Spring calls for strawberries. The fruit markets are full with delicious strawberries this time of the year and I try to make use of them in every possible way. I think that this basic strawberry tart recipe of Stelios Parliaros, will make you feel like a professional patissier.
For the pastry
- 300g all purpose flour
- 200g very cold unsalted butter,cut into small cubes
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 egg
For the filling
- 350g full fat milk
- 150g whipping cream
- 80g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 egg yolks
- 40g cornstarch
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scrapped out
- 500g fresh strawberries
For the glaze
- 1 Tbsp strawberry jam
- 1Tbsp boiling water
For the sweet pastry, combine flour, butter and sugar in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Change to the hook attachment and add the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together to form a ball. Turn the mixture out onto a plastic wrap and shape into a disc. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface until approximately 3mm thick.
Butter a 24cm fluted tart tin (with removable bottom, if you have one) and line with the pastry, making sure to press into the sides and trim the excess.* Prick all over the base of the tart with a fork and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Line the tart with baking paper and fill with beans (…or coins) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beans (or coins) and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes, until the base is dry and lightly golden.
Set aside to cool.
For the filling, combine milk, whipping cream, vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch, until well combined. Slowly drizzle the hot milk mixture to the eggs whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from the heat and discard vanilla bean.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, for at least 2 hours. Before using,transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on low speed until smooth (you can also whisk by hand).
Before serving, remove tart case from the tart tin very carefully , fill with the cream and arrange the strawberries neatly on top. It’s best when topped with strawberries that are both small and fragrant.
For the glaze, warm the strawberry jam with 1 Tbsp of boiling water to make it more liquid. Brush over the strawberries.
* I usually store the leftover dough in a plastic wrap in the freezer for later use.