It is getting to that time of year when strawberries are in abundance and are also extremely affordable. Got to love seasonality! Whereas in midwinter it can be £3 for 200g, I managed to get 1kg for the same price. Although strawberries are a staple for the breakfast smoothies The Gorgeous One makes, with this many I get to use them for baking as well.
I knew I had a few tart rings of sweet pastry in the freezer to use up left over pastry so thought this would be an ideal time to use them. I know the classic strawberry tart is really a crème patissiere or crème mousseline topped with the fruit. Lovely as that is I wanted to do something a little different. Coincidently the theme for this week’s @sundaybakeclub was creativity so what better excuse to get my thinking cap on and get inventing. Thankfully this experiment tuned out a lot better than some of my other culinary inventions.
The result of my culinary inventiveness is this gorgeous strawberry and white chocolate mousse in a lovely sweet ginger shortcrust pastry, topped with a dark chocolate glaze. (Feel I should be auditioning for a Marks and Spencer advert!) The strawberry and white chocolate mousse could also be enjoyed by itself but isn’t everything better with a bit of pastry!
I may be taking credit for the combination but there are a list of people I must thank for the components. The pastry recipe is my go to sweet pastry and gets used a lot, so thank you Ryan Chong. The mousse recipe is adapted from goodtoknow and the chocolate glaze is from Hairy Bikers.
Makes 4 Tarts (10 Cm) or could make into a huge tart
Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse
- 2 Egg Whites
- 125ml Whipping Cream
- 100g White Chocolate
- 100g Strawberries (plus some for decoration)
Sweet Ginger Pastry
- 200g Plain Flour
- 40g Icing Sugar
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- Pinch of Salt
- 125g Butter
- 1 Egg (Could just use the yolks)
- 2 tbsp Caster Sugar
- 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 2 tbsp Whipping Cream (Milk in the original recipe)
- 50g Butter
I already had tart cases in the freezer due to leftovers from previous bakes but details are below if you are making fresh. If you are going to make the pastry ahead of time then defrost completely before baking.
Sieve the flour, icing sugar, salt, and ginger together. Cube the butter and rub into the flour mixture, it will take several minutes to incorporate all the butter and for the mix to look like fine breadcrumbs but the time spent here is worth it in the end. I normally just use an egg to bind the pastry together but as the whites will be needed for the mousse then just use the yolks and add a little water if needed. Mix to the stage where it has all come together into a ball. I always find it easier to mix the pastry by hand rather than starting with a wooden spoon, a bit mucky to start with but works better for me. Wrap the ball of pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
Split the pastry into 3 balls and roll one out to a rough circle around 16cm diameter and 3mm thick. One of the reasons I absolutely love Ryan’s sweet ginger pastry is that it is fairly easy to work with and doesn’t stick and tear as much as some of the other recipes I have used in the past, however I would advise keeping the rolling pin dusted with a little flour. Gently roll the pastry up around the rolling pin as it makes it so much easier to lift without stretching the pastry further and gradually unroll over the 10cm tart tin. Lift up the edges to evenly guide the pastry to cover the entire base of the tart tin. Trim off the excess pastry and put to one side then go back to the tart tin and gently press the pastry into the fluted sides. Still worth doing this step if you have a straight sided tin as well. Repeat with the other 2 balls of pastry and combining all the offcuts should give you enough to line the 4th tart tin. Chill in the fridge for 20 min and preheat the oven to 180oC.
Line the tart tins with baking paper and fill with baking beads (or uncooked rice works just as well) and blind bake for 15-18 mins. Remove the baking paper and beads and bake again for another 5-7 mins. I went to the higher end of this range as this is all the baking the pastry will get so need to get a lovely golden brown at this stage. Leave the pastry cases in the tart tins to cool.
To make the mousse I whipped the egg whites to stiff peaks, added a third of the sugar and whipped until incorporated. I added another third of the sugar and whipped again before adding the final third to create a lovely glossy meringue. I even did the hold-the-bowl-over-your-head test as per the cover of James Morton’s new book.
I whipped the cream until it thickened and just solidified, then melted 100g of white chocolate (double boiler, bowl over boiling water, or even in the microwave if you have one of those things). As I wanted some chocolate covered strawberries for a garnish I dipped them in the white chocolate and then placed on some tinfoil to set. This turned out to be fiddlier than I thought and ended up having to use a spoon to rescue the strawberries as I couldn’t pick them out. Fold the rest of the molten chocolate through the whipped cream. Then add a third of the meringue and fold through, another third and fold, and then the final third. As I wanted some fruity bits within my mousse I chopped half of the strawberries into small chunks and then blitzed the other half in my trusty nutribullet (other food processors work perfectly well). Fold in the strawberry chunks and puree, the mousse will go a very delicate pink (so delicate you might not even notice!).
Gently spoon the mousse into your pastry cases (or bowls if foregoing the pastry) and using a teaspoon gently encourage it to the edges and flatten the top until the case is filled with a fairly level layer. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Now originally I was going to top these mousse tarts with a thin layer of ganache but while I was out The Gorgeous One found the chocolate and thinking it was leftover found another home for it in his stomach. Thankfully I had a backup recipe for a chocolate glaze. Add the cocoa powder, caster sugar, whipping cream and butter into a small saucepan and heat through until it starts to simmer stirring occasionally. The Hairy Bikers recipe uses milk but would be a shame to waste the cream so I substituted. Let it cool slightly and you will have a lovely glossy shiny chocolate glaze. Take the tarts out of the fridge and delicately tap the top with your finger to check they have set. Gradually pour the glaze over the tarts, just enough to give a thin layer. Has to be poured as if you try to use a teaspoon to push the glaze to the edges you end up mixing it with the mousse.
I have entered this recipe in the following linkups/blogging challenges.
- Perfecting Patisserie hosted by TheCraftyLarder
- CookBlogShare hosted by SuperGoldenBakes and Patisserie Makes Perfect
- Simply Eggcellent hosted by Belleau Kitchen