“Je suis une fraise, manges moi!”

Tarte aux fraises, photo by A. Köpping

By Alexandra Athanasopoulou Köpping

I once met a guy who was learning in all possible languages the sentence “I am a strawberry, eat me!” Then when he met people from a specific nationality, he would say it in their language with a perfect accent. He said it was a nice ice breaker. I am not sure how successful it has been. Anyway, I thought of it as a nice title for my first recipe here in this blog.

When I first came to Leipzig, I was really surprised by how there are some products that are really seasonal. You really only see them when it’s their season and not before or after. And of course they are almost all regional. Asparagus and strawberries are the thing you see everywhere at the moment. When April comes you can see little strawberry and asparagus stands pop up a bit everywhere. You can also go and pick your own strawberries in fields in the periphery of the city. Once you have picked them, you can go home and make this really delicious tarte aux fraises, inspired by the ones you can eat in France or Belgium in this time of the year.

So you will need…

For the pie crust:
30 Oreo cookies (that is two and half packages)
100 grams of butter

For the crème pâtissière (filling):
4 egg yolks
2 cups of milk
½ cup of sugar (My amazing cook of a brother told me once that sugar does not actually change anything in the chemical composition of pastries so you can add or remove a bit without this causing anything bad in your cake)
¼ cup of cornstarch
50 grams of butter
1 pinch of salt
2 tea spoons of vanilla extract

For the strawberry topping:
600 grams of strawberries

Further instructions:

You are going to enjoy making the crust especially if you don’t have a blender like me. So you take your Oreo cookies, put them in a clean plastic bag, then take a nice hammer and make them into crumbs. It needs to be really fine so take your time, think about your ex or your boss. (Or just use a blender if you have access to one.) Once you have cookie crumbs, you need to mix them with the melted butter. Stir really well, use your hands if you have to. Once that is done, you need to spread the mixture into a 25 cm tarte plate. You will need to press the crumbs together all over the plate. Once that is done you put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

In the meantime you can make the crème pâtissière. Take you sugar and your starch and put them into a medium size pot, stir with a whisk and add the salt. Make sure the starch and sugar are well mixed together. In another bowl put the milk and the egg yolks. Again, stir really well together. Turn on your stove on medium heat and pour your milk mixture into the starch mixture. Then starts the boring part: You need to constantly stir until it starts boiling. It can take up to ten minutes (don’t even think about raising the temperature!). Once it boils you will see that the mixture becomes a cream (what a magical moment). Continue stirring for one minute, then take the pot away from the fire and add your vanilla extract. Put your cream in a clean bowl and cover with plastic foil (you actually need to have the foil touching the cream, there should be no air between your foil and the cream, otherwise a skin will appear). Put in the fridge for two hours at least.

Once everything has cooled down, you can take your pie crust, layer your crème pâtissière on top and then spread your strawberries (cut them into two) on top of the cream. The cream recipe makes more than you actually need for the tarte so if you eat a bit on the way it is not the end of the world.

Et voilà! Your tarte is ready. If you are really really decadent you can make whipped cream.

That’s it from me people. Next time I will write about this really cool place that just opened in Schleußig, so stay connected!

"Good food makes good people". In her column, Alexandra will present the culinary diversity that exists in Leipzig by discovering new and exciting places to eat. She will also present the family recipes from people who live in Leipzig, as a way to show the cultural diversity that exists in this city.

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