Strawberry Tart with Goat Cheese, Orange Blossom Honey, Lavender and Thyme
Source: Mark May, Executive Chef, Lone Eagle Grille
It was prepared for CUESA's Market to Table program on April 2, 2011.
For the tart
1½ tablespoons orange blossom honey
2 tablespoons 10 year old balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon fennel pollen
¼ teaspoon dried lavender
¼ teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
4 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
4 sheets phyllo dough
½ cup clarified butter, melted
Non-stick cooking spray
½ cup crushed nut praline (recipe below)
For the nut praline
2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 cup white sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup water
1 cup nuts (you can use any nut you like - almond, pecan, pine nut, etc)
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the tart
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Place a sauté pan in the oven to preheat. In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, fennel pollen, lavender and thyme. Add the strawberries and cheese and toss to combine.
2. Set the phyllo on a work surface; cover with a clean damp kitchen towel so the sheets do not dry out. Take one sheet of phyllo, keeping the rest of the phyllo covered, and brush the surface with the butter. Repeat with remaining three sheets, layering them on top of each other, until all four have been brushed with the butter.
3. Place the strawberry mixture onto the center of the phyllo in a pile and draw the phyllo up around the berries to form a flower-like shape. Spray with the cooking spray and sprinkle with the crushed praline. Place the tart in the preheated sauté pan and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into four pieces with a serrated knife and serve (at the Lone Eagle Grille, we serve with vanilla ice cream).
For the praline
1. Grease a large cookie sheet with butter. Set aside. Add sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water to a heavy bottom two-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to a boil. Stir in nuts. Set a candy thermometer in up on the side of the pan so it is not touching the bottom. Cook, stirring frequently, until temperature reaches 300º F (150º C), or until a small amount of the mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
2. Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. With two forks, lift and pull the mixture into a rectangle about 14-x12-inches; cool completely. Snap candy into pieces and enjoy.