Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It Changes Everything and Strawberry Tarts

Gypsy Slow Down

It's quiet in my house and dark because the clouds are coming in and there is thunder rumbling in the distance. Not everyone likes cloudy days and after a series of grey skies I admit that I start to get antsy. But after a glaringly sunny and hot summer, I love these days. The days of September when you wear your shorts but sometimes at night you put a sweater over your tank top and the grass is lush from the rain and showers pelt the windows like comfort. I just finished a yoga video and my lungs feel refreshed like the rain from all the breathing. I used to do yoga but I did it for exercise and so I rushed through the breathing and focused on my muscles and the toning up I felt like I was doing. The other day my kids were doing back bends and I did a back bend position that I used to could do so easily but um, hello, it was really hard! I have been reading about how doing yoga can be like acupuncture and stimulates good blood flow to different parts of your body. So I pulled out the green mat that I have had forever and watched a video.

Gypsy Slow Down

I tried to do the yoga differently this time and focused on breathing and my gratitude list during the poses. And it was so much more than it used to be when I just did it to tone up. I will still probably be sore tomorrow, but this time I spent time thanking God while I was stretching and moving and the stress melted away. I like to exercise, I'm proud of my marathon and the half marathons I've done, but I want to start to exercise to thank God for my body, not to punish my body. After all, he said I was fearfully and wonderfully made. I forget that really easily.

Gypsy Slow Down

Yesterday I was sitting at work, at the park, and writing some things on my gratitude list and I realized that I was at #700 which was kind of exciting. And I thought back to when I started the list and what's happened during the list and how it has changed me. There were times when I was happy and there were so many things I wanted to write down that my mind moved faster than my pen. But then there were other times when I wanted to curl up and cry but I forced myself to get out the notebook and the words came so slowly but when they did...they changed everything. And I am so grateful for the list. 

Gypsy Slow Down

#701 on the list is a strawberry tart! When we were in Atlanta having a great weekend with my sister and her family, we went to Ikea. I like Ikea, the last time I went there was in Paris with Carol Anne. We borrowed her bosses car and drove out to the suburbs and I got a really ugly pink and purple fish rug for my tiny apartment and was overwhelmed with all the fun home stuff. When we were there this weekend it was so packed that you could barely move since it was a holiday weekend, but I managed to score a few cool items like a pretty red tart pan. I have wanted to make a fruit tart since I saw the Master Chef episode where they made them during a competition (I am loving Master Chef this season because of Christine, the first blind contestant. She is so inspiring and amazing). 

Pastry cream intimidates me a bit but this one from Real Simple was just that, real simple. I used Stevia and I added some heavy cream because I thought it got a bit thick. I used a pastry recipe from here but used white whole wheat flour and left out the sugar. So here's my Strawberry Tart recipe. 

Gypsy Slow Down

Strawberry Tart 

Pastry Cream

4 large egg yolks
13 packets Stevia in the raw
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Heavy cream if needed
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces


1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoons salt

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar free strawberry jam (I used Smuckers)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse flour and salt until blended. Blend butter until it turns into moist crumbs. Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. With floured fingers, press dough evenly into pan and up sides. Dip a dry-measuring cup in flour, and use it to press dough firmly into bottom and against sides of pan. Freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Prick all over with fork and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until brown. Let cool completely in pan.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, Stevia, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the milk. Cook over medium high heat for 2 to 4 minutes until thick. Add heavy cream to thin out if necessary  Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla then the butter until melted and smooth. Pour into a bowl. Place a piece of parchment paper directly on the surface and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 2 hours.

Heat jam over stove until it turns into liquid. Place pastry cream in pie crust. Arrange the strawberries around the tart and brush with jam. Let set and serve.

Gypsy Slow Down

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