July 18th, 2010

Elderflowers Crème Fraîche Tart with British Strawberries

Finally the elderflowers have shown their face, slightly later than last year as I had all my elderflower goodies made by this time. I’m a firm believer that all good things comes to those who wait. The trees are looking heavy in bloom and a bumper harvest is predicted. In the meantime, whilst waiting for the flowers to mature, prepare to make that all important elderflower cordial. I found it quite difficult this year to find citric acid, an ingredient important in the preserving stage of the cordial. I had to resort to buy it from the internet and my purchase was not as satisfactory as I hoped it to be. The reason for that is that the citric acid I purchased was crystals instead of the powder, not great for cooking. Make sure you select the correct type of citric acid, do not make the same mistake as I made.

Elderflower cordial has so many wonderful uses and is not only good for a refreshing elderflower drink on a hot summers day but is also perfect for delicious jellies and works a treat in sorbets and ice-creams. The flowers  could be dipped in a light tempura batter and fried until crisp to serve as a garnish for added texture.

I used the elderflower cordial to flavour this delicious crème fraîche tart and paired it up with a lovely array of strawberry treats. Its great fun, you might not have all the tools to make all the garnishing bits, but if you can give the tart a go as it’s simply wonderful.

The recipe for this tart has been in Mr.P’s little black recipe book since he began cooking in 1996. This recipe did cause us a bit of drama and distress as we had filed it’ in a safe place’. We must have  tipped the house upside down looking for it, you can imagine as I do not quite know what it looks like, all I know it’s written in pen on a small piece of paper belonging to this little black book that had lost its cover. We were searching high and low for about a week, Mr.P hardly spoke to me as I obviously got the blame for it’s disappearance. He was walking around like a bear with a sore head who had just lost his best friend. Finally we found the piece of paper and  we could actually get on with making this dish.

To top it all off, the ingredients that we had purchased to make this dish had gone off by the time we found the recipe, so back to the beginning and we started the journey again from scratch. It was definitely worth the effort as it’s delicious and well worth the time, tears, tantrums and effort. I think the lesson learned was not to store things’ in safe places’ or do not purchase your ingredients until you have located the recipe. We are now giggling over the chaos that we caused ourselves; at the time it was quite a traumatic event. Boy’s and their….not really toy’s…but …..well recipes!

Sweet Pastry

  • 230g plain all-purpose flour
  • 140g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

To make the sweet pastry, cream the softened butter, salt, sugar and vanilla seeds until fluffy and pale in colour. Lightly whisk the egg and slowly incorporate, a bit at a time, into the butter mixture. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured work surface, do not knead the pastry, just push it together into flat square. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for three hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface, to about 4mm thick, carefully line the pastry ring, and leave the pastry hanging over the edges. Line a 10cm x 35cm x 2.5cm pastry case with blind baking beans and blind bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 150°C and continue blind baking until the pastry is cooked and crisp without any colour. While the pastry is blind baking, prepare the second stage of the elderflower and crème fraîche filling.

Elderflower Crème Fraîche Tart

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 100g elderflower syrup or cordial
  • 500g crème fraîche, drained weight

To make the elderflower crème fraîche tart, prepare the crème fraîche one day in advance: weigh 600g crème fraîche into a sieve lined with muslin cloth, leave to drain overnight in the fridge.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy, stir in the lime zest, elderflower syrup and weigh 500g drained crème fraiche into the mix, mix well.

Preheat the oven to 110°C.

Once the blind baked pastry case is ready, pour the crème fraiche mixture into the tart case and bake the tart for 45 minutes or until just set. One wobble in the center is good. Carefully remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Strawberry Sorbet

  • 500g strawberries, hulled and frozen individually
  • 70g caster sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1tbs berry liqueur
  • 1 free-range egg white

To make the strawberry sorbet, weigh the sugar into the Thermomix bowl, secure the lid and blend on speed 10 for 10 seconds, add the frozen strawberries, lemon juice and liqueur.

Secure the lid and insert the Thermomix spatula, gently turn the speed dial to speed 10 and blend.

Scrape the sides down and repeat this process until the strawberries are smooth. Add the egg white. Blend for 30 seconds on speed 10. Scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk and whisk the sorbet on speed 4 for 30 seconds. Transfer the sorbet in to the cold plastic container and store in freezer until needed.

Strawberry Pearls

  • 150g fresh overripe strawberries, hulled
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 2 leaves of gelatine, soaked
  • 500ml peanut or ground nut oil

To make the strawberry pearls, place the oil in the freezer to chill as cold as you possibly can get it.

Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft.

Blend the strawberries with the sugar until smooth, melt the soaked gelatine and add to the strawberry juice and pass it through a fine sieve.

Use a small syringe or pipette and drop small droplets of the strawberry mixture into the cold oil, leave them to set.

Once the pearls are set, carefully transfer them to a small sieve and lightly rinse them under cold running water, leave to drain. Keep the strawberry pearls chilled until needed.

Strawberry Sherbet

  • 20g dried strawberries
  • ¼tsp citric acid (normally used to make elderflower cordial, obtained from pharmacies)
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g sifted icing sugar

To prepare the strawberry sherbet, weigh 20g of the dried strawberries, citric acid, sifted icing sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a food processor and blend till a fine powder. Keep the sherbet in a clean airtight container of glass jar until needed.

Elderflower Macerated Strawberry with Summer Savory

  • 4 whole fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 20ml elderflower liquor (St Germain)
  • 1 sprig of summer savory finely chopped

For elderflower macerated strawberry with summer savory, wash and hull the strawberries, pat them dry. Cut the strawberries in half and slice each half keeping it together. Place the sliced strawberries in a small container and splash over the elderflower cordial and sprinkle the chopped savory. Leave to marinate for five minutes.

To Serve

cut a 4cm wide slice of the tart and position it on the plate. Position the elderflower macerated strawberry on the one side, spoon the strawberry pearls on the opposite side, place a quenelle of the strawberry sorbet in the middle. Garnish the tart with a dusting of the strawberry sherbet and a few of the elderflowers. Hydrated strawberry crisps are an optional garnish.

Serves 4


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13 Comments to “Elderflowers Crème Fraîche Tart with British Strawberries”

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  1. persil says:

    i made this tart…very nice

  2. abigail says:

    Looking forward to trying this; the elderflowers have been and gone in the West of Ireland so lots of Cordial on hand :-)

  3. Barry says:

    looks amazing.. elderberries non existent here.. what do you think of using pomegranate in place of… the strawberry pearls are pure genius… thought it was out of molecular… clever stuff.. as usual

  4. Madalene says:

    Dear Barry,

    Absolutely yes! pomegranate would make a wonderful pearl and I think the colour would be amazing. You could boost the taste with a dash of pomegranate molasses.

    Happy Cooking
    Madalene

  5. Tor says:

    Sounds delicious, this would go with some Elderflower Champagne one of my friends has just made! On the hunt for the Elderflowers already!

  6. I do love elderflowers… do you think you could use st. germain liquer instead of the syrup???

  7. Madalene says:

    Dear Deana,

    Yes St’Germain will hit the spot perfectly for a very grown up version.

    happy baking

    Madalene

  8. Miss Lemon says:

    OMG!
    Now I know why elBulli closed down!
    They could not compete anymore!

    That is fantastic!

  9. Another stunning photo and accompanying recipe. I love you analogy of a bear with a sore head who lost his best friend.

  10. melrose says:

    What a beautiful Photo…great idea with elderflower (here also popular, but like syrup, and breaded/fried in Oestereich)!!!

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