This French Strawberry Custard Tart combines a deliciously buttery Shortcrust Pastry, a Vanilla Pastry Cream filling and Fresh Strawberries. It is a great light summer dessert for parties or afternoon tea.
30gr (2 1/2 tablesp.)Caster Sugaror fine white granulated sugar
30gr (1/4 cup)Cornstarch
375ml (1 1/2 cup)Full Cream Milk(whole milk)
1 1/2teasp.Vanilla Paste
500gr (1 lbs)Fresh Strawberries
Fresh Mint, to tasteoptional
Shortcrust Pastry (Pâte Sablée)
Mix the Flour, Icing Sugar and Salt in the bowl of your Food Processor. Add the very cold Butter cut into small cubes, then pulse to blend until you get very thin crumbs (see note 1).
Add the Egg and pulse until you a dough starts to come together (see note 2).
Bring together into a ball and place between two sheets of baking paper. Roll into a large thin circle about 4 mm (1/8 inch) thick. Place in the fridge to rest and chill for at least one hour, or up to 24 hours.
Line your Tart Ring (or pan) with the chilled Pastry, making sure to gently press where the bottom meets the edges to create a 45' angle (see note 3). Remove any excess pastry with a small pairing knife then dock the bottom of the pastry (poke with a fork). Place back in the frige to rest and chill for at least one hour (or up to 24 hours).
Preheat your oven on 160'C/325'F and place the pastry in the freezer in the meantime. Blind-bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and fully baked (see note 4). Set aside to cool down.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the Egg Yolks and Sugar, then add the Cornstarch.
Heat up the Milk and Vanilla in a small Pot. When it starts to simmer, pour it over the Yolks/Sugar while whisking to temper the eggs, then transfer it all back into the pot.
Cook for a few minutes on low heat or until the cream starts to thicken while continously whisking. When the cream starts to boil, whisk for an additional 30 seconds then remove from the stove.
Transfer into a clean bowl or shallow pan (see note 5), cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream and place in the fridge to cool down for about 2 hours, or until completely cool.
Assembling the Tart
Wash the Strawberries, cut out the top/leaves then slice them in half (see note 6).
Spread the Pastry Cream over the baked tart crust using a small offset spatula (see note 7).
Place the strawberry halves over the cream, starting from the edges of the tart then creating rings of strawberries towards the centre. Gently press the strawberries inside the cream to make them stick.
Optional: finish with a few mint leaves or some icing sugar.
General Disclaimer: for the best results, always use the measurements in grams/ml instead of cups/spoonsYield: I used a 25 cm / 10 inch wide (2cm/0.75 inch deep) Tart Ring to make this tart, but you should have enough pastry to make a slightly larger and/or deeper tart as well.Instruction Notes:
This tart pastry can also be made by hands if you don't have a food processor - see step by step instructions in my Pâte Sablée recipe.
Try not to over-mix the pastry at this point; it is mixed enough if the crumbs stick together when you press them in your hands.
If the pastry seems too hard to line the ring or starts to crack, leave it at room temperature for a couple of minutes to allow for the butter to soften slightly.
To create a "seal" over the pastry, you can brush an egg yolk or white over the pastry halfway through the baking.
Using a shallow pan will speed up the cooling process as the cream will be more spread out and less thick than in a bowl.
If you wash them just before assembling the tart, dry the strawberries with paper towel so that they don't "leak" over the cream and make the crust soggy.
If the cream seems to be a bit stiff when you take it out of the fridge, whisk it for a few seconds to loosen it before pouring it inside the crust.