I have a very vivid picture in my head of going strawberry picking with my Dad and my sister when I was, oh maybe 6 or 7. My dad, the doctor, decided to go a scientific experiment of what size and shape of strawberry tasted the best.
He conducted this experiment scupulously and with the utmost precision, by moving lying down in the middle of 2 rows of strawberries and eating and eating and eating, moving about a foot every 20 minutes or so.
The verdict of his research was that the small to medium ones that were sort of bell shaped, were the best. Sweet, but not sugary, soft, but not mushy, and also, pleasing to the eye.
So the other day, when Jordan and I were driving past a strawberry farm we pulled in, sadly without enough time to pick them, but I knew we had to buy lots when I went over to the plants and they were nearly all that perfect medium sized bell shape.
We’ve been back to that farm a few times now, for berries for jam, and for shortcakes, but the other day, when my apartment heated up to some where high in the thirties, I used some for a tart that hardly takes any cooking, but tastes wonderful.
I made a graham cracker crust because I didn’t want it in the oven on for long but I think the crumbly texture works nicely against the smoothness of the buttermilk mousse. And the strawberries that were so ripe and juicy were completely perfect and not to sweet. This tart looks like a bit of work, but it is really easy, and a perfect ending to a summer meal, light and fresh, but still with a bit of substance.
Graham Cracker Crust
1 3/4 cup Graham Crackers
3/4 cup Butter, Melted
Buttermilk Mousse Filling
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Whipping Cream
Zest of 2 Lemons
Juice of 1 Lemon
Half a Vanilla Bean, or 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Gelatin
3 tbsp Sugar
3 cups really good Strawberries, cut in half, or quarters depending on the size.
1/4 cup Really good Strawberry Jam.
Preheat oven to 350F
Mix the graham cracker crumbs and the butter until totally combined.
Press it down into a 9 inch round tart shell or pie pan.
Bake about 15 minutes or until the crush has begun to set, but not so that it’s coloring.
Pull out your tart shell and allow to cool. Your done with the oven now to so you can turn it off! Yes!
While it’s cooling whip up 3/4 cup of heavy cream until its at stiff peaks. Put it back in the fridge to keep it cool.
In the meantime sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice in a little bowl. Let if soften ther for 15 minutes
While thats sitting Mix 1/4 cup of the cream with the sugar and the vanilla bean in a small pot and put it over medium heat and stir it until it’s dissolved.
Stir in the gelatin mixture and stir until that’s dissolved too.
Pour the cream and gelatin mixture into a bowl and stir in the buttermilk and the lemon zest. Put this in the fridge for about ten minutes, until it’s just about cool. The gelatin will start to set up and you don’t want it too firm, you still need to add in the whipping cream, BUT if you add the whipping cream in while it’s still warm the bubbles you’ve whipped into the cream will collapse. So just open the fridge door every couple of minutes and give it a stir. Once you notice it sticking to the sides a bit, you can carefully fold in your whipping cream.
And now pour it into your tart shell!
Now put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes until it is set up nicely.
In the meantime mix your berries and your jam. You might find it easier to warm the jam up in the microwave for a few seconds.
Now gently spoon all the strawberries onto the tart. And there you have a ridiculously good summer dessert!