Sunday, June 7, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Strawberry Tart and Lemon Curd, Maltese Style

In the last post I mentioned how strawberries are served in some countries.

Well, Maltese have a favourite strawberry dessert, too.
We serve strawberries in a lemon curd filled tart.
Strawberries… lemon… perfection!

In Malta there is a Strawberry Festival every year in Mgaar in April.
Why not create your own strawberry festival?


You could substitute lime juice and zest for lemon to make lime curd.
But a lemon or an orange curd would work better in this dessert.

After you add the juice it will look curdled.
Don’t panic - it will smooth out as it cooks.

Covered tightly and refrigerated, the curd will keep for a week.
In the freezer it will last for two months.

The lemon curd can also be used as a spread over shortbread, toast or English muffins.
It is also good as a filling for cakes and tarts.

About the crust…
For variety, you could use ginger snaps, digestives or sugar cookies.

Don’t have mascarpone cheese?
Ricotta or cream cheese would also work.
You can also use raspberries, blackberries or whatever you have on hand. 
Peaches or apricots also go well with the curd base.

Hey, we’re Maltese.
We use what we have!

                        Lemon Curd

Makes about 2 Cups

Place in a large mixer bowl
3 ounces (6 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 Cup sugar
Beat 2 minutes.

Add, one at a time, beating after each addition
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
Beat another minute.
Mix in
2/3 Cup lemon juice

Pour the mixture into a medium, heavy-based saucepan.
Stirring constantly, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth.
Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, 15 minutes. 
The mixture should thicken and leave a path on the back of a wooden spoon. 
Don't let the mixture boil.

Remove the curd from the heat.
Stir in
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Scrape the curd into a bowl. 
Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming.
Chill the curd in the refrigerator. 
The curd will thicken as it cools. 

                        Strawberry Tart

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Butter the bottom of a 10 x 3-inch springform pan.
Preheat the oven to 325º

The Crust

Combine in a small bowl
1 1/4 Cups graham wafer crumbs
1/4 Cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
Press the mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake 8 minutes.
Place on a rack to cool about an hour.

The Fruit

Clean, hull and halve  
1 pound strawberries (see above)

The Filling

Place in a large mixer bowl
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 Cup lemon curd
Mix until light and creamy.

Spread the mixture over the cookie base.
Top with the prepared strawberries.
Refrigerate to set.

Before serving dust with
Confectioners' sugar

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