'I've baked a strawberry tart. Would you like to come over and try it?' came the message from dear friend, C, who, fortuitously, lives less than a kilometre from my home, and has also recently retired. Okay, I realise I shouldn't be using a cliché here, but my response to her was: 'Is the Pope a Catholic? That'd be lovely, I'll be right over!'
Chatting over a slice of said tart in the Gin and Tonic Lounge, which is the name of the leafy, secluded verandah at C's place, we agreed that baking on a whim is one the great joys of life in retirement. I could tell by the pile of new cookbooks on her kitchen counter that culinary matters were now at the top of C's agenda, replacing briefings to Ministers and the like. Far more civilised, I thought to myself.
The tart in question was quite divine and is one that C has cooked many times over. More of a cake than a tart, but equally perfect as a dessert, it was originally adapted from a Donna Hay recipe for peach and raspberry tart. C often slices apples onto the top before baking, but on this occasion she had used strawberries. Yum. Another interesting touch is C's addition of cocoa to the icing sugar that is sprinkled over the top before baking.
In my adaptation, I used a combination of almond meal and gluten free flour. I halved the quantity of caster sugar, and used a little less butter too. The finished tart was so good that Peter and I ate half of it almost as soon as it had cooled. The aromas in the kitchen were mouthwatering too. It's a keeper. Enjoy.
STRAWBERRY ALMOND TART
115g butter, softened
110g vanilla-infused caster sugar*
2 free-range eggs
75g gluten free self raising flour
75g almond meal
150g strawberries, hulled, sliced in half if they are huge
1 scant tablespoon pure icing sugar, sifted, for sprinkling
1 heaped teaspoon cocoa, sifted, for sprinkling
1-2 tablespoons flaked almonds, for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C. Grease a 22cm/9-inch springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Combine the butter and sugar in a Pyrex bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Now fold in the flour and the almond meal, and mix until smooth.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top over, using a spatula. Arrange the strawberries decoratively over the top of the batter. Sprinkle the combined icing sugar and cocoa evenly over the top of the cake and finish with the flaked almonds.
Bake for one hour or until the cake is golden and a skewer tested comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the tin. Then remove from the tin and serve the tart warm with dollops of cream or vanilla bean ice cream. Serves 8. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
Preparation time: 30 minutes at the most. Baking time: 60 minutes, perhaps a little more. Eating time: not long!
* Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract if using plain caster sugar.
The tart can also be prepared in the Tefal Cuisine Companion:
Fit the kneading crushing blade to the bowl. Combine the butter and caster sugar in the bowl. On speed 3, mix for 40 seconds, then increase to speed 9 for one minute and 45 seconds. Remove the lid, add the eggs, flour and almond meal, then mix on speed 3 for a further minute, until the batter is smooth. Spoon the batter into the cake tin and proceed as shown above.
Tell me dear readers, what's on the top of your daily agenda these days? Briefings for your boss, or more important stuff? Do please tell. Thank you in advance for taking the time to leave me a comment, I do love hearing from you. xx
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.