Food has a way of evoking memories from the past, baking that first cake with grandma, a bucolic summer’s day complete with bees skipping from flower to flower, the first day you spied your soon to be husband over a bunch of bananas at the supermarket…well you get the picture. At the same time, it can also remind you of the not so pleasant. This week’s Baking with Julia challenge, ‘baked yoghurt tart’, took me back to memories of one of my mother’s favourite winter desserts: baked custard. Frankly (sorry Mum..), I always found baked custard disgusting and to make matters worse she would insist we eat it, with the huffy reminder that there were less fortunate children in other parts of the world who didn’t have enough food. Don’t get me wrong I love crème brulee, which after all is a baked custard, so I really don’t know how my mother could get her baked custard so wrong, but she did. I have always been of the opinion that dessert should be a pleasure and should be enjoyed with every fibre of your being, but it’s optional if you don’t want it – don’t eat it. Unfortunately, my mother didn’t share this point of view….if she made it, you ate it. She ruled with a rod of iron.
So it was with great trepidation that I joined this week’s Baking with Julia challenge because I couldn’t think of anything (apart from mum’s custard) that could be worse than baking yoghurt. Rather than make one large tart I used smaller cake pans to make mini tarts. I used a short sweet pastry rather than the flaky pie dough as I am not a fan of shortening in pastry. The yoghurt filling was easy to make and rather than blind bake the pastry first, I simply baked the pastry with the filling as there was plenty of baking time to allow the pastry to cook. They looked good coming out of the oven, but the baked yoghurt smell was a bit off putting (for me).
As I was not ‘feeling’ the baked yoghurt concept I decided that once the tart was cooked and cooled I would top with lemon curd, fresh strawberries and crushed macadamia nuts, which I got from my dwarf macadamia tree. For decoration, I made some white chocolate shards and used a chocolate transfer to create a music pattern. And the verdict….. drumroll please……
Mr LG felt without the lemon curd and other toppings the yoghurt filling was a bit bland.
Personally, I couldn’t get past the smell of the baked yoghurt, I did have a small taste, but it was definitely not a winner for me; I had a great childhood, but some things are just too traumatic!
So, in conclusion, it’s this writer’s opinion, that baked yoghurt is what the Supremes are to Diana Ross…brilliant accompaniment, but not the star act.
For the recipe see the book Baking with Julia.
To see how the others got on check out the Baking with Julia / Tuesdays with Dorie website.