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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Strawberry Tart

Given the theme of this blog, I thought there would be no better way to start than with a strawberry tart. I could also have chosen cream puffs, but they will have to wait for a later post. 

Strawberry Tarts are very common in France. They usually come with a sweet shortcrust pastry or "pâte sablée", a layer of custard called "crème pâtissière", the strawberries, and sometimes a layer of syrup. I actually wondered whether I should go for the syrup for a while, because I tend not to like it on the tarts that you can buy in french bakeries. I think most bakeries add the syrup because it makes the strawberries look shiny and if the strawberries are not that fresh it will hide it. But it doesn't bring much flavor to the tart itself. Despite that, I decided to go with the syrup since I found a recipe with very good reviews and the syrup didn't seem too heavy. 

To realize this tart, I mixed two recipes from Marmiton, which is a famous French cooking website similar to AllRecipes. The result was very good. The sweet shortcrust pastry was not the best I have had but it was ok, and the crème pâtissière (custard) was tasty. Depending on how you like your tart, you might want to use only a fraction of the custard. I might have used only two thirds of it for my tart, since I like the taste of custard to be light.

Strawberry Tart Recipe:


500g (around 1lb) strawberries

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
250g (2 cups) plain flour
125g (1/2 cup) unsalted european butter 
70g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
5 cl water
1 pinch of salt

Crème Pâtissière (custard):
25 cl milk
1 egg
30g (1/4 cup) plain flour
40g (3 Tbsp) granulated sugar
Pinch of vanilla or cinnamon

Raspberry Syrup:
200g raspberry jam
4 tbsp water

For the sweet shortcrust pastry, mix egg yolks and sugar until the mix gets whiter, add water. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and butter with your fingertips until it looks like sand and the whole butter is absorbed. Pour the egg yolks/sugar/water mix in the bowl and mix all the ingredients together. Form a ball with your hands. Roll out the pastry and put it in a round tart mold that you will have previously rubbed with butter. Cover the pastry with cooking sheet and beans and bake it in a preheated oven at 180°C (355°F) for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

For the custard, boil the milk with the vanilla or cinnamon. Mix the egg and the sugar, then add the flour.  Pour the boiling milk on the mix while stirring. Put the pot back on the stove and bring to a boil, always stirring. 

Pour the custard on the pastry, then add the strawberries cut in half on top. 

For the raspberry syrup, heat the water and raspberry jam on low heat in a saucepan. Let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the syrup is smooth. When the syrup is cold, pour on the strawberry tart. 

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