Regular reader(s) know that I like to make things from scratch as often as possible as it gives me inordinate pleasure to recognize that I’m capable of doing things in the kitchen that fall under the aegis of ‘how is THAT made?’ and to, personally at least, clear away the mystery.

Soufflés, pastry cream, layer cakes…doable.

At Berkeley Bowl today wifey spotted sweet strawberries from Mexico; a huge four pounds of them for $2.75. Score. No doubt these were sprayed up the kazoo over the growing season with pesticides and the like, but…well, I’ve eaten strawberries like this all my life. When should you stop? Time enough to worry about it, I suppose, but not today.

So I had to take the frozen tart shell out of the freezer for tomorrow, and tonight I made the pastry cream. What is pastry cream you might ask? Why, the sweet gooey stuff that fruit tarts are often nestled upon in their tart shells. Over heat mix milk, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt till boiling. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch, sugar, a little more milk, and four egg yolks and pour a bit of the hot milk mix into the egg mixture to temper it, then pour the whole mess back into the pot, stir regularly and watch it thicken like a mother in middle age till its the consistency of pudding. Add two tablespoons of butter, cool in an ice bath, and cover and refrigerate for three days.

In my case–until tomorrow when I’ll assemble it. If any friends in Pinole area want to drop by for dinner and dessert, they’re welcome. Just call.

Pastry cream–without lemon per wifey’s preference


Frozen lo these many weeks–the tart shell!


Four lbs of strawberries!