Today Midsommar (Midsummer) is celebrated in Sweden. Tradionally new potatoes with dill and pickled herring are eaten and fresh strawberries with whipped cream are served as dessert at Midsommar. Most of the time I am not in Sweden during Midsommar but I always try to make this day special. This year my home is filled with bouquets of wild flowers and this evening I will serve tartlets filled with a vanilla mascarpone cream and fresh berries.
Yesterday I hopped on my bike and rode to the woods in order to pick a bunch of wild flowers and elderflowers and it was my lucky day because I found a "smultronstället" (wild strawberry patch) at the edge of the forest. I cannot remember that I ever found so many wild strawberries at once. I had tears in my eyes while I was squatting down and carefully picking one delicate wild strawberry after another. I could not believe my luck. There is nothing like the smell of wild strawberries and there are no better strawberries than wild strawberries - they literally melt in the mouth - and picking wild flowers and wild strawberries are the epitome of early summer days to me.
When I came home from my bike ride - my basket was packed with wild flowers, elderflowers and a little bowl full of amazing smelling wild strawberries - I was so inspired by the beauty of nature and in such a good mood. After making a few bottles of elderflower cordial I decided to make a few berry tartlets. Luckily, I had some tartlet shells left that I made the other day and filled the shells with a vanilla mascarpone cream and pilled on top of the cream different berries. The tartlets looked so beautiful that I could not help myself and I did an impromptu photo shoot modeling my very photogenic tartlets.
I did not use my shortcrust pastry recipe that I always use and I also shared this recipe with you. I tried out a new recipe by the Singaporean pastry chef Cheryl Kho who is one of Asia's leading pastry chefs. Cheryl Koh runs the pastry store Tarte in Singapore which is specialized in tarts. Koh's tarts look so elegant and beautiful and I do admire Koh's tart skills. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how the tarts taste since I have not had the chance to try Koh's tartes yet. I do hope that I will have the possibility to travel to Singapore in the near future and try one of Koh's tart creations.
Cheryl Koh's shortcrust pastry recipe became to my new favorite tart shell recipe and this is why I really want to share her recipe with you. The dough is very soft and this is why it is important to let the dough chill in the fridge for at least six hours. When rolling out the shortcrust dough it is important to work quick because I found that the dough gets soft relatively quickly in comparion to other shortcrust doughs that I have worked with in the past. Every time I used Koh's recipe the tart shells turend out very crispy and I could not think of better tart shells (at least they were the best tart shells that I have made in my life so far). It is really a fantastic tart recipe.
I cannot wait to indulge in a berry tartlet this evening but until then I will make a Midsommar flower crown. Glad Midsommar who is celebrating today. My dearest readers, I wish you all a wonderful summer time!
Makes 8 to 10 tartlets ( 7 cm / 2.75 inches in diameter)
* The shortcrust pastry recipe is slightly adapted from Cheryl Koh*
- 68 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 50 g / 6 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
- 22 g egg (equals about 1/2 of a medium sized egg)
- 28 g / 5 tablespoons almond powder or almond flour *
- 112 g / 1 cup and 2 tablespoons pastry flour
- Mix butter and powdered sugar until well combined. Then add the egg and mix again well.
- Add almond powder/flour and pastry flour and mix until the almond flour and pastry flour are just combined.
- Place the dough on a generous piece of clingwrap, flatten the dough to a disc and then wrap up the dough in the clingwrap.
- Let the dough rest for at least 6 hours. I usually prepare the dough at night and bake the tarts the following morning. The dough is quite soft, so the dough really needs to chill in the fridge for several hours. I do not recommend shortening the resting time.
- Sprinkle a surface with a little bit of flour (try to use as little flour as possible) and roll out the dough until it is 3 mm / 0.1 inch thick. Last year I wrote a post on how to make tartlets which might be helpful to you.
- Cut out circles that are a little bit bigger than your tartlet rings and line the tart rings with the circles. Trim any excess dough with a sharp knife. Prick the bottom of each tart with a fork. Place the tart moulds onto a board or a flat plate lined with parchmend paper and freeze the moulds for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 160 °C / 320 °F.
- Line each tart moulds with a circle of parchment paper and fill each tart with try beans.
- Place the tart moulds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake the tartlets for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove the dry beans and the parchmnet paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove the tart rings, turn the oven to 180 °C and bake the tart shells for another 5 minutes until the shells are golden in color.
- Let the tart shells cool completely. You can store the tart shells in an airtight container or a cookie tin up to two weeks.
Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
- 150 ml / 1 /2 cup and 2 tablespoons whole milk (3,5 %)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 30 g egg yolks (equals egg yolks of 2 medium sized eggs)
- 10 g / 2 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
- 30 g / 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 275 g / 1 cup and 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- Pour the milk into a medium sized pot.
- Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (use the tip of a knife or the dull side of the knife). Add the vanilla seeds and the empty vanilla pod to the milk. Bring the milk to a boil; remove from the pot from the heat.
- Place the egg yolks and the corn starch in a medium sized bowl and mix until well combined. Add the granulated sugar to the mixture and mix well again.
- Remove the empty vanilla pod from the hot milk, pour the vanilla milk to the egg mixture and stir well.
- Pour the milk mixture back into the pot and over medium heat bring the mixture almost to a boil. Let it simmer until the mixture thickens put. As soon as the mixture thickens up stir well for half a minute, then remove from the heat and place the custard onto a flat bowl. Cover the surface of the custard with clingwrap which prevends skin forming. Let the custard cool completely at room temperature (not in the fridge).
- Mix the mascarpone cheese creamy. Stir the the cold custard until smooth, then add little by little the mascarpone to the custrad and mix until it has a smoothy consistency. Do not overmix the cream, otherwise the cream might become a little bit runny.
- Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
- Powdered sugar
- Fill the tart shell almost to the top with the vanilla masacrpone cream.
- Decorate the tartlets with fresh berries. I placed one whole strawberry in the middle of each tartlet and around the strawberry I placed rasperries and then topped it off with the delicate wild strawberries.
- Dust the top of each tartlet with powdered sugar,
- I usually assemble the tarts à la minute or not longer than one hour before serving the tartlets because otherwise the tart shells become soft (because of the vanilla mascarpone cream). I prefer a crispy tartlet shell but if you do not mind a softer tart shell feel free to prepare the tartlets a few hours ahead.