Say hello to yet another simple and elegant dessert! :) Luscious red strawberries sitting on sublime vanilla custard and the crunch of buttery pastry…you have to try this! I tried my hands at making the pastry cream from scratch here and not using the store bought custard powder. For one, I wanted to know what the fuss was all about making a ‘crème pâtissière’. It is a staple with every baker and basically wanted to know if an amateur like me could pull it off. Trust me it is easy! Ensure that you never take your eyes off it and never keep your whisk down for this one. :)
There are a couple of steps in getting this treat assembled. All you need is a good tart, a good custard, some beautiful strawberries or berries of your choice … and there you have it.. voila! Don’t be hassled by these steps. The Tart dough/ baked tarts and the pastry cream itself can be made ahead of time :) So it leaves you with, just the assembly – either for a planned evening or if you have unexpected guests coming over. I love these sublime tarts – divine and doesn’t weigh you down. —Trupti Kharche
In a food processor add in the flour, unsalted butter, granulated sugar and salt. Please remember your butter should be really cold and hard. Pop it into the freezer for 5 mins if you feel it is not hard enough. Pulse until it looks like fine sand. If you do not have a food processor, rub the butter into the flour between your fingers. This might take longer than the machine of course.
Add the milk and pulse until it forms a ball.
Transfer to clean working surface. Bring it together gently and flatten a little to roll it out immediately. Remember do not overwork this dough. The warmth of your hands will start melting the butter and you will get a tough crust.
You can also cover with a plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Cut a disc, a size larger than your tart pan. Carefully lift the disc and with floured fingers, press dough evenly into individual tart pans and push it up the sides.
Freeze crust until firm, approximately 10 minutes.
Prick the crust using a fork all over. Bake until golden, 25 minutes approximately at 180 degrees C.
Cool completely in the pan.
For the pastry cream: In a saucepan, heat milk, half of the sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
In another bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining sugar.
Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, little at a time, until it has been incorporated.
Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens. This takes approximately 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl.
Add the butter, and whisk until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.
You can refrigerate until chilled for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Before using whisk by hand until smooth
To assemble the tart:
Take the prepared tart shells
Spread the pastry cream mixture evenly on the baked crust
Starting from the outside edge, arrange strawberry slices, stem side down, in tight concentric circles on the pastry cream.