French Strawberry Tart
Strawberry tart is the best summer dessert for me. A salted buttery dough – sablé breton – a smooth vanilla pastry cream and some fresh strawberries on top. It doesn’t get any better than this!
This recipe is for a Ø 9 inch – 23 cm tart or six Ø 4 inch – 10 cm small tarts.
If you are making small tarts, divide the dough by six or weigh them at 3,2oz – 90g. Then, press it into the tart pans, don’t worry if it’s not perfectly flat. It’s going to flatten a bit during the baking process, plus, it’s going to be covered by the pastry cream.
You can make the dough and the pastry cream the day before to split the work in two days. If doing so, wrap the dough and leave at room temperature.
Both the dough and the pastry cream require egg yolks, which means leftover egg whites. You can freeze and use them someday to make pavlovas, oatmeal pancakes or tiger financiers for example.
Making pastry cream is pretty easy, here are a few tricks to be successful.
To prevent the milk from burning in the bottom of the pot, add about half of the sugar required in the recipe and mix it in before heating up.
When egg yolks are in contact with sugar, they burn, so don’t wait to mix them together or you’re going to end up with a grainy pastry cream.
Once you start cooking the pastry cream, don’t stop mixing until you remove it from the stove, as it burns very easily.
Adding butter at the end is not necessary, it simply enriches the taste of the pastry cream and makes it more glossy.
When the pastry cream is done, empty in a dish and cover with plastic wrap directly on top of it to prevent a skin from forming.
Beat it with a rubber spatula or a whisk before use to smooth it. Don’t over do it, or it’s going to be too runny.
Rinse and dry the strawberries before use. Always rinse strawberries with the stem on as water can affect both texture and flavor.
When placing the strawberries on the tart, start by the edges and finish with the center. If they have different sizes, try to be consistent. For example, place the biggest strawberries on the outside and the smallest on the inside…
French strawberry tart
- 3 egg yolks 60 g
- ½ cup sugar 130 g
- ⅔ cup butter 150 g – room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup AP flour 200 g
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp baking powder 11 g
- 1 cup milk 250 ml
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks 60 g
- ¼ cup sugar 60 g
- 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch 25 g
- 2 small tbsp butter 25 g
- 1.5 lb fresh strawberries 700 g
- icing sugar to sprinkle
Buttery dough – can be made the day before
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl, pour the sugar in and whisk straight away to prevent the yolks from "burning". You can either do it in a stand mixer – like I did – or not.
- Once it doubled size and you reach a nice fluffy ribbon texture, add the butter cut in cubes and mix on medium speed until fully incorporated. It's really important that the butter is at room temperature.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Put the dough in between two parchment papers and roll with a rolling pin until you get the size of you ring/mold. It should be about ¼ inch – 0,6mm high. If you're making small tarts, divide the dough in 6 pieces and simply press into the molds. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until you get a nice golden brown color.
Pastry cream – can be made the day before
- Heat up the milk with the vanilla extract and half the sugar in a pot, on medium heat.
- In a bowl, mix the rest of the sugar with the cornstarch, and mix in the egg yolks with a whisk.
- Once the milk starts boiling, pour some in the egg yolks, mix quickly and pour it back in the pot.
- Cook the pastry cream, mixing constantly, until it starts boiling, keep cooking for one more minute from that point. Remove from the stove, add the butter, and whisk until combined.
- Pour in a dish, cover with plastic wrap directly on top of it, and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until the next day.
Assembling the tart – day of
- Rinse and dry the strawberries, remove the stem and cut in half.
- Put the pastry cream in a bowl, mix with a spatula or a whisk to make it smooth – don't over mix it or it will get too runny.
- Fill a piping bag with a round tip and pipe the pastry cream on the tart crust, starting from the center and leaving about ½ inch – 1 cm on the edges free.
- Place the strawberries on top, starting from the edges this time.
- With a strainer, sprinkle icing sugar on top to give a nice gloss to the strawberries.
- You can keep the tart in the fridge for a couple of days.