How I love a good strawberry tart! If, like me, you have cooked for family and friends for years, then I’m sure that, like me, you have your favorite recipes that you can roll out without the help of a cookbook or recipe. That pasta sauce that everyone loves; the favourite tea time cake (ours is coffee and walnut); your fail-proof roast chicken with all its trimmings and, of course, the popular desserts that change through the seasons.
Here we love to eat according to the seasons. April saw our first strawberries arrive locally, and I was quick to make the most of the delicious berries with my favorite strawberry tart. Here, I share my recipe, but I’d love to hear about your favourite family dessert. too.
My Strawberry Tart Recipe
To make this red-berried tart I make a short pastry, a crème patissière and, of course, I need a lot of strawberries.
To make the pastry, I grate 130g of cold butter into 200 g of plain flour, into which I add a teaspoon of salt and the same of sugar. The secret to a good short pastry is to work quickly without kneading the mix. If you knead a pastry mix you activate the gluten, and your pastry will be chewy and hard instead of light and buttery. I blend the ingredients with quick movements of a knife, making sure that the flour is evenly distributed, then I add an egg yolk and some cold milk. Using cutting movements I blend a little more, then quickly turn out the pastry onto a work surface. Bring the dough into a rough ball and roll out as lightly and quickly as possible.
Lay the pastry into the tart mould, and pop into the fridge for about 30 minutes before baking blind until light golden in colour.
In the meantime, you can make the creme pâtissiere. Heat 1/2 litre milk with a vanilla pod. In a bowl, mix four egg yolks with 100g sugar and two teaspoons cornflour. Pour the milk onto the eggs, and return to the pan. Over a gently heat, stir continuously until the cream starts to thicken. Once it is thick enough, pour into your bowl and leave to cool.
Wash and cut the strawberries in half, and sprinkle with sugar. Put aside until you are ready to assemble the tart.
When the pastry and cream are completely cooled, assemble the tart. Pour or spoon the cream into the pastry, and lay the half strawberries in a regular pattern over the cream. You may have too many strawberries, but that’s fine, they can be served on the plate beside each slice of tart.
The sugar in the strawberries will have produced a sweet juice that can be spooned over the centre of the tart before serving.
Serve to the delighted crowd and accept all applause with a smile!