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Fresh strawberry tart

By Nikki K on 5th Sep, 2015

Fresh strawberry tart

Method

  1. First make the crème patissière (or pastry cream), so it can chill in the fridge before assembling the tart.  Put 450ml of the milk in a small saucepan and put on the stove on a low heat.
  2. Score along the vanilla bean with a small sharp knife – then strip the vanilla seeds out with the back of the knife. Add the vanilla seeds (and bean) to the milk in the pan.
  3. Separate the 4 eggs, putting the yolks in a large heat-resistant mixing bowl (the whites are not needed).
  4. Add the caster sugar to the egg yolks and whisk together until the colour goes paler.
  5. Mix the cornflour with the remaining 50ml of milk in a small dish, ensuring no lumps.
  6. When the milk is hot, remove and discard the vanilla pod. Then pour the hot vanilla milk through a fine sieve into a heatproof jug.
  7. Slowly pour the hot vanilla milk into the mixing bowl with the egg yolks and sugar, stirring all the time.
  8. Immediately add the milk and cornflour mixture to the mixing bowl, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan which goes back on the heat on the stove.
  9. Bring the pastry cream mixture close to a boil, stirring continuously, and it will suddenly start to thicken. Don’t worry if the pastry cream suddenly goes lumpy – just remove from the heat for a moment and whisk quickly until the lumps disperse. Then return it to the heat.
  10. Continue to heat and stir for a minute or two until it is looking fairly thick. Then remove from the heat and stir in the butter pieces.
  11. Immediately pour the pastry cream in to a shallow bowl or tray and cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.
  12. Allow to cool (you could sit the tray in a sink with a little cold water and ice under it) for 20-30 minutes before putting in the fridge to chill.
  13. To make the glaze for the fruit just put a tablespoon of apricot jam and 2 teaspoons of water in a small microwaveable dish, an heat for 2o seconds. Stir until the jam dissolves into the water.  Put aside.
  14. Prepare the strawberries by cutting in halves or quarters (depending on their shape and size).
  15. Only start assembling the tart when the pastry cream is thoroughly chilled (at least an hour in the fridge). Use a spatula to transfer it to the pre-baked tart case.
  16. Pile the pastry cream slightly higher in the middle, rather than flat, as the finished tart will look better. Use the spatula to smooth the pastry cream around the case.
  17. Place the strawberry halves/quarters around the tart in whatever design you like.
  18. Use a pastry brush to brush the apricot jam glaze over the strawberry pieces  – it makes the strawberries nice and glossy which makes the tart look really professional.
  19. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve – just removing 20 minutes beforehand to allow it to get to room temperature.

Recipe Notes

  • You can use other fruit instead of strawberries, or a combination – kiwi slices work really well, and tinned peach slices are really colourful too.
  • Of course, you can make your own sweet shortcrust pastry, or buy fresh pastry to roll and bake yourself, but it’s so much easier to buy a good quality pre-made one!
  • Use leftover egg whites to make meringues, pavlova or macarons.
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