We talked about having a simple dinner, but she wasn't sure what we should make. Thatboy and I discussed some options and came upon the idea of duck. Thatmom had never made duck before, but I assured her it was as easy as roasting a chicken, and after she spent some time searching for recipes she got really excited about making duck for dinner.
The idea of duck for dinner elevated our "simple" meal. And it expanded to include wild rice, brussels sprouts, and pureed rutabegas. Our little party of 3.5 grew to include my cousin and her boyfriend visiting from Boston, and one of my mom's friends. We drank wine, and then port. We laughed and ate, heaping our plates full of the delicious meal.
And before my cousin and her boyfriend headed to the airport to catch a New Year's flight home, I brought out dessert. A strawberry tart which, like the duck, is simple to make, but seems somehow elegant. I was a little wary of the not so sweet December strawberries. I'm sure this would be even better in the summer. The orange glaze helps to add any sweetness your strawberries are missing, so if you are using summer berries, you can go a little lighter with the syrup to really let the berries shine through.
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup orange juice
juice of 1 lemon
1 quart of strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Mix the flour and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl.
- Cut in the butter with your fingers until it forms pea-sized balls.
- Whisk the egg yolk and 2 Tbsp water and add to the flour mixture, mixing until it forms a smooth ball. Wrap in foil and refrigerate 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425. Press the dough into a tart pan and prick with a fork. Bake for 12 minutes.
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, remaining salt, orange juice, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Cook for an additional 10 minutes and then let cool.
- Fill the tart crust with the sliced strawberries and cover them with the syrup.