I’ve always been partial to strawberries and cream but by adding lime and coconut cream it brings strawberries and cream to another level! When you see Irish strawberries for sale you know summer is on its way…
Strawberries remind me of my childhood picking strawberries with my family in West Cork. We would come back with hundreds of punnets and start the long process of washing and preparing the strawberries to make strawberry jam, strawberries with ice cream or my mum’s strawberry tart. Her tart was made with a custard cream filling so no doubt I’ll be reinventing that some day. She loved everything French so a French strawberry custard tart was a must.
These days when I’m hungry I will often reach for a strawberry rather than chocolate although I wouldn’t say no to strawberries dipped in chocolate! Strawberries are underestimated as a health food. They are high in antioxidants, Vitamin C, fibre and folic acid. They also have a high water content which means they are low in calories and fat-free. Just 8 strawberries contain more Vitamin C than a medium-sized orange! But the best thing of all is they taste utterly divine.
When making a strawberry tart the flavour of the strawberries should not be over powered so they need a light delicate filling. I combine mascarpone cheese with coconut cream and lime zest. There is no need for any other flavours as the strawberry says it all. I top it with a mint or basil leaf to add colour to the plate.
This recipe can be used to make one large tart or individual strawberry lime and coconut tarts.
The pastry has to be thin. It has to melt in your mouth as you take the first bite. The shortcrust pastry is so simple to make and takes minutes in a food processor… I urge you to make it yourself. This pastry recipe makes all the difference to this tart. I add grated orange zest to the pastry once the flour and butter are combined. It adds a nice sweet citrus flavour to the pastry. Once the pastry is made I leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes then line the tin. I recommend a tin with a removable base if you want to display it on a pretty plate but you can also make it in a ceramic tart dish and serve it directly from the dish. It doesn’t have to look perfect, in fact I prefer tarts that look like they have an uneven edge and have the home-made look as you know they’ll taste delicious.
Instead of baking the pastry case blind I place it in the freezer for 20 minutes as this is the same as baking blind and so much easier. Bake it in the oven for 15 minutes then remove and brush the inside with egg wash and bake for anther 10 minutes. This seals the pastry to avoid leakage when filled. Making the filling is the fun part. I put two tins of coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours. This allows the coconut cream to solidify. Scoop the thick cream from the top and reserve the runny liquid for a smoothie. You should get a good half a cup of cream from each tin. Then whisk it with the mascarpone and the rest of the ingredients and leave it in the fridge to thicken while the pastry is baking. Then fill the pastry gently with the cream.
Place the tart in the fridge while preparing the strawberries, And this is why every strawberry tart looks different… as it is YOU who decides how you like your strawberries displayed. Some people like their strawberries whole, others halved and others sliced. I prefer mine halved on a large tart and whole on a small tart but you decide…this is where your creativity can excel!
Place the strawberries gently onto the coconut cream base . I start on the outside and work my way inwards. You can leave it au naturale or glaze it. For the glaze heat two tablespoons of strawberry jam until it has a runny consistency. Then brush a thin layer over the strawberries. It gives it a lovely shiny finish which is very inviting to the palette! Summer is finally on its way…..
- 235g plain or spelt flour
- 150g butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- grated zest from 1 orange
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tins coconut milk
- 1 cup/220g mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or more to taste
- zest from 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon shredded coconut, optional
- 2 cups/400g strawberries
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
- mint or basil leaves for garnish
- 1 fluted pastry tin with removable base
- Preheat the oven to 165˚C/325˚F.
- To make the pastry, place the flour and butter in a food processor and pulse until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the coconut sugar and orange zest and pulse until well combined. Add the egg yolks and pulse until the pastry comes together. Cover with food safe wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- To make the filling, scoop the coconut cream from the top of the tins of coconut milk to make 1 cup of coconut cream. Reserve the rest of the liquid for another recipe.
- Beat the mascarpone and coconut cream together until thickened. Add the lime zest, coconut sugar and shredded coconut, if using. Beat together until the mixture resembles a thick cream. Leave in the fridge to thicken further.
- Grease the tin, roll out the pastry to ¼ inch thick or thinner if possible. Line the tin with the pastry. Don't worry if it breaks as you can press extra pastry on top as this will not be seen. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Cook the pastry base in the oven for 15 minutes. Take it out and brush egg wash over the seal the base. Return the base to the oven for 10 minutes. Leave to cool before removing from the tin and adding the filling.
- Wash and prepare the strawberries. Cut them in half and starting from the outside arrange them in an artistic pattern starting with the large strawberry halves on the outside and going smaller on the inside.
- Heat the jam until it is runny and brush over the top of the strawberries to make them shiny. Top with mint or basil leaves and leave in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- The coconut sugar can be replaced with brown or white sugar. Honey can be used but makes the filling less thick.
- The coconut cream can be replaced with dairy cream.
- The lime zest can be replaced with orange and lemon zest.