This summertime dessert will make you look like a rock star with minimal effort or expense.
Now, that’s the stuff we live for. Right?
We’re making a luscious tart with a sugar cookie crust filled with creamy vanilla custard topped with ripe juicy strawberries shaped to resemble roses. Are you with me?
This is actually three different handy dandy techniques that you’ll use over and over again.
Sugar Cookie Crust – is perfect for all kinds of fruit or custard pies, even cheese cake.
Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe, boxed mix or refrigerated dough to cover the bottom and sides of a tart pan. An 8-inch round pan with a removable bottom works best.
The one I use and love is here – Nordic Ware Pro-Form Quiche and Tart Pan, Interior 9.875 Inch x 1.75 Inch
You’ll need to make adjustments if you have a different baking pan in mind.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray tart pan with cooking spray. Press dough evenly in bottom and sides of pan to form crust. Take your time to get it even. If the dough gets really soft, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes and resume.
Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
Simple Vanilla Custard – I learned this vanilla custard recipe while on Holland America Cruise Lines. Of course they make enough to fill a swimming pool but we probably shouldn’t do that. The recipe is adjusted for home use.
You’ll want to add this recipe to your repertoire because it comes in so handy for everything from filling pastries and cakes to serving with fruit or eating with a spoon right out of the fridge in your pajamas. I doubt that’s just me.
Simple Vanilla Custard
What You’ll Need:
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk just to a boil.
- Meanwhile, blend the sugar, flour and egg yolks together to make a smooth paste.
- Gradually and very slowly add the milk into the paste mixture, stirring constantly.
- Place this mixture into a double boiler and gradually heat, stirring frequently but – do not boil.
- Continue to cook until it heavily coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Continue to stir frequently as it cools to room temperature to keep it smooth.
- Refrigerate covered with plastic film directly on the surface of the custard to avoid the custard forming a “skin” on the surface.
Strawberry Roses are just gorgeous. Place them on cakes, cupcakes, and fruit salads.
They’re fairly simple to make but they do require a bit of practice. I’ll try to explain below but the best advice is to Google a video tutorial. If a picture worth 1000 words a video must be worth 1.8 million by my estimate.
If strawberry art imitating life isn’t your style, you can always top the tart with sliced strawberries and it would be just as marvelous. That is unless you hang around with a bunch of annoying over achievers. Then you’d better throw down with some strawberry roses.
What You’ll Need:
1 to 2 pound strawberries
Remove the green leaves and stem from the strawberry taking as little as possible from the base.
Put the berry on a surface base side down and holding the knife straight down (not at an angle) slice four petals evenly spaced from the outside. Use the tip of the knife to push the petals downward.
Working inward slice four more petals in between and slightly above the first four.
Now, keeping your knife straight, working toward the center; cut a spiral toward the center of the berry. The thinner you make this the more realistic it looks.
When you get to the center you’ll have a little nub that’s the very top of the berry. Remove that and pop it in your mouth. It’s a Scooby snack. Nom Nom.
Use the tip of the knife to gently open the petals.
Not every one is going to turn out so have plenty of berries to work with. My kids hung around with a can of whipped cream while I was learning and rejoiced at every “ugly rose”.
With strawberry roses, as in life – they’re not all going to turn out the way you want so celebrate the best and eat the rest.
To assemble the tart:
Place a thin layer of custard on the crust.
And top with roses.
Now, stand back and admire your work of edible art. Take lots of photos and post them on Facebook and Instagram. Eventually you’ll have to cut into this beauty but be consoled – it tastes even better than it looks.