Celebrating Two Blog-years with Velveteers and an Aromatic Giveaway

Pistachio and Strawberry Tartlettes Top View 2

Oof! I can't believe it! It's been two years already! That is... since I started this blog as a means to express my interests in food and writing.. add to that, now, photography! :)

So, what do I have to say about the last year?! Soooo much! Milestones reached and crossed, experiments tried, failed and understood, creations that stretch my imagination and skill, devoured and appreciated. Being part of the Daring Kitchen has pushed me beyond my comfort zone, stimulating me to create and innovate and it has all been such a fantastic learning platform.

Strawberry and Ginger jam

But, most of all, this blog has brought me in touch with some amazing people and inspiring food bloggers. I finally surrendered to the pressures of social media, but, that has only opened more doors and brought me ever so closer to these incredible people. I am now on Twitter and have a Facebook Page.

Everyday, as I trawl through my favorite websites and drool over their award worthy photos, I am inspired to make new things, experiment more, discover my latent talents and become better.

So, in this post, I want to thank all those people who have been such an influence in the making and growing of this blog. Most of all I want to thank YOU readers for your kind patronage, warm compliments and helpful feedback and comments....Oh! and Keep them coming for many more years!! :))

Pistachio and Strawberry Tartlette single

And, now onto the Velveteers. This month, we chose a Summer dessert theme showcasing the fruits of the season combined with nuts. I salute the upcoming warm months with cool Pistachio and Strawberry Tartelettes.

It's still Spring here and the season for fresh berries of all kinds. I was particularly attracted to the lovely, enticing red of the strawberries in their prime. So, I picked up a couple of pounds of the fresh fruit and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days while I let my mind stew over ideas. It took all my faculties just to save some from Mr. FSK, who insisted that the fruit was best eaten as is! :O

Pistachio and Strawberry Tartlettes

When inspiration struck, it was for a simple tart with a pistachio crust with a filling made of layers of homemade strawberry and ginger jam and yogurt and topped over with candied pistachios. Simple, Sweet and Summer-y! :)

I added the ginger to the jam to cut into all the sweetness from the fruit and the sugar. It turned out to be very strawberry with a mild hint of spice that just about balances the fruitiness.

And, finally, the giveaway - the part, for which, you all put up with all that verbosity above! :). To celebrate the 2 year mark and a wonderful start to the third, I am gifting a pack of Saffron Threads and Saffron hinted Red Sea Salt to one lucky winner anywhere in the world.

Leave me a comment, by May 31, telling me what you would like to see more of in the blog. I will choose one winner (using the random number algorithm) and announce the same in the first week of June! Thanks for all your feedback!:))

Pistachio and Strawberry Tartelettes
(makes 3-4 three inch tartelettes)

For the Pate Sucree crust:

3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 stick butter
2 T pistachios
1 T granulated sugar
3 T powdered sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
pinch of salt
milk, as needed

For the filling:

Homemade strawberry & ginger jam (recipe below)
3/4 cup strained yogurt
5 T whole milk
4 T powdered sugar

Grind the pistachios with the granulated sugar to make a fine powder. Sift together the pistachios, powdered sugar, salt and flour. Cut butter into the mixture until you get a crumbly mixture. Add the yolk and add as much milk as needed to just about gather into a ball.

Pat in a round about an inch high and refrigerate for atleast 2 hours. When ready, roll the dough out to 1/8 th inch thickness. Cut out circles large enough to fit your mold. Press the dough into the mold being careful not to pull or stretch. Do NOT cut off the excess overhangs. Freeze for 30 minutes (ensures no shrinkage while baking.)

While the tart firms up, preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut off the excess overhangs before popping the tarts into the oven. Cover with foil and place weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for a few minutes, until golden. Remove and cool on rack.

For the filling, whisk together the milk, yogurt and sugar. Set aside. When the tarts are cool enough, spread a generous teaspoon of the jam at the bottom of each tart. Fill to rim with the yogurt mixture. Top with slices of strawberry and chunks of candied pistachio.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve.

Strawberry & Ginger Jam

1 lb (1/2 kg) strawberries
1/4 sugar (or less, depending on how sweet the berries are)
3 inch chuck of ginger, in chunks
1 tsp salt
3 T pectin
juice of 1 lemon

In a sauce pan, heat the lemon juice, sugar and salt until it starts to liquefy. Add in the strawberries and chunks of ginger. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that comes to the top. Continue cooking for another five minutes. You can now fish out the ginger pieces if you want. I left mine in 'coz I don't mind them...

Add the pectin when the mixture is at a rolling boil and bring to a boil again. Continue cooking till the mixture thickens to a jam consistency. Pour into jars immediately and seal.

Pistachio and Strawberry Tartlettes Top View


Velveteers was started by Aparna, Asha, Alessio and Pam, who are passionate about different cuisines and food in general. Each month, we will attempt a new dish and share our experiences and the recipes we used. If you’re interested in joining the Velveteers, please feel free to drop by our food blogs and leave a comment and drop me a line at asha@forkspoonnknife.com.

Do, check out what the other Velveteers have created:

Alessio - http://recipetaster.blogspot.com/