This past Sunday, I spent a wonderfully sunny afternoon at my parents’ house to celebrate my mom and my Nana. The food was abundant and the talk of food was non-stop. My mother joked that we’ve all become sick and twisted because we took so many pictures of the food, while forgetting to photograph any people!
Dinner was a collaborative effort. My mother baked a succulent ham, her friend Sharon created a gorgeous salad, my uncle John made lemony-rosemary-thyme mushrooms and roasted potatoes. My dad handle the appetizer (shrimp cocktail) and the drinks. I made some strawberry desserts and my sister, Kathy brought an apple pie. Quite a meal!
I’m not–yet–a baker, and my desserts were experimental at best. My rich chocolate tart was made with 73% chocolate and a shortbread tart crust. The chocolate was so rich and almost tangy that the first bite bit back. After a moment, though, the taste settled and smoothed, becoming quite good. Good enough, at least, for me to take a second helping.
My strawberry shortcake parfait had too much cake–about 2 parts cake to 1 part whipped cream, which was not enough at all. The cake, which was unsweetened, tasted more like bread, and needed probably 3 parts sweetened strawberries and whipped cream to 1 part cake, so that the unsweetened bread will be soaked by the strawberries and cream. I was amazed how delicious fresh whipped whipped cream is. I guess I had never really thought about it before, but now that I’ve made some, I will never, ever buy store bought whipped cream again.
I’ll post the recipes as I made them, with notes to what I think could be improvements. Give it a shot, and if yours come out deliciously, be sure to tell me!
Rich Chocolate Tart with Strawberries & Remaining Raspberries
Oven Preheat: 350°
For the Crust
- 1 Stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 cup flour
For the Filling
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 5 tbsp. sugar (I recommend using a bit less, maybe 3-4)
- 5 1/2 oz. 73% chocolate (you can use whatever kind you want, but the sugar content of the dessert will change based on percentage)
- 1 egg, whisked
- 3/4 pound chopped strawberries
- the last, soldiering raspberries of my molded over container, about 6 plump ones (this of course, can be increased to your, and my, liking)
- Mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt, then add flour until blended. Lay over 91/2 inch tart part.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until puffy and golden.
- To make filling: bring half-an-half and sugar to a simmer. Add in chocolate, remove from heat, and stir until melted.
- When crusts are ready, remove from oven and turn off. Pour in filling and place tart back in the turned off oven for 5-10 minutes.
- Take out, sprinkle generously with berries and cool. (Serve this with some homemade whipped cream!)
Strawberry Shortcake ‘Parfait’
Oven Preheat: 450°
For the Cake (this is my recipe, more or less cut in half to make less cake)
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
For the Strawberries
- 6 cups sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
For the Whipped Cream
- 16 oz whipping cream
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Stir together first 3 ingredients of the cake. Cut in butter until mixture is made up of coarse crumbs.
- Combine egg and milk and then add to flour mixture to moisten. Pour mix into a greased 8X8 baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Toss sliced strawberries with sugar and let sit.
- Combine whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in bowl and use electric mixer on medium to mix until peaks form, about 5-7 minutes for thick cream.
- Cut cooled cake into slices and use some slices to line a serving dish, adding one layer strawberries and cream over it. Add more slices and do the same in layers until all ingredients are used. Cool in refrigerator and serve with a big spoon!