A new dish is always an exciting and rewarding moment for any cook, but there is a lot of trial and error to get it just right. After countless re-working, I think this recipe is the perfect iced tart. It’s a little bit demanding but worth the challenge – both in terms of appearance and flavour.
For the sorbet
- 450 g (14 oz) strawberries (my favourites are buddy, gariguette, royal sovereign or mara des bois), stalks removed
- 1 tsp stevia powder
- dash of lemon juice
For the tart filling
- 200 g (7 oz) strawberries, cut into small dice
- large pinch of stevia powder
For the crème Chantilly
- 100 g (3½ oz) whipping cream
- large pinch of stevia powder
- ½ tsp vanilla purée or good-quality vanilla extract
- 50 g (1¾ oz) miniature meringues, crush 4–6 of them
- 100 g (3½ oz) low-sugar strawberry jam
- 4 mint sprigs
- 6 strawberries, halved
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Macerating time 1 hour
Freezing time 2 hours 30 minutes
Take four 7.5 cm (3 in) pastry rings and tightly stretch plastic wrap over the top of each one, then turn them upside down; these will become the frames for the tarts. Line a tray with greaseproof paper, place the pastry rings on the tray with the plastic wrap on the bottom, line the insides with the acetate plastic and transfer to the freezer.
For the sorbet, in a large bowl macerate the strawberries with the stevia and lemon juice for 30 minutes. Macerating the strawberries will give the sorbet much more flavour.
Blend the macerated strawberries to a purée. Set aside 150 g (5oz) of the purée and pour the remainder into a squeezy plastic bottle. Squeeze the purée into the bottom of each frozen pastry ring until you have a 5 mm layer covering the bottom. Return the tray to the freezer and freeze for 30 minutes, or until frozen solid.
Remove from the freezer and place a 6 cm (2½ in) pastry ring centrally on top of each circle of frozen purée. Gently press it down so that it just indents the base. Squeeze more purée into the gap between the two rings, to create a wall 2 cm (¾ in) high.
Place back in the freezer and leave to freeze for at least 2 hours, or until solid. (The steps up to this stage can be done a few days in advance.) Place 4 serving plates in the freezer 1 hour prior to serving.
For the tart filling, in a bowl macerate the strawberries with the stevia for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the crème Chantilly, whip the cream with the stevia and vanilla until firm peaks form when the whisk is removed. (Beware, if you over-whip the cream, it will separate and you will create butter!)
Mix 100 g (3½ oz) of the reserved purée with the macerated strawberries. Fold half the strawberry mixture through the Chantilly cream. Reserve the other half for decorating.
Take one sorbet out of the freezer. Remove the inner pastry ring by rubbing your fingers around the inside to soften the sorbet behind it slightly and enable you to gently lift off the ring. Now lift off the outer pastry ring and gently peel away the acetate surrounding the sorbet. Return each sorbet case to a baking tray in the freezer as you repeat this process for the remaining sorbets.
When ready to serve, remove the plates from the freezer and place a small amount of the crushed meringue in the centre of each plate to stop the tarts from sliding around, then cover with a frozen sorbet case.
Place a spoonful of the jam in the bottom of each sorbet case, followed by the strawberry and Chantilly cream mix. Finish each tart with a spoonful of the reserved macerated strawberries, followed by a few whole meringues and mint leaves. Drizzle the remaining reserved purée around each tart, place a few halved strawberries on the plates and serve immediately.