Ok, I admit it. Last week I was a slight dessert tease at work. I had planned to make some kind of strawberry dessert for me and my coworker on night shift last week – I even double checked that he wasn’t allergic to strawberries. But then I was too tired and didn’t follow through (he was mildly disappointed, but understanding). But I still had a ton of strawberries in my apartment when the weekend rolled around. So I decided to make little strawberry trifles, although I still made them just for myself.
Step 1: The Pastry Cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a heat-proof bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add in the egg yolks and mix thoroughly. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until little bubbles are forming around the edges. Remove from heat and slowly mix it with the egg-sugar-flour mixture in the bowl, stirring constantly. Once you’ve finished that, pour the all of it back into the saucepan. Reheat and stir constantly as it thickens. Once thick, let the cream boil for 10-15 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cover and stick it in the fridge to cool for several hours-a couple days.
Step 2: The Sponge Cake
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup flour
Beat 1 egg (in theory you are supposed to beat it for 5 minutes or till it gets thick – I declare this to be absurd). Then mix in the sugar, then the water and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients. Pour into an 8X8 pan (greased and floured of course) and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes (or until its springy when you touch it). Let it cool.
Step 3: Assembly
1 lb fresh strawberries
chambord (or liqueur of your choice)
In a smallish glass bowl (I use these adorable ice cream bowls) stick a piece of the sponge cake. Pour maybe a tablespoon of chambord over it. Add a layer of pastry cream, then strawberries. Then more sponge cake/chambord, pastry cream, and strawberries. Stick it in the fridge, covered, for a bit to let the whole thing settle. Then enjoy!
This was really good, especially for a nice summer dessert. It’s a bit time consuming, particularly compared to opening a thing of ice cream, but worth doing every now and then. My only slight issue with it is that the pastry cream is a little to thick for this. I’m not sure how to make it less so for the future – less flour probably? Song of the Week: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Number 5. I had a rough couple of days and no one does pathos quite like the Russians in my opinion.
Summer means delicious and awesome fresh fruit! It also means delicious and awesome fresh fruit desserts. I love fruit desserts, and even on the east coast there is enough quality fruit for me to celebrate and do things with. This week, I was flipping through one of my cookbooks, and saw a sort of strawberry shortcake recipe, but with “Breton shortbread” rather than shortcake. I’ll be honest, I never liked shortcake when my mom made it. But I had fresh strawberries, so I figured I should this other version.
1/3 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix those in too. When they are all thoroughly combined, add the flour and baking powder (ok, I ran out of baking powder and substituted baking soda – it will work in a pinch but I don’t recommend it). Normally you would add a pinch of salt, but I cook with salted butter, so I don’t bother adding even more salt. A soft dough will form. Stick it in the fridge for a few hours. Once it has chilled, take the dough and mush in along the bottom of a pie plate or cake pan, so the bottom is covered and the dough is relatively even. Yep, mush – there is no reason to roll it out. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 and let cool on a rack.
Once the shortbread is done, you can either a. eat it as is, b. add strawberries and sugar to it, or c. add other things, such as a strong cheese, to it. I went with option b.
Slice a bunch of strawberries,stick them in a bowl and add a little sugar. Let them sit until awhile. Once they’ve sat a while, place them on either a slice (if you are making a single serving) or over the whole shortbread if you are making it for a group. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and enjoy.
The was very good! The shortbread isn’t particularly sweet, so the lightly sugared strawberries go well with it. The shortbread is, in my opinion, a bit on the dry side. So I’d like to recreate this concept in the form of a trifle. I think that would be fairly awesome. As evident from the title – have this with a cup of tea, preferably as a tea-time snack. Song of the week: The River of Dreams by Billy Joel. Just a pleasant, enjoyable song and there is nothing wrong with that. I also find it very comforting – like a song equivalent of a hug.