You know those desserts that take you by surprise. The truly unforgettable types, that appear to you in dreams you barely remember. This is one of those desserts for me, the combination of honey and rosemary, that marriage of smell and flavour is something I can never put into words. But I can tell you this combination imbeds itself deep into my psyche, often bringing an awry smile to my face at the most unusual life moments. I hope you enjoy this as I have.
Shortcrust pastry, chilled
350ml double cream
150ml pure cream
4 large springs rosemary
50g caster sugar
12 Egg yolks
50g caster sugar
200g caster sugar
Infused Cream. Combine the creams and rosemary in a saucepan and place over medium heat. When the cream has come to the boil, remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Allow to cool, cover and then place in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours to allow the rosemary to infuse.
Pastry. Roll the pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 5mm thick. Line the tart cases with the pastry and rest in the fridge for 1 hour. If you do not have tart cases you can use a muffin tin.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
Poached Strawberries. Place the strawberries and sugar in a heatproof bowl and cover with cling wrap. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water for 20 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the strawberries to cool in the syrup. The strawberries can be made 5 days in advance.
Tart cases. Once the tart cases have rested, fill with baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, spoon out the baking beans and bake for a further 5 minute to bake the rawness. Brush the tarts with the egg wash and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Reduce oven to 110 degrees.
Custard. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Strain the infused cream and whisk into the egg mixture.
To assemble. Drain the syrup from the strawberries and place a few strawberries on the bottom of each tart case. You will need to fill the tarts cases to the brim with the custard. This can be difficult to transfer to the oven so under fill the tarts, transfer to the oven and then top them up. Bake for 15 minutes, the tarts are ready when there is a slight wobble in the centre. When the custard is ready remove from the oven and allow to rest for 1 hour.
Brûlée tops. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar evenly over the custard. Hold the kitchen blowtorch 5cm above the sugar and let it caramelise until it is dark, be careful not to burn.