Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I think my mind is still on Italy and I am pretty much drawn to all things Italy.  Sometimes I'll scroll through my photos and relive the sites and sounds (and tastes!).  It's still hard to believe I was actually there, and stood where Michelangelo painted his incredible Sistine Chapel and walked through the halls of the Uffizi.  

And I remember how fashionable everyone dresses over there--love the fashion!  There is nothing like it where I live, and no one here dresses like they do there.  Maybe if I were in, say, New York City, I wouldn't have noticed such a difference, but I'm pretty much in suburbia and work in corporate America, where Banana Republic seems to be more of the norm.  Perhaps being around the product of so much talent in Italy inspired the more creative side of me, and since I've been back, I'm more interested in exploring photography...and wanting to shop even more than I normally would, trying to be a little more adventurous with my sartorial choices.  Both are not inexpensive pastimes.

Though I haven't been baking and cooking as much recently, especially with traveling and then an increased devotion to some other "hobbies", that hasn't fallen away completely.  A girlfriend organized a girls' night this past weekend, and I was designated to bring a dessert.  Hooray, it was an opportunity to get back in the kitchen.  As I scrolled through (my default recipe repository), I came across an "Italian Strawberry Tart".  That was the winner, for sure.  For one, it said Italian--never mind that I didn't recall seeing anything like it while I was there; and for another, it was easy.  Easy is good, especially if it looks impressive and tastes as good as it looks.  The tart generated some oohs and aahs, and the girls loved it.  I like that it looks like there are little hearts blossoming throughout the dessert.  Kind of like how I still feel when I think about Italy...

Italian strawberry tart
Adapted from
Serves approximately 8

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

1.  In a bowl, mix together:
- 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. sea salt
- 1 t. ground cinnamon

2.  In the bowl of a mixer, cream together until the color turns light:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar

3.  Continue to mix into the bowl from #2:
- 2 large eggs
- 2 T. milk (whole or 2% lowfat)

4.  Slowly pour the flour mixture from #1 into the mixture from #3 and mix until just combined.

5.  Transfer the batter to a round 9" spring form pan.  The batter will be sticky.  Press into the batter in concentric circles:
- 2 to 3 cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved (save any extras for garnish).

6.  Bake the tart for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  Serve with whipped cream and fresh strawberries (optional).

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