Carina Contini is known for her fabulous yet simple, fusion of Scottish and Italian cooking, united by simply the best local ingredients.
For the tarts
To make the pastry, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour and cornflour. Transfer to a floured surface and kneed together to make a firm dough.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes so the pastry is easier to handle. Roll the pastry out onto a floured surface and use a cutter to cut circles about the thickness of a two-pound coin and large enough to fit your chosen pastry case.
Lay a circle in each pastry case and put the filled cases in a shallow muffin tray. Using a fork, prick a few holes in the pastry, then transfer the tray with the filled pastry cases to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes. This will help stop the pastry from shrinking.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Bake the chilled tart shells in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until crisp and golden. Cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack. To assemble, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Place 1 tsp strawberry jam in the bottom of each pastry shell, followed by a generous spoonful of whipped cream. Decorate with a toffee strawberry.
For the toffee strawberries
Place the sugar in a heavy-based pan and bring to a simmer. You can move the pan to stop the sugar from sticking, but do not stir it. Simmer until the sugar changes to a light golden toffee shade.
This can take 10–15 minutes but don’t take your eyes off the pan once you see the colour start to change as it can do so very quickly and you’ll ruin the toffee and your pan. Be-careful as the pan and the toffee get extremely hot. Very carefully dip each strawberry into the toffee.
If the strawberries have very long stalks, it makes it easier. Alternatively, pierce the top of the strawberry with a fork and use to dip the strawberry in the toffee. Allow any excess toffee to drip off, then transfer to a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave to cool. This will only take a few minutes.