Strawberry Tartlets a.k.a. Mary Berry is Surely to Blame for My Flabby Tummy

I’m not quite sure if telly has gone baking mad or it’s that all I want to watch are baking shows because I’m supposed to be dieting. Either way, I am addicted to the Great British Bake Off and as a consequence want to nothing of an evening but stuff my face with raw dough bake. Last week’s episode involving a lot of tarts combined with some strawberries that needed using up in the fridge sent me running for my electric mixer like the total sugar addict that I am.

What 2 insights that I ‘must’ test out did I gain this week?

1) Rolling out the dough between 2 sheets of cling film is amazing! You don’t require an extra 2 tons of flour and you don’t spend half an hour trying to get flour off your countertops/off the floor/out of the toaster later. It did mean I could roll them thinner, as suggested on telly.

2) Using quickly thrown together cling film bags of rice instead of parchment paper. I always used rice, but the bags seemed a good idea as I hate faffing with the paper (Husband loves cutting little perfect circles out and can’t understand my aversion). Stupidly I reused the cling film that I used for rolling out the dough, covering my reused rice in dough and meaning I had to throw them out. Face palm.

Sweet Pastry Dough: Recipe from Ottolenghi’s cookbook, which I love, and seems to be fool-proof. Ingredients (for 12 tartlets) – 165g plain flour, 50g of icing sugar (although I substituted 25g of Truvia baking sugar instead), 2 tbsp of lemon juice (recipe calls for zest of half a lemon, I’m lazy and just keep a bottle of juice in my fridge instead), 1/4 tsp salt, 90g cold cubed butter (I used 45g of butter and 45g of Flora light to try to feel less guilty), 1 egg yolk, 2 tbsp spoon cold water (although I did end up adding a couple more spoonfuls to get it to the right texture. I don’t do order, so I put them all together randomly in my mixer and then mushed a little more by hand. Put lump between 2 sheets of cling film, roll out thin, cut out circles with a small cup, put on muffin top tin, blind bake with beans/rice bags for about 8 minutes at 200g-ish (I’m not so good with paying attention to temps and timings, so you may need to see what works best for you).

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Filling: You could put anything you want in, Ottolenghi has recipes for chocolate one, mixed berry ones, custard ones, just get creative. I coated their bottoms with raspberry jam to keep them moist. I reduced about 10 large, chopped strawberries with a sprinkling of Truvia sugar substitute (but you can use any kind of sugar), a splash of lemon juice and a splash of peppermint essence.  I filled them and then baked for another couple minutes to get the filling and base to kind of bond. I crumbled a couple of digestive biscuits on top to give the strawberries a bit more texture.

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Verdict: Slight soggy bottom aside (they kept harping on about how easy they are to over-cook and made me paranoid, argh!), they were awesome. It’s probably better that the peppermint essence was subtle, when it was cooking I was a little paranoid about the over-whelming pong coming from the pan (Husband, the man who claims he likes all foods, isn’t a great fan of mintiness) and Weasel would not touch them with a bargepole (good, all for me) because they contained a highly-visible healthy element. Her loss, my gain. Literally. Mary Berry is clearly to blame for my bathing suit not fitting properly on holiday for sure.

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