Strawberry Tart

It’s no question that being wrenched out of the Borg Collective and back into the world of the Federation would be traumatic for anyone. As we saw with Seven of Nine, some of the major issues she faced had to do with reconnecting with her human side, and her human relatives on Earth. While this reconnecting was often difficult and painful, sometimes good memories surfaced too, such as Seven of Nine’s recollection that her Aunt had coaxed her out of a cupboard with the promise of a strawberry tart (Voyager: Author Author). And there is no denying that strawberry tart is a very good reason indeed to come out of hiding for. 

This delicious strawberry tart is quick to assemble and all the pieces can be prepared in advance. Brushing (optional) melted chocolate onto the base before adding the pastry cream not only adds a delicious crunchy chocolate layer, but also creates a barrier between the pastry cream and the tart shell, helping to keep the tart shell from going soggy. I got my inspiration for the strawberry arrangement from Confessions of a Tart, making mine look a bit more alien, but you can of course arrange your strawberries on top however you wish. 

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Replicate your own

(Makes 1 24cm / 9 inch tart, or 4-5 individual small ones)

To assemble the tart you’ll need:
baked and cooled 24cm / 9 inch tart shell (recipe below) (or individual small tart cases)
Vanilla pastry cream (recipe below)
500g / 1 pound 2 oz strawberries, hulled and sliced as wanted
60g / 2oz dark chocolate (optional)

To assemble, melt the dark chocolate (if using) and spread over the bottom of the tart shell. Refrigerate for 2-3 minutes, until the chocolate firms up.

Just before you want to serve the tart, spoon on the pastry cream and smooth it, then arrange the strawberries on top. Use it to coax out small children out of cupboards they may be hiding in, or just as a lovely dessert for everyone to share. 

(recipes for the tart shell and pastry cream below the break)

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Icoberry Torte

It’s hard work being in charge of a space station. If you’re the commander, every issue is brought to your attention - including the fact that a long-lost Bajoran Resistance leader may still be alive (DS9: The Homecoming). If you’re Benjamin Sisko, what better way to distract yourself from station business than with a raktajino and a piece of icoberry torte?!

This is a lovely teacake which is great with either tea or coffee. The batter rises up and covers most of the berries, leaving a fruity layer underneath, topped with the sugar/cinnamon mix. I can definitely understand why Captain Sisko was so fond of this cake and why he ordered it so frequently!

Replicate your own
(Makes one cake which will serve 8-10 people)
(Based on this recipe for a Late Summer Berry Torte)

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Thalian chocolate mousse

Hearing Ensign Wesley Crusher describe Thalian chocolate mousse (The Next Generation: The Dauphin) definitely makes me want to try it. Cocoa beans which have been aged for 400 years?! This really sounds like it would make good chocolate mousse. No wonder this was the dish Wesley chose to impress Salia, the new leader of her planet travelling to her destination.

While there’s lots of shapeshifting (including a quick appearance by Shelly from Twin Peaks!) and other adventures going on in this episode, I have always wondered about this chocolate mousse, and was keen to try it. The resulting recipe did not disappoint: it’s quite rich, chocolate-y, and quite light. The perfect combination with which to impress new leaders!

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Replicate your own
(Makes 6 individual servings)

250g dark cooking chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
25g butter, at room temperature, chopped into a few pieces
300ml cream
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Generous pinch of salt

For the optional topping:
4-5 tablespoons dessicated coconut
6 packets of pop rocks (one for each mousse)

Start by melting the chocolate. You can do this either in the microwave, in short 20 second bursts, stirring each time; or via the double boiler method on the stove. To do this, place a saucepan of boiling water on the stove, and place a second saucepan or glass bowl over the top. Stir while the chocolate melts. With either method, ensure that no water comes into contact with the chocolate as this can cause it to seize.

Once the chocolate is fully melted, stir in the butter. This may cause your chocolate to look like it is starting to seize and it may come together into a lump. Don’t panic!

Stir in the cream bit by bit, mixing as you go, and your chocolate should revert to its smooth liquid state. Next add the egg yolks and stir to combine, and sprinkle in the salt.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar, and continue whipping until you have firm peaks.

Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula. You want to keep in as much air as possible. Be gentle but make sure that the egg whites are completely mixed in.

Spoon your mousse into individual serving glasses or bowls and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to serve the mousse, make the topping (which is optional, but awesome): Mix together the dessicated coconut and the pop rocks in a small bowl, then spoon onto the top of the mousse. You need to do this once the mousse is set otherwise the pop rocks will dissolve into the mousse.

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You will end up with a deliciously rich and smooth dessert, with a topping which is literally out of this world! Certainly something for young ensigns to impress passing young leaders with!

Gingerbread Communicator

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Hooray the Earth didn’t collapse in an apocalypse! Whatever you’re celebrating, I think gingerbread is always a welcome addition. While Christmas is not celebrated in the Star Trek Universe, I could not resist the opportunity to create a gingerbread version of one of the most iconic pieces of equipment from The Original Series.

While I wanted it to have the details from the communicator, I also wanted it to look like gingerbread, so I kept decorations to a minimum. The secret to creating 3D gingerbread items is to use lots of royal icing - this stuff really is like cement and holds everything together beautifully.

Even if you don’t want to make anything fancy, this recipe still creates delicious gingerbread cookies you can enjoy. Happy holidays!

Replicate your own

I used Simply Recipes’ gingerbread house dough recipe for my cookies. I halved the quantities listed on the recipe but still ended up with about 40 cookies on top of the two sets of communicators I cut out - so be aware it makes a lot!

I created a simple template for the communicator using this tutorial as a guide. I cut out the pattern pieces on thick card paper and then used that to cut out the cookie pieces. I froze the dough before cooking as this helps it keep its shape.

I used royal icing (1 egg white, add icing sugar until the desired consistency is reached) for all decorations, as well as for gluing the pieces together.

Toothpicks and scrunched up pieces of plastic wrap are both very useful to use as prop-ups while waiting for the royal icing to dry when gluing the pieces together.

Crumpets

Along with Star Trek, I am also a big fan of traditional detective stories. Therefore, when Star Trek is combined with the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I think it’s fabulous. I am, of course, talking about Data’s adventures with the Sherlock Holmes world, and more specifically Processor Moriarty in The Next Generation. This time, we’re focusing on the first time we see Professor Moriarty in Elementary, Dear Data. I always liked Daniel Davis’ rendition of Professor Moriarty - super intelligent and potentially dangerous, yes; but also concerned with keeping his hostages safe and feeding them lots of tea and crumpets.

So we turn to today’s recipe: crumpets! I know this isn’t your exotic Klingon or Ferengi food, but crumpets definitely hold their own in the satisfaction stakes. The crumpet batter does need time to rise so you’ll need to start about 1 hour before you want to eat them. I like all kinds of crumpets and definitely thought these were an improvement over the store-bought kind.

Replicate your own
(Makes 15-18 crumpets depending on the size of the mould you use)
Based on the recipe at Sunday Hotpants

You will need to start about 1 or 1 1/2 hours ahead. You will also need some metal circular moulds such as crumpet, egg moulds or round cookie cutters to help shape the crumpets while they’re cooking.

300g milk
10g sugar
7g dried yeast (one sachet)
375g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
200ml water
Pinch of salt

Mix together the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, and make a well in the centre. Add the milk and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place, until the mixture has doubled in size, about 1 or 1 1/2 hours.

Once doubled, in a small bowl mix the baking soda with the water, and then add this to the mixture and stir in well.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and melt some butter into the pan. You also need to grease your moulds - I used cooking spray to do this.

When the frying pan is hot, place the moulds on, and add 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the moulds. The mixture will start rising up the moulds and small bubbles will form on the surface. Once the bubbles begin to pop, you can remove the mould (with tongs! it’s hot!) and then flip the crumpet over.

Cook the crumpet until it is lightly browned on both sides, then remove to a plate while you continue cooking the rest.

The crumpets can be served warm or cool, and can be gently toasted. Suggested toppings include jam, honey, maple syrup, melted chocolate, Nutella - or just eat plain. Serve with a lovely cup of tea and hope that if you ever meet Professor Moriarty, he will treat you to this lavish feast.

Notes:

  • You can start by heating the milk until it is lukewarm, adding the yeast and sugar, and leaving this for 10 minutes to activate the yeast if you wish. I am impatient so therefore skipped that step.