BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

41 Comments

It was born from a backup plan; a plan B that was never needed. Planning for a photo shoot means preparing for the worst, and in this case, the “worst” translated to a late shipment of candied rose petals. Though only a small element of a demanding, detailed set, it was no small source of stress for the perfectionist in me. Destined for the cover of an ebook, the weight of its prominent placement and supreme visibility raised the stakes to dizzying heights. With all the hero dishes and supporting characters prepped to go, there was no stopping this shoot from barreling forward as planning, with or without those tiny crystalline flowers. Facing intense pressure not only to get it right, but to nail it on the first take, nothing else motives quite like the fear of failure. What else could have explained my mad dash to find unsprayed, organic roses at such a late hour, to paint them gingerly, one by one, with extra-fine granulated sugar? That dedication, bordering on obsession, has come to define my days of back-to-back photo shoots.

Of course, as luck would have it, the plan A roses arrived at the very last moment, just in time for their closeup. Crisis averted, the shoot went off without a hitch, leaving behind a wealth of sugared pink petals in its wake.

Incorporating my other ingredient excesses- namely, fresh strawberries as sweet as jam and the ever-present chocolate sandwich cookies that seem to have taken up permanent residence in my cupboard- that additional effort definitely didn’t go to waste. Fruity and floral, the resulting strawberry and rose tartlettes are personal portions of show-stopping desserts. Layered with a crimson strawberry curd at the bottom and a rich rose-scented pastry cream on top, each bite is accented by a crunchy chocolate crust containing the harmonious duo. Delicate, fragrant candied rose petals are truly the icing on the cake, or tartlette, as it were. Though technically an optional garnish, I wouldn’t dream if making these blushing beauties without them. They provided m initial inspiration, after all.

Strawberry and Rose Tartlettes

Chocolate Crust:

1 1/2 Cups Vegan Chocolate Cookie Crumbs (15 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies)
5 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine, Melted

Strawberry Curd:

2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Agar Powder
1 1/4 Cups Seedless Strawberry Puree*
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice

Rose Cream:

1 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 Cup Raw Cashews
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Agar Powder
Pinch Salt
1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Rosewater

To Finish:

Candied Rose Petals (Optional)

*To make strawberry puree, start with about 1 1/2 pounds of fresh strawberries and thoroughly puree them in your blender or food processor, until completely smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discard the seeds, and measure out the amount called for in the recipe before proceeding.

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and placing four 4-inch springform pans on a baking sheet. Once finely ground, combine the cookie crumbs with the melted margarine in a large bowl, and stir well until there are no dry patches. Divide the mixture evenly between your ready and waiting tins, using lightly moistened fingers to press it evenly across the bottoms and up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes, turn off the oven, and set aside to let cool.

Meanwhile, to make the strawberry curd filling, whisk together the sugar and agar powder to combine. Place the two into a medium saucepan along with the strawberry puree and lemon juice, turning on the stove to medium heat. Whisk to break up any lumps of sugar, and continue whisking occasionally as it comes up to temperature. Once the mixture reaches a boil, turn off the stove and transfer the hot, liquid curd your baked tartlette shells. Fill each one halfway to the top with the mixture. Don’t worry that if it seems very loose and watery at this point; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Allow the curd to come down to room temperature before refrigerating the half-filled tartlettes. This step is very important, because tossing it in the fridge too early will weaken the gel, and you will end up with a runny filling.

Finally, for the pastry cream, toss the non-dairy milk, cashews, sugar, arrowroot, agar, and salt into your blender and let it rip. Blitz until completely silky-smooth, pausing periodically to scrape down the sides of the canister if necessary. Pour the resulting mixture into a medium saucepan over medium heat, and whisk frequently as it cooks. Be sure to continuously scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to prevent anything from sticking and burning. When bubbles begin to break on the surface, whisk in the rosewater and vanilla, and turn off the heat. Distribute the pastry cream evenly over the tartlettes, filling them all the way to the top. Smooth out the surface and let cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. Top with candied rose petals at the last moment to prevent them from getting soft, if desired.

Makes 4 Tartlettes

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

41 thoughts on “Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

  1. With or without the rose petals, these are beautiful! And, surely something that I would like to make. I’ve never made a vegan curd before and am excited to try your recipe!

  2. Hannah, these tarts are exquisite! Absolutely amazing in every way. I can hardly believe that they’re actually vegan, the filling looks so creamy and wonderful. It’s my vegan friend’s birthday coming up soon, so I’m bookmarking this as a special occasion birthday treat! Thanks lovely! x

  3. WOW. ive got a birthday coming up, bookmarked this. they are so beautiful!

  4. Those sound so delicious, I love a good tart!

  5. Hannah, these look spectacular! And I love the combination too- strawberry, rose and chocolate! Yum! I’ve never used agar to make curd. Have always made only egg based curds. Going to try this. Might need some hand holding though :)

  6. how fabulous! i’ve never tried the strawberry-rose combo, but I imagine it to be amazing. what pretty tarts :)

  7. Do you use the “stuff” in the cookies, too?

  8. These look so lovely, Hannah! The rose petals are a perfect, if not painstaking, touch. I have never been a huge fan of rose, but I feel like the wee-est bit of lavender would make a wonderful substitution for me.

  9. OMG these are so pretty! I can only imagine how lovely these taste.

  10. This is simply gorgeous! I adore candied rose petals and always have them in my kitchen. For your excess of rose petals you could whip up a fruity cocktail (perhaps a pomegranate & champagne based one?) and garnish it with some of the candied petals!

  11. Hannah, these are amazing-looking and I’m sure they taste great. Your food photos are stunning.

    janet

  12. OMG it’s a perfect association, bravo ♥
    As always you’re recipes are beautiful, rose, raspberry and chocolate is very very good.
    You’re on top Hannah, as always ♥

  13. Oh Hannah! These make my soul sing. You’re such a wizard. xo

  14. These are so beautiful! They sounds really tasty too!

  15. Beautiful! Such a great flavor combo and excellent use of plan B materials. :-)

  16. These little tarts are gorgeous! I wish I had a bridal shower or baby shower to attend so i could bring them along…they’d be perfect!

  17. These look perfect, as always.
    I can’t help but keep admiring your blog, you have it all: the writing skills, great photography and delicious recipes. Thank you for sharing all that :-)

  18. It looks beautiful & exquisite!! Vegan too!

    Strawberry and Rose combo is new yet wonderful! You have created a masterpiece!

    Thank you for sharing the recipe! :)

  19. Waw, Hannah! You are certainly the vegan dessert queen: I am pretty sure of it! MMMMMMMM! I love everything about this individual tartlet! It is vegan, looks amazingly attractive & Those 2 layers look incridible too! Another must make! 😄

  20. Could you perhaps make one or two large sized ones instead? I thinking of wowing the folks and the next potluck. But that’s feeding 30 people!

    • Sure thing! You could use one 9-inch round springform or tart pan with a removable bottom instead, but it would probably be best to make at least two in order to feed 30 people. 15 slices out of each would be very small portions, so I’d suggest you either go for broke and make a third, or plan to serve it with ice cream or fruit.

  21. Looks great – nice color contrast and styling :)

  22. Oh wow Hannah, those look beautiful! I had no idea candied rose petals existed. I haven’t played around with rose water myself yet but the combination of chocolate, strawberries and rose sounds incredible.

  23. First of all, I am so impressed that you think about your photo set up days before you actually take the photo. I usually think about what I’m going to do… as I am doing it :) I want you to do a photo class! This looks so elegant. I need to play around more with agar, I haven’t had much success with it but know it can be mastered!

    • Planning is key for composition! Sometimes I do things on the fly, but I’m always happiest when I can think through all of the fine details first. It’s much less stressful since I already have a game plan that I merely need to put into action.

      You know, I am considering some sort of video classes/tutorials… Stay tuned!

  24. Wow, Hannah, the photo shoot sounds a bit too stressful but your efforts yielded some really beautiful photos, not to mention an elegant dessert. The pink discs of rose petals do look lovely atop the brown and cream-colored tartlette. Can I assume you will have a new book out soon?

    • It’s true, I probably stress myself out unnecessarily on all the little details, but it always pays off when I can step back and look at the final photo with a sense of satisfaction. It really is a labor of love sometimes!

      While I do have a new book coming out shortly (October 1st!) this particular shoot was actually for another author. Hopefully I can share more about it very soon, since I understand that release date will be upon us before we know it…

      >

  25. Oh My Goodness! What a piece of art. I don’t know if I could eat them because they are too pretty. Ahhhh who am I kidding? I’d scarf them down like there was no tomorrow!

  26. A beautiful dessert as always, Hannah! I love rosewater, but don’t use it nearly enough in my own kitchen. It’s so lovely, but I always manage to forget about it! The candied rose petals are too pretty to eat!

  27. Wow your talent never ceases to amaze me. The photos are straight out of my foodie dreamland and that strawberry curd looks amazing. All that work on the rise petals certainly paid off :)

  28. I love the sound and the look of this tarts…so pretty and elegant.
    Thanks for the recipe Hannah!

  29. wow! these look divine! wonderful recipe :)

  30. oh gosh. these beauties.. finally catching up everywhere and I can tell you these beauties might just be made soon

  31. OMG this looks sooo good. I have to make it :)

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