July 25, 2006

Strawberries + Tia Maria

Tia Maria...sounds sweet and delicate; almost like a name for a beautiful petite girl.
Well..to be completely honest, if the shape of the girl looks anything like the "Tia Maria" bottle; she wouldn't be too petite would she? - I apologize for the rude joke*laughs* . From this angle, its shape reminds me more of a man's built chest. I often get influenced to purchase liquor from their attractive packaging....*sigh* marketing is the devil! - A bargain of 2 bottles for $50 at Woolworths this week can sometimes be just as convincing.
TIA MARIA: A dark, medium-bodied coffee liqueur made from a fine blend of cane spirit, jamaican coffee, vanilla and sugar.
I displayed my 18 plus ID to the liquor department cashier, handed him a $50 note and left with a bottle of creme caramel baileys in one arm and tia maria in the other.
In the past; i've seen many recipes with tia maria as an added ingredient, often in sweet desserts such as cakes and puddings. I couldn't wait to try it in one of my own concoctions! I poured myself a tiny shot of the liquor into a shooter glass to have an idea of what it tasted like and how it should be combined other ingredients. I was not very impressed at my first sip, but as I had a little more...the flavours began to sink in. It seemed a little stronger than other coffee liquors I'm used too (Kahlua) as it didn't have that milky-creamy effect.
I decided to go with flaky-buttery pastry and custard cream topped with strawberries to add some tangy-ness to the tart.
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry (cut into rings with and egg ring/round cookie cutter)
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup tia maria

For the custard,Whisk egg yolks+sugar until pale and creamy. Add flour + almond meal. Stir well. Heat milk and vanilla in the microwave (until it just begins to boil) should take 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally. Pour milk in a thin stream into egg mixture while beating constantly. Return to microwave and zap for another 90 seconds on high. Remove and whisk. Pour custard into a bowl and cover surface with cling wrap and pop it into the fridge till needed.
Place pastry rings into a greased muffin tray; pushing them right to the base. Spoon custard mixture into the pastry cups (3/4 full) and bake in preheated 180 degree oven for 20 minutes or until pastry is puffed and custard tops are golden. Remove from the oven and gently lift cups from the muffin tray. Spoon teaspoons of Tia maria into individual custard cups and top with chopped strawberries. Serve immediately.I added a couple drizzles of melted chocolate at the end but they disappeared into our tummies before I could snap a picture! If you like chocolate with strawberries; feel free to do the same.


joey said...

ooOOooo.. looking so yummie.. wish i could have some. i LURVE strawberries.. esp with chocolate.
hmm... btw.. my godson's 1st bday is coming up this week.. and i really wana make a bday cake for him.but ive never made a cake before.. i was wondering if you could give me some tips? and would you mind telling me how to make those sugar paste? like that racing car cake you made was awesome, how long did that take??
you can email me or leave a comment.. =) thanks heaps.

Lex said...

minus the tia maria, it's an egg tart rite?

Su-Yin said...

joey: hey...nice to hear from you; the paste I used for the car cake was store bought, as colours like red and black are hard to achieve with home-made paste. Try checking out sugar-craft stores in your area; the yellow pages might be a good place to start looking. I'm no expert with cakes yet either...but I read alot of books and articles to help learn some techniques. Practising with little cakes and progressing with more complicated shapes would be my suggestion. Piped icing is usually extremely difficult to master; especially if you have fiddly and clumsy hadns like mine. Try a basic round/square based cake first if its your first time. Use more (non sugar) decorative bits to decorate the tops -such as plastic cars/ soldiers and then work with your creativity from there. Another tip I could suggest with icing cakes for beginners would be to start off with a more workable icing and make (HEAPS) of it...you'll probably waste alot as you try to make smooth surfaces...so dont worry too much about the sugar; 'in my opinion' buttercream is the easiest to work with. Spread at least 2 layers. The first thin layer to achieve a flat surface. Leave it to dry and set...and then apply the second later to make a smooth "crumbless" top. Always make you cakes 1 day in advance. To allow it to cool properly before you ice it.
hope that helps joey.

lex: yeap...pretty much an egg tart with berries without the liqour :)

Ellena Mummy said...

Wow...Suyin... you are always up with new ideas on your post.... Really envy your housemates who always got the chance to taste them..... :)