We are in the middle of a HEATWAVE! It was 37 degrees C today, and as I write this post at 11pm at night, it is still 30 degrees outside. There is no air conditioning in my apartment, and baking wasn't exactly the best way to keep the place cool. But I wasn't about to step outside and sweat under the hot sun either. So the lesser of the two evils was chosen, and I set out to make something delicious and summery to make me appreciate this weather a little more.
My sister Tania had stayed for a week on her way back to New York from Jakarta. When we were strolling on Rue de la Convention a couple of days ago, when we were pleasantly surprised by a small fruit shop that had stayed open during the French summer exodus. In the quaint and quiet shop, Tania commented on how ripe and red the strawberries looked and implored that we purchase some. So today, to be at home with a large punnet of gorgeous red strawberries on an idle afternoon, making strawberry tarts seemed to be the way to go.
However, it has to be said that working with tart dough in this kind of weather can be tricky! The high ambient temperature means that the dough can soften up and stick to the counter upon rolling. But this problem could be avoided by working very swiftly and line the tart rings as quickly as possible before the whole thing turns into a sticky mess. For my tarts, I decided to use a chocolate "pâte sablée" recipe by Pierre Herme for the tart shells. They were filled with delicious pistachio cream and jellied strawberry puree before topping them off with fresh strawberries. There is a little surprise in the center as well.. You'll see what I mean soon!