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28 May 2013

{Recipe} French Strawberry Tart

My favourite dessert of all times ! I LOVE strawberry tart.
I love the seasonality of it, waiting all year to finally be able to buy those beautiful and fragrant strawberries, what a treat !!!

Since the theme of this table was a picnic, I decided to present them in jars instead of the traditional round (and very fragile) tart.
Prepare them in the morning, close the lid, and place them in the fridge until party/picnic time. Super easy.

We made some more the day after the party and they were a huge hit with my children. I wouldn't normally have them help me with strawberry tart as the pastry is quite delicate, but having them prepare them in jars was so much fun !!!

The French strawberry tart is not a strawberry shortcake. We don't use cake here but a sweet shortcrust pastry called "pâte sablée".
You may use either whipped cream or creme patissiere for the filling, I prefer the later.

To assemble the jars
Cut the pastry in small pieces and place a few at the bottom of the jars.
Spoon (or pipe) some creme patisserie over the pastry.
Finish off with a few pieces of strawberries.

Please read on for the recipes of the pastry and the cream.

Creme Patissiere recipe
From Faites votre Pâtisserie, by Lenôtre

Makes about 450g of cream (which was just enough for 6 little jars)

250ml Milk
1/2 vanilla pod
3 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
20g cornstarch

Bring the milk to the boil in a pan with the vanilla pod cut in half lengthwise. 
While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until the colour is a light yellow. Add the cornstarch on top without mixing.
Take the vanilla pod out of the milk, and pour the hot milk over the egg mixture while mixing gently.
Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to the boil while whisking constantly. Let it thicken for about 3 minutes but never stop whisking.
Pour immediately into a clean bowl and let it cool completely before using to fill the pastry base or the jars. To avoid a dry crust forming on the cream while it cools, cover with cling film making sure the film is in contact with the cream.

Sweet Shortcrust pastry recipe
This is my mum's recipe and it is well worth the effort of making the pastry yourself, this is so much better than any store bought version !

Makes 600g of pastry, enough for two medium sized tarts (you can freeze half the dough for later !)

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
50g ground almond
3 egg yolks
250g plain flour, sifted
5g baking powder
200g unsalted butter, soft
150g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

Cut the butter in small pieces and put in a mixing bowl.
Add salt, vanilla seeds, icing sugar and mix until creamy.
Add the egg yolks, one by one, until you have a smooth dough.
Add the ground almond and about 1/4 of the flour and mix well.

Add the remaining of the flour + baking powder and knead well.
Make a ball and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge and leave to rest for at least 1 hour (best overnight).

Take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up for about one hour.
Grease a tart tin with butter.
Spread the dough with a rolling pin and place in the tin.
Gently prick the bottom with a fork.
Place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough and cover with beans.

Preheat the oven at 160 degree C
Bake at 160 C for 10 minutes
Take out the parchment sheet with the beans and bake for another 5 minutes at 180 C.
You want the edges to be slightly golden (not brown).
Let it cool.


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