I love when a recipe that I’ve conjured up in my head actually comes out as planned. Have had my share of kitchen disasters, but this time, I must say total success. I know yummy doesn’t really add anything to the conversation, doesn’t describe the flavors, but what the heck, this is one yummy dessert.
It all started with the strawberries and grew from there. I knew that I wanted to roast the strawberries in the oven with a little brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and fortified wine (in this case Madeira, since that’s what I had on hand, but Marsala, sherry, or port would be equally good). Initially was thinking (okay, dreaming) about a dark chocolate flourless cake and spooning the roasted strawberries on top. But, these tartlets seemed a more spring-like and a bit on the lighter side, a little less decadent (but there will be a chocolate flourless cake in the future).
Next, I needed a crust for my tartlets. Butter crust? Not exactly what I had in mind. I know, a ginger snap crust, perfect; spice things up a bit. You can certainly use store bought ginger snaps, or, if feeling adventurous, make your own. These ginger snaps are homemade using three forms of ginger — fresh, ground, and crystallized — with a touch of cardamom and clove, which makes for one spicy cookie. It all works really well together, from the ginger snap crust, to the vanilla cream filling, to the roasted strawberries on top.
Bake 13 minutes for slightly chewy cookies or 15 minutes for more crisp cookies…
Roasted Strawberry Tartlets with Ginger Snap Crust
Makes 3 (5-inch) tartlets
For the Crust
2 1/4 cups crumbled ginger snaps
6 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Roughly grind the gingersnap cookies in a food processor (yielding 2 1/4 cups). Add the melted butter and process until moistened. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and up sides of each 5-inch tarlet pan with removable bottom. Place the tartlet pans on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.
Assembling the Tartlets
Spoon the pastry cream into each tartlet. Gently remove each tartlet from its pan. Top with some roasted strawberries and mint for garnish. Dig in!!
Note: you can prepare the crust, pastry cream, and roasted strawberries ahead of time. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. Assemble the tartlet just before serving.
yields 2 1/2 dozen cookies
3 ounces white sugar
3 ounces dark brown sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) butter
1/4 cup (3 ounces) molasses
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
4 ounces crystallized ginger, finely chopped
9 ounces all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat, half all-purpose, or all white-wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degree.
Place the white and brown sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the molasses, egg, and fresh ginger and beat on medium for 1 minute. Add the crystallized ginger and using a rubber spatula, stir to combine.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cardamom, clove, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until well combined.
Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Place onto a parchment lined sheet pan approximately 2-inches apart. Gently press to flatten (but not completely),with the bottom of a cup.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 13 minutes for slightly chewy cookies or 15 minutes for more crisp cookies. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Note: For a chewier cookie you can use all brown sugar (naturally more moist due to the addition of molasses). For a crispier cookie you can use all white sugar. I decided to split the difference and use half and half.
1 pound strawberries, cut in half
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fortified wine (such as Madeira, Marsala, sherry, or port); used Madiera
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries in sugar, balsamic, and wine. Place the strawberries on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Combine the juices and strawberries and transfer to a bowl or airtight container.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and salt over medium heat. Bring to a low boil. Slowly whisk in 1/2 of the milk mixture to the egg mixture. Add the remaining milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan, whisking nonstop until thick, about 2-3 minutes.
Pour into a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to cool. Incorporate the butter, a little at a time, and whisk until completely smooth. Cover with plastic wrap so that it directly touches the cream, and let cool completely in the refrigerator.