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Divas: Spectacular tart is surprisingly easy

This summertime dessert will make you look like a rock star with minimal effort or expense. That’s the stuff we live for. Right?

We’re making a luscious tart with a sugar cookie crust filled with creamy vanilla custard topped with ripe juicy strawberries shaped like roses. This is actually three techniques you can use multiple ways.

Sugar Cookie Crust – is perfect for all kinds of fruit or custard pies, even cheesecake. Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe or refrigerated dough and bake as a crust in a tart pan. An 8-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom is perfect.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray pan with cooking spray. Press dough in bottom and sides of pan to form crust. Take your time and get it even.

If the dough gets soft, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes and resume. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

I learned this vanilla custard recipe while on Holland America Cruise Lines. Of course, they make enough to fill a swimming pool but let’s not. This custard comes in handy for filling pastries and cakes, trifles, with fruit or eating with a spoon right out of the fridge. Don’t judge.

Simple Vanilla Custard

What You’ll Need:

1 ½ cups whole milk

½ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here’s How:

In a medium sauce pan, bring milk just to a boil. Meanwhile, blend the sugar, flour and egg yolks to make a smooth paste. Slowly and gradually mix the milk into the paste mixture. Pour mixture into a double boiler and heat, stirring continuously, but do not boil. Continue to cook until it thickly coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Refrigerate covered with plastic film. Cool completely.

Strawberry roses are gorgeous on cakes, cupcakes, and fruit salads. They’re fairly simple to make but it requires a bit of practice. I’ll explain below but the best advice is to Google a video tutorial or visit my website for detailed instructions. If you decide to top this with sliced strawberries it will be just as marvelous.

To make strawberry roses – Remove leaves and stem from the strawberry, taking as little fruit as possible from the base. Place the berry base side down. Holding the knife straight down (not at an angle) slice four evenly-spaced petals around the outside.

Use the tip of the knife to push the petals outward. Slice four more petals above and in between the first four. Keeping your knife straight, working inward; cut a spiral toward the center of the berry. The thinner you make this the more realistic it looks.

When you get to the center remove the very top of the berry. Use the tip of the knife to open the petals.

To assemble – place a thin layer of custard on the crust and top with your roses.

With strawberry roses, as in life – they’re not all going to be perfect, so celebrate the best and eat the rest.

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! NEW website and blog – www.divasonadime.com On Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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