Summer. It’s the season most people around the world love. It’s that time of year when the blue waters of the sea beckon us; when we enjoy the refreshing flavours of summery delights; when the days are long and productive; and the world is off on holiday. Yes, that’s what summer should be; but where I live, it’s everything but.
Out here in the Middle East, Summers are scorching, and while that may seem appealing to some, most of us living here can’t tolerate it. When the world seems to be getting some sun, we are busy hiding from it indoors with the air conditioner turned up full blast. No amount of summery refreshments can possibly quench our thirst for relief from the heat, and we are most certainly not chilling on the beach; well, not until later in the night at least.
In my world, the summer’s only saving grace is the large array of beautiful, colourful fruits adorning supermarket racks; so fresh, you can barely resist gobbling them up right there right then! Don’t you just love when the greens, yellows, reds, purples, pinks and oranges all come together? I always feel like I’m shopping for little pieces of the rainbow! To me, summers are all about sipping on fresh fruit juice and milkshakes and gorging on berries, watermelon, chikoos, plums, oranges and of course, MANGOES! I love fruits. And fruity desserts, well, God knows I can live on those!
So the past weekend, I decided to bake something fruity after quite a while. The primary reason for this baking experiment was my not-so-little-anymore cousin who has been bugging me to bake him a tart non-stop ever since my post on the ridiculously delicious Strawberry Custard Tart. Also, I had a bunch of bright yellow, juicy mangoes and gorgeous blood-red strawberries lying around the house. So, I decided to bake a Shortbread Tart filled with Custard and topped with Mangoes and Strawberries! (At this point, I was already imagining those gorgeous flavours dancing a summery samba in my mouth!) *SLUUURPPP* 😛
Tarts can be tricky. The consistency of the filling should be smooth and stiff, yet melt-in-the-mouth. The tart shell should be of even thickness all through and the sweetness and flavours of the shell, filling and topping need to be carefully balanced. But trust me, the precision involved and the care that is taken when baking a tart is all well worth the hassle when the tart ends up looking impeccably irresistible!
Without further ado, here’s the recipe for The Foodscape’s awesome Mango-Strawberry Tart!
Here’s what you need:
For the Shortbread Tart Shell:
- All Purpose Flour – 1 and 1/2 cups
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Icing Sugar – 45 g
- Unsalted Butter – 170 g, cold, cut into small chunks
For the Custard filling:
- Milk – 1 litre + 5 tbsp
- Sugar – 4 tbsp
- Custard Powder – 5 and 1/2 tbsp
For the topping:
- Mangoes – 2, fresh, sliced or cubed
- Strawberries – 500 g, washed and halved
This is how you make it:
- Sift together the all purpose flour, salt and icing sugar until airy.
- Using a hand mixer, or a food processor, blend together the the flour and icing sugar mixture with the cold butter until it forms clumps.
- Knead the clumps by hand until it forms into a dough.
- Press the dough into the tart tin and make sure it’s of even thickness throughout.
- Prick the dough with a fork and cover it. Cover it with cling wrap and pop into the freezer for 15 minutes. The dough should be pricked so that it doesn’t puff up while baking.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven at 220 degree Celsius for 10 minutes.
- Pop the shortbread tart shell into the oven and bake for 13 minutes or until it is golden brown.
- Take it out of the oven and leave to cool.
- As the shell cools, make the custard. Boil 1 litre of milk along with the sugar. In a small bowl, mix the custard powder with the rest of the milk and pour slowly into the boiling milk while stirring continuously. Once it thicken, take it off the heat and leave the custard to set.
- Once both the shell and custard are cooled through and set, pour the custard into the tart shell until it fills the tart. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Take the tart out of the fridge and decorate it with fresh mangoes and strawberries.
If you love summer fruits as much as I do, I’m sure you’ll be able to imagine just what this dessert tastes like! The crisp crust, creamy, subtley flavoured custard, and the hits of fruityness and delicious coming from the mangoes and strawberries are just extremely refreshing and rejuvenating. Eat it cold, and it will be an experience you’ll cherish forever. And you’ll surely be coming back from more. You just can’t stop, and before you know it, the entire tart will be gone! Don’t believe me? Here’s what my cousin had to say… 😛
So there you have it – the perfect summertime dessert to share with your loved ones! Oh, Happy Days! 😀
P.S: It was during the course of making the shortbread dough that I decided I wanted to bake mini tarts as well. So all I did was put little rounds of dough into cupcake moulds and pressed them in to make a shell. Then I baked them till they were golden brown – about 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. 🙂
Photography credits: Winola Peris