Elderflowers Crème Fraîche Tart with British Strawberries
Elderflowers Crème Fraîche Tart with British Strawberries

Elderflowers Crème Fraîche Tart with British Strawberries

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    Serves 6
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Finally the elderflowers have shown their face, slightly later than last year as I had all my elderflower cordial made by this time. I’m a firm believer that all good things comes to those who wait. The trees are looking heavy in bloom and a bumper harvest is predicted. In the meantime, whilst waiting for the flowers to mature, prepare to make that all important elderflower cordial. I found it quite difficult this year to find citric acid, an ingredient important in the preserving stage of the cordial. I had to resort to buy it from the internet.

Elderflower cordial has so many wonderful uses and is not only good for a refreshing elderflower drink on a hot summers day but is also perfect for delicious jellies and works a treat in sorbets and ice-creams. The flowers could be dipped in a light tempura batter and fried until crisp to serve as a garnish for added texture.

I used the elderflower cordial to flavour this delicious crème fraîche tart and paired it up with a lovely array of strawberry treats. Its great fun, you might not have all the tools to make all the garnishing bits, but if you can give the tart a go as it’s simply wonderful.

The recipe for this tart has been in Mr.P’s little black recipe book since he began cooking in 1996. This recipe did cause us a bit of drama and distress at first as we had ‘filed it’ in a safe place’. We must have tipped the house upside down looking for it, you can imagine as I do not quite know what it looks like, all I know it’s written in pen on a small piece of paper belonging to this little black book that had lost its cover. We were searching high and low for about a week, Mr.P hardly spoke to me as I obviously got the blame for it’s disappearance. He was walking around like a bear with a sore head who had just lost his best friend. Finally we found the piece of paper and we could actually get on with making this dish.

To top it all off, the ingredients that we had purchased to make this dish had gone off by the time we found the recipe, so back to the beginning and we started the journey again from scratch. It was definitely worth the effort as it’s delicious and well worth the time, tears, tantrums and effort. I think the lesson learned was not to store things’ in safe places’ or do not purchase your ingredients until you have located the recipe. We are now giggling over the chaos that we caused ourselves; at the time it was quite a traumatic event. Boy’s and their….not really toy’s…but …..well recipes!photo of Elderflowers Crème Fraîche Tart with British Strawberries

Ingredients & Method

Elderflower Crème Fraîche Tart

  • 240g sweet pastry
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 100g elderflower cordial
  • 500g crème fraîche, drained weight

For the Strawberry Sorbet

  • 500g frozen hulled strawberries
  • 70g caster sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1tbs berry liqueur
  • 1 free-range egg white

For the Strawberry Pearls

  • 150g fresh overripe strawberries, hulled
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 2 leaves of gelatine, soaked
  • 500ml peanut or ground nut oil

For the Strawberry Sherbet

  • 20g dried strawberries
  • ¼tsp citric acid (normally used to make elderflower cordial)
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g sifted icing sugar

For the Elderflower Macerated Strawberry with Summer Savory

  • 4 whole fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 20ml elderflower liquor (St Germain)
  • 1 sprig of summer savory finely chopped

For the elderflower crème fraîche tart.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface, to about 4mm thick, carefully line the pastry ring, and leave the pastry hanging over the edges. Line a 10cm x 35cm x 2.5cm pastry case with blind baking beans and blind bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 150°C and continue blind baking until the pastry is cooked and crisp without any colour. While the pastry is blind baking, prepare the second stage of the elderflower and crème fraîche filling.

Prepare the crème fraîche 1 hour in advance, weigh 600g crème fraîche into a sieve lined with muslin cloth, leave to drain in the fridge.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds until light and fluffy, stir in the lime zest, elderflower syrup and weigh 500g drained crème fraîche into the mix, mix well.

Once the tart case is blind baked reduce the temperature to 110°C.

Pour the crème fraîche mixture into the tart case and bake the tart for 45 minutes or until just set. One wobble in the center is good. Carefully remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

For the Strawberry Sorbet

Weigh the sugar into the Thermomix bowl, secure the lid and blend on speed 10 for 10 seconds, add the frozen strawberries, lemon juice and liqueur. Secure the lid and insert the Thermomix spatula, gently turn the speed dial to speed 10 and blend. Scrape the sides down and repeat this process until the strawberries are smooth. Add the egg white. Blend for 30 seconds on speed 10. Scrape the sides down and insert the butterfly whisk and whisk the sorbet on speed 4 for 30 seconds. Transfer the sorbet in to the cold plastic container and store in freezer until needed.

For the Strawberry Pearls

To make the strawberry pearls, place the oil in the freezer to chill as cold as you possibly can get it. Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft. Blend the strawberries with the sugar until smooth, melt the soaked gelatine and add to the strawberry juice and pass it through a fine sieve.
Use a small syringe or pipette and drop small droplets of the strawberry mixture into the cold oil, leave them to set. Once the pearls are set, carefully transfer them to a small sieve and lightly rinse them under cold running water, leave to drain. Keep the strawberry pearls chilled until needed.

For the Strawberry Sherbet

To prepare the strawberry sherbet, weigh 20g of the dried strawberries, citric acid, sifted icing sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a food processor and blend till a fine powder. Keep the sherbet in a clean airtight container of glass jar until needed.

For the Elderflower Macerated Strawberry with Summer Savoury

For elderflower macerated strawberry with summer savoury, wash and hull the strawberries, pat them dry. Cut the strawberries in half and slice each half keeping it together. Place the sliced strawberries in a small container and splash over the elderflower cordial and sprinkle the chopped savoury. Leave to marinate for five minutes.

To Serve, cut the tart into even size portions and arrange the garnishes on the plate with the sorbet and serve immediately.