When I say it's a little book it physically is a bit smaller then the average cookbook and only has 60 or so pages, perfect size to slip inside a bag! Don't let the size fool you, it's packed full of tea time treats inspired by the world of Jane Austen; her work and her life!
My favourite thing about Tea with Jane Austen is that our author Pen Volger includes an old fashion version of the recipe next to the updated recipe - or how we read/write/cook today!
With a baked strawberry custard set in a sweet short crust pastry these would make a great tea time treat or if careful a perfect picnic treat! I would like to think Mr. & Mrs. Knightley would agree!
sweet shortcrust pastry:225g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cold water
Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add the cubed butter and using your finger tips combine the flour mixture and cold butter cubes until it looks like bread crumbs. You don't want the butter to melt, so be quick and firm when rubbing in the butter. Mix the egg yolk and water together before adding to the flour/butter mixture. Using a knife stir it all together it should form big clumps. Then using your hands bring the dough together. Add water if you need to little by little. No need to knead. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
strawberry custard:200g soft or damaged strawberries, hulled
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
40g plain flour
Grease 4 tartlet pans or a 9in/22cm tart tin. Heat the oven to 200C and take out the pastry from the fridge. Roll it out to about 1/4 inch or 5 mm thickened line the greased tartlet pans with the pastry. It's okay to leave some of the pastry having over the edge to help with shrinkage. Prick the pastry with a fork. Cover each tart pan with a sheet of grease proof paper and fill with baking beads and blind bake for 10-12 minutes for the tartlets and 15-18 for the tart tin.
Take them out of the oven and remove the paper and the baking beads and place back in the oven for 5 minutes or so.
While they are blind baking boil the milk and leave aside, cover it to keep it warm. Puree the strawberries and leave aside. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together with a whisk, until sugar has dissolved. Shift the flour in a third at a time beating well after each addition. Gradually pour in the boiled milk, whisking as you go. Return the custard mixture to the pan and heat until it just starts to boil - beat until the custard holds sits shape. Dip a wooden spoon into the mixture and pull it out. Run your finger down the spoon face, it should leave the line.
Take off the heat and beat in the strawberries. Pour into the pastry cases and bake for 10-15 minutes until the custard is set. Cool and serve! With strawberries or cream or meringues.
Suggestion: if you save the 3 egg whites from this recipe whip up some meringues to top your tarts with! Just half the recipe in this post I wrote: Waste Not Want Not!