Strawberry Tart

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Serves: 8
  • Level: easy


‘… Just like the cakes you see in the patisserie window, this can be made as individual desserts or larger if needed for a special occasion!’

Leo Williamson
‘It’s not just about looks, save this dish for when the strawberries are at their absolute best…’

What you need

1 pack of ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry

2 x 400g punnets of strawberries

300ml double cream

100ml good store-bought custard

3 tbs strawberry jam

½ tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp icing sugar plus extra for dusting

Equipment

2 x 15 cm or 1 x 24cm tart tin

For homemade sweet shortcrust pastry

All at room temperature:

100g butter

50g caster sugar

250g flour

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

Grated zest of one lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla essence



Dad's Recipe Tales

An improvised creamy filling for any fruit tart

I have done my time on crème pat duty.

Each summer I make many versions – and sizes – of tarts and flans. I’ve always made crème pat (crème patisserie) for the filling and then topped each tart with various fruit.

Making crème pat can be a bit of a bother. So I started to improvise alternative creamy fillings. First I whipped some double cream cream and beat it till quite stiff and then mixed in either store bought custard, fromage frais or mascarpone.

I found fromage frais and cream makes a very good stiff mixture but can taste a little too fresh – add a bit more sugar to offset. Mascarpone makes a very stiff mixture with a noticeable cheesy aftertaste – some recipes beat raw egg yolk into the mascarpone which smooths-out the texture and taste – but does leave you a raw egg mixture – which may not be advisable for some of your guests. I found custard and cream worked very well – but the consistency can be little soft – make the cream quite stiff or – if you have some – add a little mascarpone to stiffen.

How Dad Cooked It

I used Ruele’s no 1 strawberries from Borough market. Each one was as big as a tangerine! They are a very tasty, well-balanced strawberry, and in a smaller flan case they make a very impressive tart. Of course, any type of strawberry will work just as well.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C or Gas 4.
  2. Prepare the strawberries. Wash and hull the strawberries. Pick out half the nicest and set aside. Cut the remainder into slices and put in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of sugar, mix gently and leave to macerate for half an hour.
  3. Prepare the pastry base. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 4mm. Line your tart tin trimming the excess above the rim. Patch any holes or breaks with spare pastry.
  4. Cook the pastry base. Using a fork, prod holes into the pastry – this allows steam to escape and stop the pastry bulging. Using parchment paper or tinfoil fill the pastry cases with dried beans or ceramic baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper or tinfoil and beans and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the base is cooked. Allow to cool.
  5. Finish the base. Once cool trim the excess pastry from the rims using a sharp knife. Spread the jam on the base. Strain the strawberry slices and layer on top of the jam.
  6. Make the filling. Beat the cream with a whisk until it forms stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, whisk the custard with the vanilla and 2 tsp of icing sugar. Fold the custard into the cream. Taste for sweetness and if necessary add more icing sugar.
  7. Finish the tart. Cut the remaining strawberries in half and arrange on the tart. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

To make homemade sweet shortcrust pastry

  1. Beat the sugar and butter. Use an electric mixer and beat until well blended – add the vanilla and zest and mix again.
  2. Add the eggs. Use the blender to beat the eggs into the sugar and butter mix – only until roughly incorporated.
  3. Add the flour. Use the blender on low speed and mix in half the flour, then using a silicon spatula mix the remainder into the mix to form a rough ball of dough. If necessary, sprinkle a little water to help bring it together or if it is very dry add the remaining egg white.
  4. Knead the dough. But only enough to form a consistently smooth ball of dough. Cover in cling film and rest in the fridge for an hour.
  5. Follow the instructions for making a pastry case as above.

NB: You can also reverse stages 3 and 3 above: An alternative method to make the dough is to add the flour to the eggs and sugar until it is the texture of bread crumbs – and then add the eggs. I’ve done this both ways and cannot detect a huge difference. What is important is that the dough should not be overworked in either method.

 

 

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