Birthday and Saint’s day cakes

It is a long time since we last published a post on cooking or food. Nevertheless we try to keep planning our meals weekly (see our current or older meal plans) as it helps us to keep a budget and stay organized. When coming home tired from work, it always helps to know what to cook. Otherwise we may just end with a quick pasta or salad. They are good choices but after some days the menu lacks variety. We always like to try a new recipe and from time to time we also have some special treats.
Today I will post the last two cakes we made: the first one was a birthday cake and the other one was baked to celebrate a saint’s day. They resemble each other and that is because when we ask our daughter about her cake preferences, the answer is now: “A strawberry cake”. So we just make modifications of the same theme:-)

For the birthday we had to have an Italian treat: a crostata. It is by far my husband’s favorite and go-to cake. The crostata consists of a pastry base (pasta frolla) and a top layer of jam or in this case of pastry cream (crema pasticcera). For the recipe of the pasta frolla I had no choice but to follow Artusi’s book. My husband would not have approved it otherwise ;-). This is an Italian book first published in 1891 (it is also available in english), and full of nice recipes. They are not very precise concerning the quantities needed and sometimes quite old-fashioned terms are used, but with a bit of practice the results are worthwhile. He has three slightly different versions for this crostata dough. If you google Artusi&crostata you will find them all. One of them is used here, or you can also follow the link of one of our posts. This is the recipe I used for the pastry cream. On top we just arranged some strawberries and blueberries.

2013.06.14_Crostata

For the second cake we used the recipe of sablé breton galette from the book “Around my french table”. Then we put a thin layer of strawberry jam followed by a layer of whipped cream. Sara decided to make a sun with the berries, and it looked quite nice at the end. The smaller strawberries in the middle are from a couple of plants we have at the window sill. They are delicious but scarce :-).
We were actually not so fond of the biscuit layer. It was rather hard. But we baked thinner and the day before, which may count for this extra hardness. Anyway everyone enjoyed it!

2013.07_TartaSanto

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