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Basil, Pea and Pancetta Tart

Basil, Pea and Prosciutto Tart

Is this stock art? Sorry, but yes. We dived into the one we made minutes after taking it out of the oven, before thinking of taking a photo. But for the record, it did look this good.

This weekend, we had a lovely lunch at home with a friend that I haven’t seen in quite a while. I always love a good catch up – especially when it’s accompanied by some delish food!

We made a basil, pea and pancetta tart (and by “we,” I mean the royal “we,” in which my husband did all the cooking and I did the hard part of going to Whole Foods and purchasing the ingredients required.)

The recipe comes from BBC Good Food and will certainly join the summer tomato tart in our summer cooking repertoire (and by “our,” I mean the royal “our” in which I helpfully suggest delicious winning dishes, and my husband kindly does the cooking. Are you sensing a pattern?).

I’ve tweaked a bit of the recipe for American purposes but some of it was eyeballing and guesstimation while the royal “we” went along, and “we” did use scales for weight.

INGREDIENTS
284ml pot double cream
large bunch basil
1 pack shortcrust pastry (or make your own)
plain flour, for rolling out
175g frozen broad beans, defrosted and podded
1 bag frozen petits pois, defrosted
105g thinly sliced pancetta (we used cubed prosciutto instead)
3 eggs, plus 1 yolk
50g parmesan, finely grated, plus shavings to serve

Bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan, then take off the heat and drop in half the bunch of basil, making sure all the leaves and stems are fully immersed. Leave to infuse for at least an hour. Transfer to a lidded container and chill once cool, if preparing the day before. Meanwhile, roll the pastry out on a floured surface to about the thickness of 2 x £1 coins and use to line a 23cm loose-bottom tart tin. Chill on a baking sheet until ready to use.

Blanch the broad beans in a pan of boiling water for 1 min. Add the peas, bring back to the boil for another min, then drain and cool quickly under the cold tap. Drain, then dry on kitchen paper. Set aside. Heat grill to medim and cook the pancetta until it is crisp and golden, setting aside on kitchen paper to absorb any fat. Can be prepared up to this stage a day ahead.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F and put a second baking sheet in the oven. Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans. Slide the tin onto the hot baking sheet and bake blind for 15 mins, then lift out the paper and beans and cook for 5 mins more, until the pastry feels sandy. Meanwhile, strain the cream through a sieve, pressing the basil against the mesh with a non-metallic spoon or spatula to extract as much of the flavour as possible.

Turn oven down to 300 degrees F. Beat the eggs into the cream, stir in the parmesan and season to taste. Tear the pancetta and sprinkle into the case, along with the peas and beans. Pour in the egg and cream mix. (You may have a little left, depending on the depth of your tin.) Bake for about 50 mins-1 hr or until the custard is just set in the middle. Serve warm or cold, topped with shavings of parmesan and the remaining basil leaves.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, April 2006

Skort season

Boden Jersey Skort

Ah, I love a good skort. It’s literally the mullet (well, in the best possible sense of the word!) of the fashion world – skirt on the outside, shorts on the inside.

Boden has done a nice jersey skort ($32) this season that brings back childhood memories of summer. Sweet prints, easy to wear and requires no major ironing. Sizes range from kids 1 1/2 – 12.

Now if they could only make these for adults.

Boden Jersey Skort

Boden Jersey Skort

16 summertime Pimm’s recipes

Pimm's

Any time is the right time for Pimms, me thinks, but yes, when summer rolls around, cue the bottle of No. 1. It’s a pure disgrace that I haven’t cracked open a bottle yet this season.

I do intend to try out some of Buzzfeed.com’s best Pimm’s recipes, particularly #3 (so classy!) and #9 (so inventive!). How about you? Do you drink Pimm’s?

One American’s English trifle

Strawberry Trifle. Photo credit: Susan Jones.

Strawberry Trifle. Photo credit: Susan Jones.

Did anyone else hear the summer trifle story that was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” this week?

As part of their Taste of Summer recipe contest, they asked readers to submit their favorite “found recipes” and Indiana resident Susan Jones submitted this recipe for strawberry trifle, which she found on a country walk one day. (Presumably someone had thrown out lots of recipes and this was among the stack). It turned out to be a winning recipe for Jones.

One look at the recipe would make any Brit shudder. It’s a completely Americanized version of trifle, made with – horror of horrors! – Cool Whip and cream cheese. And having said that, I should add that I haven’t made it, but I can also nearly guarantee that it is absolutely delicious. Cool Whip + strawberries + angel food cake = an instant winner, no matter how you cut it. Blasphemous but true!


Recipe: Strawberry Trifle

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
12 ounces whipped cream or Cool Whip
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 angel food cake
3 quarts fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
Fresh mint

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy. Add whipped cream and vanilla. Cut angel food cake into small squares. Slice all but 3 or 4 strawberries. Gently mix sliced berries in bowl with 1/4 cup sugar; let sit for 15 minutes. Cover the bottom of a large trifle dish (clear, stemmed bowl) with a layer of the cake squares. Follow with a layer of cream cheese mixture, then strawberries. Alternate, ending with the cream cheese mixture on top. Garnish with reserved whole strawberries and mint leaves. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.