Peonies and strawberries – two of my most favourite things. Celebrating the beginning of May may home feels like a paradise. Lightly scented pink peonies grace the living-room with charm. Sweet and tart strawberries bring the kitchen back to life. A splash of colour. A sweetness of taste. A promise for a summer. My imagination is opening a hidden door and I am already walking on the beach, collecting seashells, bathing in sunlight.
Luckily we do not need to wait that long to taste the summer. A delicious Strawberry Tart with Basil Cream invites hungry glances in the kitchen, eager to have a go. Fragrant Italian amaretti biscuits for the base, sweet cream filled with passion fruit and basil leaves makes the second layer, topped with sweet powder sugar dusted strawberries and fresh mint leaves. There is something so delicate, sweet and refreshing in these flavours. It is a simple recipe with limited steps and easy to follow instructions. Oh, and it looks divine!
The recipe comes from one of my favourite cook books by Valli Little, called Delicious Home Cooking. It is full of dishes that are super easy, look fantastic and taste divine. Seasonal chapters make this cookbook really easy to follow and ensures that you are always cooking with the best seasonal produce. It’s smart. A cook book close to my kitchen and even closer to my heart!
200g amaretti (Italian almond biscuits)*
125g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
2 x 250g punnets strawberries, halved if large
2 tbs icing sugar, sifted, plus extra to serve
600ml thickened cream
2 tsp finely grated lime zest
Pulp of 2 passionfruit
6 large basil leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup (95g) thick Greek-style yoghurt
1. Grease a 22cm loose-bottomed tart pan.
2. Place the amaretti in a food processor and whiz to fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse a few times to combine, then press into the base and sides of the tart pan.
3. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up.
4. Place the strawberries in a bowl and toss with the icing sugar. Set aside.
5. Place the cream and lime zest in separate bowl and beat with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Strain the passionfruit pulp into the cream mixture, pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible and discarding the seeds, then gently fold to combine. Fold in the basil and yoghurt.
6. Fill the tart shell with the basil cream and arrange the strawberries on top. Serve the tart dusted with extra icing sugar.