
  3. Mix the eggs with sugar on high speed until the mixture is light and thick, add the vanilla extract and slowly add melted chocolate.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to taste. Stir them into the egg and chocolate mixture, cover, and then store in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours. Dough should be sufficiently chilled and firm so it can be nicely shaped.
  5. Preheat the oven to 170 °C (340 °F).
  6. Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Shape the cookies with hands into balls, size a bit less than the size of a walnut.
  8. Roll them in powdered sugar until they are completely covered.
  9. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them for 10-12 minutes until they get crust on the outside. They should still remain soft inside.
  10. Cool them on the rack before serving.

What will you bake for the first time this Christmas?

Išleri Cookies

Tasty cocoa cookies dipped into chocolate and filled with delicious cream that resembles the cream used for cream puffs. This type of cookie is typical for northern and eastern Croatia. These are traditional cookies prepared for many occasions, especially Christmas and weddings. They can also be yellow with cocoa cream.

Ingredients

makes 20 combined cookies

Dough

  • 200 g (1 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 140 g (1/2 cup) butter
  • 70 g (6 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp cocoa

Cream

  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 100 g (1/3 cup) butter
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) vanilla sugar

Glaze

  • 60 g (1/3 cup) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil

Preparation

  1. Of the ingredients knead the dough, roll out thinly between two sheets of parchment paper and cut into circles. I used shot glass 😀
  2. Bake them between 5-10 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 °C (355 °F). They just need to get a little color. You need to take them out even if they are a bit soft, leave them on the cooling rack, they will later harden. Let them cool completely.
  3. In the meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Melt the chocolate with oil and dip half of the cookies. Let them cool on the rack before connecting them with cream.
  4. For the cream, mix eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar until combined.
  5. Cook the cream in double boiler or on low heat. Steer with spatula. That way the cream doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook the cream until it’s thick. Let it cool off completely. In the cooled cream mix in well-made butter.
  6. Combine chocolate covered cookie with the uncovered one with cream.

Decorate as you like 🙂

What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Walnut Roll

Most Croats cannot imagine their celebration, whatever the occasion is, especially Christmas, without the Orahnjača – Walnut roll, traditional Croatian recipe for yeast-based dessert.

Along with the walnut filling, poppy seed filling is common. Usually, one roll is made with walnuts and the other with poppy seeds. This recipe makes two rolls.

This recipe is part of Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World cookbook, amazing cookbook with over 400 pages that shares many recipes you can use all year round. All proceeds are going to Action Against Hunger.


Ingredients for the dough

  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 20 g (5 tsp) vanilla sugar
  • 500 ml (2 cup) milk
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) dry yeast
  • 800 g (7 2/3 cup) all purpose flour
  • 115 g (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp of rum (optional)
  • zest of two lemons

Ingredients for the filling

  • 500 g (5 1/2 cup) walnuts, ground
  • 2 egg whites
  • 200 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 100 ml (1/2 cup) milk, scalded
  • 1 tsp rum (optional)

Many Croats put raisins in the filling, previously soaked in rum, but I’m not a fan 😀

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl mix flour, yeast, salt, sugar and vanilla sugar.
  2. Add egg yolks in the flour mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl warm the milk (not hot) and add butter to dissolve.
  4. Slowly mix in milk and butter mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon or with electric mixer spirals until blisters begin to form on the dough and the dough starts removing from the bowl edges.
  5. Add rum and lemon zest. Mix well until combined.
  6. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it stand in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  8. Pour the scalded milk over the ground walnuts.
  9. Combine with sugar and rum. Allow to cool.
  10. Gently fold in beaten egg whites.
  11. To assemble spread flour on a large table-cloth.
  12. Divide the dough into two parts.
  13. Roll each part out very thin and fill with walnut filling.
  14. Roll by lifting the edge of the table-cloth on which the dough was rolled out.
  15. Grease the baking pan. Place the rolls into the pan.
  16. Put in the oven on 50 °C (125 °F) to rise again.
  17. Then heat the oven to 170 °C (240 °F) and bake for 40-50 minutes or until they become golden. Let cool in the pan.
  18. Brush with oil when cooled.

Note: It is very important that there is no draft in the room where the dough is rising. It will not rise properly.

What is your traditional Christmas dessert?

Minty Thaw – Hot chocolate with a Christmas twist

Hot chocolate is wonderful way to warm yourself on a cold winter day. It’s smooth, creamy and decadent. A dessert you can drink! With a touch of a holiday spirit, it can be a great addition to your festive table.

This recipe makes about 1 1/3 cups (325 ml).

This recipe is part of Foodies+ Christmas Recipes from Around the World cookbook, amazing cookbook with over 400 pages that shares many recipes you can use all year round. All proceeds are going to Action Against Hunger.

Ingredients

  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 100 g (½ cup) milk chocolate
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) mint flavored liqueur
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) whipped cream
  • Christmas candy for decoration

Preparation

  1. Heat and stir milk in a small saucepan on medium heat until bubbles form around edge.
  2. Chop the chocolate.
  3. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and vanilla.
  4. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  5. Add liqueur and stir well.
  6. Separately beat whipped cream to soft peak.
  7. Pour into tall glass or Christmas mug of your choice.
  8. Top with whipped cream.
  9. Sprinkle crushed mint candies over whipped cream and add a candy cane or peppermint stick for stirring.

Replace mint liqueur with different liqueurs for more variety, like Bailey’s or coffee liqueur.

What is your favorite Christmas drink?

Poppy Seed Squares

Many European countries use poppy seeds in desserts. I use it often because of its specific flavor that I really enjoy. Did you know that poppy seeds are rich source of thiamine, folate, and several essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc?

For this gluten free cake, you will need little time to prepare and even less to indulge 😀 Choice of jam is up to you. I used homemade sour cherry jam since sweet and sour complement each other creating a divine taste 🙂

Poppy seed squares

Ingredients

  • 7 eggs divided
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 140 g (10 tbsp) butter at room temperature
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 200 g (1 1/4 cup) ground poppy seeds
  • zest of one lemon
  • jam of your choice (I used sour cherry jam and it was perfect!)
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate
  • 100 ml (1/4 cup) whipped cream

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
  2. Divide eggs in two separate mixing bowls.
  3. Separately whip butter until foamy.
  4. Beat egg yolks with 6 tbsp of sugar until foamy.
  5. Add whipped butter to the egg yolk mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Combine poppy seeds with baking soda and lemon zest and add to the egg yolk mixture. Mix well.
  7. Mix egg whites with 6 tbsp of sugar until stiff.
  8. With a spatula add beaten egg whites to the batter.
  9. Bake in a baking pan covered with parchment paper for about 40 min until golden brown.
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate glaze. Heat the cream up to boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate broken in pieces. Mix until chocolate is incorporated.
  11. Spread your jam of choice on the baked cake and pour chocolate glaze on top.

Enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee or tea!

Have you ever tried a poppy seed dessert? What was your favorite?

Mixed Berries Pavlova

Australians and New Zealanders still argue over who invented this cake.

Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. In her honor, they created this famous cake during or after one of her tours.

I guess we’ll never know who really made it first. We can just enjoy the cake 😀

I used mixed berries for this Pavlova. Berries have that sourness and freshness that goes perfectly with sweet meringue. You can use any fruit instead.

Since you only need egg whites for this cake, you can use the yolks to prepare soft and crumbly jam cookies.

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I used apple cider)

For the cream

  • 600 ml (2 1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 300 to 400 g ( 2 to 2 1/2 cups) mixed berries

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 140 °C (285 °F).
  2. On baking paper, draw a circle 18 cm in diameter.
  3. Mix the egg whites until you get a very stiff mixture and little by little add sugar, vanilla and vinegar, and mix until the mixture is firm.
  4. Pour the mixture onto the drawn circle, straighten a little and dry for 60 minutes at 140 °C.
  5. After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the crust in to dry a bit more.
  6. Take it out and leave it for a few hours to dry.
  7. Remove it carefully from the baking paper.
  8. Beat the heavy cream with one tablespoon of sugar and spread over the baked meringue.
  9. Decorate with fruit of your choice and place in the refrigerator to cool well.

What is your favorite fruit to use on the Pavlova cake?

Marble Cake

The first print references to marble cake began appearing in the last quarter of the 19th century. One popular variation of this recipe during Victorian times was “Harlequin cake”, which was baked with checker-board patterns. Early recipes use molasses and spices to achieve the dark-colored batter.

Today, we use cocoa and it tastes like a having a piece of chocolate with your sponge cake 😀

This, easy to make, simple cake is usually served around Easter, but I usually make it on the weekends when I don’t plan on baking but still crave something sweet, since all the ingredients are in my staple.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs divided
  • 280 g (1 1/3 cups) granulated sugar
  • 20 g (1 1/2 tbsp) vanilla sugar
  • zest from one lemon
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
  • 10 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 280 g (2 1/2 cup) all purpose flour
  • 10 g (2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp rum (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
  2. Separate egg yolks form egg whites in two separate bowls.
  3. Mix in self standing mixer or with electric beater egg yolks and sugar until foamy.
  4. Add vanilla sugar, lemon zest and butter. Mix until combined.
  5. Add progressively milk and oil, and at the end alternately mix in flour mixed with baking powder.
  6. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  7. With spatula, mix in egg white mixture in the egg yolk mixture until combined.
  8. Divide prepared batter into two parts.
  9. In one part add cocoa and rum.
  10. Greased pan sprinkle with bread crumbs, pour the yellow batter and then the brown batter.
  11. Bake the cake in preheated oven at 200 °C (390 °F) for 20 min and another 30 min on 150 °C (300 °F) until golden brown.
  12. After the cake is done, cool it off on the rack.
  13. Before serving sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Do you have your go to cake when craving something sweet?

Fig Tartelettes

In Croatia, getting fresh produce was easy and accessible. Many of our friends and acquaintances had their own gardens and orchards sharing their produce. I got some fresh figs from Dalmatia as a gift and they ended up in tartelettes 🙂
They were as sweet as honey, and as smooth as butter. Enjoy this easy to make tartelettes recipe and try it out with other fruits if you are not a fan of figs 😉

Ingredients (for 6 tartelettes)

For the shortcrust pastry

  • 220 g (2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 130 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 5-6 fresh ripe figs
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • oatmeal for sprinkle

Preparation

  1. With electric mixer, in a bowl, mix together flour, salt and sugar until combined.
  2. Add butter, and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Gradually stream beaten egg into the flour mixture and knead until the dough comes together.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and shape into a flattened disk.
  5. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
  6. While the dough rests in the fridge, prepare the filling.
  7. Mix figs with maple syrup with hand mixer until smooth.
  8. Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
  9. Butter a six mold muffin pan.
  10. Take the chilled dough, make six equal balls and put each in a muffin mold. Spread the dough in each mold with your hands. Make sure that you covered the whole mold.
  11. Divide the filling so that each tartelette has enough and sprinkle them with oatmeal.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

This seasonal dessert pairs very well with Chicken Paprikash as main course.

Do you have access to fresh produce for your cooking creations?

Blackberry Oatmeal Squares

August screams blackberries! This summer fruit, full of dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K makes it a great choice for making desserts, jams and other sweet goodies.

These easy to make squares can make a quick, healthy, snack for any occasion. You can substitute regular flour and oats with gluten free options according to your preference. For the crunch feeling you may substitute ground walnuts with chopped ones. For that matter, use a nut of your liking. Walnuts are my favorite 🙂

Ingredients

  • 200 g (1 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 120 g (1 1/2 cup) oats + handful for sprinkling
  • 220 g (1 cup) firmly packed brown sugar + 1 tbsp for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 30 g (1/3 cup) ground walnuts
  • 230 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 300 g (2 cup) fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar for tossing the blackberries
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
  2. Cover the baking pan with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick cooking spray or brush with oil.
  3. In a small bowl, toss blackberries with sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. In the standing mixer bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts. Mix until fully combined. You can use a hand electrical mixer we well.
  5. Add the softened butter and beat on low speed, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Spoon half of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan. Gently press mixture into bottom of the pan.
  7. Top with the coated blackberries.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining oatmeal mixture. NOTE: do not press down on the mixture.
  9. Sprinkle with some oats and sugar.
  10. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cool completely before slicing.

What else would you use blackberries for?

Strawberry Balsamic Tart with Mascarpone Cream

Strawberry season is at its peak and there is no better time to share this tart recipe with you. Since my birthday is at beginning of June, I always had strawberry birthday cake as long as I can remember. They bring beautiful memories of my childhood birthday parties and are for sure one of my favorite fruit. I love preparing desserts with them 😀

This simple and delightful tart is perfect for warm spring or summer days. Strawberries and balsamic are epic together, and the addition of fresh basil leaves takes this tart beyond the cake 😉

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Tools you need

  • Mixing bowls in different sizes for all three components: pastry, strawberries and mascarpone cream.
  • Chef’s knife comes handy for cutting the strawberries
  • Cutting board; also useful for cutting strawberries
  • Round tart pan. I recommend two piece pan for easy slicing
  • Measuring spoons because it’s baking, and measuring is the name of the game 😉
  • Measuring cup. See previous point.
  • Kitchen scale because baking is a fine art and perfection is a little bit more reachable when you quantify things.
  • Kitchen mittens. Things get hot in the oven. Burns hurt and take time to heal. You don’t want to take time off from baking, do you?
  • Whisk to beat the egg.
  • Electric mixer to mix the cream until smooth and fluffy!
  • Spatula for smearing the cream on the tart easily and beautiful.
  • Zester to zest the zest
  • Lemon squeezer to squeeze the… you guessed it, lemons.

Ingredients

For the shortcrust pastry

  • 220 g (2 cups) pastry flour
  • 50 g (4 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 130 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the balsamic strawberries

  • 800 g (5 cups) fresh strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 8 fresh basil leaves

For the mascarpone whipped cream

  • 300 g (1 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 65 g (8 tbsp) powdered sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 180 ml (12 tbsp) heavy whipping cream

Preparation

For the shortcrust pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F).
  2. Butter a 26 cm round tart pan.
  3. In the bowl mix together flour, salt and sugar until combined.
  4. Add butter, and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Gradually stream beaten egg into the flour mixture and knead until the dough just comes together.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and shape into a flattened disk.
  7. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Roll the chilled dough on a piece of lightly floured baking paper in a 30 cm circle.
  9. Transfer the rolled dough to your tart pan and press it into the bottom and sides of the pan. Cut off excess dough and prick the bottom with a fork.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For the balsamic strawberries

  1. Put the strawberries into a large bowl and add sugar and balsamic vinegar.
  2. Bruise basil leaves between your fingers to release the flavor and add to the bowl.
  3. Toss it all together.
  4. Leave it to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes and then strain.

For the mascarpone whipped cream

  1. In the large bowl mix with electric mixer mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest and juice and beat until creamy.
  2. Add heavy cream and beat on high until you get a fluffy filling.

Once cooled, fill the pastry with mascarpone whipped cream and decorate with marinated strawberries. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving or until needed.

Do you have special cake memories form your childhood?