This weekend as is traditional in the ‘Smith’ family we all headed to my parents for my Mum’s birthday. It’s nice knowing that whatever happens, however busy we all are, we all make an extra special effort to ensure we keep the weekends free for celebrating birthdays in our family. It means that excluding Christmas, there is at least six occasions in the year when everyone gets to catch up, have a drink and keep up-to-date with what we’re all up to. And it’s been like that for as long as I can remember.
I think that makes us pretty lucky as a family and I’m looking forward to when my sister moves back to the UK and can join us at the kitchen / garden table in person rather than on skype sat at the table on a computer screen!
Mum normally conjures up the desserts for these birthday celebrations but seeing as it’s her birthday, my Dad and I did our best to only let her make some ice cream so that I could provide the birthday cake / tart.
I saw this dessert on a blog that I love to read called ‘how sweet it is’ and it immediately came to mind as the perfect dessert to make for Mum on her birthday. The author of the blog, Jessica, has the most infectious love of all things food that just reels you in and makes your mouth water at all the beautiful photos she takes of her creations. You just wish you lived in her household so that you could get to taste it all… although I’d be about five stone heavier if that was the case… she doesn’t hold back on the extras which makes you like her even more.
The great thing about this tart is that it is so beautifully simple to make but looks like you must have been slaving away in the kitchen for hours to make something so delicious and pretty. With fresh juicy strawberries in season and the fact that they are cut into delicate roses, it really does shout the perfect summer pudding for any celebration.
The only twist I made on this pudding was to create a crust using nuts, oats and dates rather than a more traditional cheesecake base of butter and digestive biscuits. I thought the crunch of nuts and oats would work well against the smooth creamy mascarpone smothered on top and I wasn’t wrong.
It was like having a lovely flapjack base (without all the sugar) and the rose strawberries stood bright and inviting against the pillows of mascarpone cream.
It got Mum’s approval and that’s the main thing.
Strawberry Rose Tart
A small twist on the recipe Strawberry Rose Tart from How Sweet Eats
For the base:
100 organic rolled oats
200g medjool dates, soaked in water to soften for a few hours
½ tsp vanilla bean
For the filling:
350g mascarpone cheese
150g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla bean
For the topping:
14-16 strawberries (depending on the size of the strawberries) cut into roses if you have the time!
Fresh mint leaves
Honey for drizzling
To make the base:
Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees.
Butter ‘well’ your 4 x 14 inch loose bottomed tin.
Place all your ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you’ve got a crumbly texture, you don’t want flour, but you need the dough to be sticking together.
Press the mixture into your tin and up the sides to create your crust. Try to make it as smooth and even as you can with the back of a spoon. You might have a bit too much mixture, so don’t over fill once you’ve got a thin even layer of crust in your tin.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. You’re looking for a light golden colour.
Leave to cool in the tin. You can make the crust up to a couple of days in advance and store in an airtight container or covered in cling film. Leave it in the tin for now in case you knock it. It will be quite crumbly.
To make the filling:
Stir together the mascarpone, icing sugar , lemon juice and vanilla bean paste until it is well combined, creamy and spreadable on your base. Spread the mascarpone filling into your base so that you have an even layer and place in the fridge to chill.
When you’re ready to serve, add your strawberries, mint leaves and drizzle on some honey if you fancy.
Remove from the tin before serving, it should just slide out if you buttered the tin well!