Brittany is a land of butter, and with this butter they make shortbread cookies that are gloriously golden and shatter-in-your-mouth crumbly. These sablés bretons are traditionally served on their own, but in recent years French pastry chefs have taken to using them as the foundation for fruit tartlets, especially strawberry. In my version, the pastry cream is subtly flavored with lemon, which bolsters the sweetness of the berries.
Makes eight 3-inch tartlets, or one 10-to 12-inch tart
For the Tartlets:
1 large organic egg 3 tablespoons unrefined blond cane sugar (also sold as evaporated cane juice) 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2/3 cup milk (not skim) or unflavored, unsweetened nondairy milk Grated zest of 1 organic lemon 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice Breton Shortbread Tart Dough (recipe follows), baked 1 1/4 pound strawberries, preferably small, hulled and halved or quartered depending on their size 2 tablespoons strawberry jam (optional)
For the Breton Shortbread Tart Dough:
1/3 cup unrefined blond cane sugar (also sold as evaporated cane juice) 6 tablespoons high-quality unsalted butter, softened 1 small fresh vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 large organic egg 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Clotilde Dusoulier is a French food writer based in Paris. Her focus is on fresh, colorful, and seasonal foods, making room for both wholesome, nourishing dishes and sweet treats.
An enthusiastic explorer of flavors and observer of culinary trends, she contributes to international food and travel magazines, and writes cookbooks and guidebooks. She lives in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris with her boyfriend and their young son.