Strawberries and custard are a marriage made in heaven - especially when you can package them so nicely as in this gorgeous strawberry tarte.
Quick and easy to make, the shortcrust pastry can even be prepared in advance so that nothing will come between you and one or two slices of this tarte... —Ginger
one 24cm / 10" tarte
For the shortcrust pastry/pâte sucrée:
For the filling:
strawberries, or raspberries, or any berries, really
Begin mixing the ingredients for your shortcrust pastry on a cool surface, ideally with a spatula or similar to prevent the pastry to get too warm. Cutting up the butter and mixing it with the other ingredients is the aim here, until you have it all nicely crumbled up. With cool hands, quickly work the crumbs into a soft dough; if necessary add a little bit of flour but don’t overdo it as it takes away from the lovely taste and texture of this pastry!
Wrap it up in cling film and put it into the fridge for at least 1 hour. You can easily make the double quantity and freeze half of it for another occasion.
heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F and grease your flan tin. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Fold it over and roll it our again but avoid touching the dough with your hands as you want to keep it cool. Finally roll it out very thinly between two sheets of greaseproof paper.! Place the dough into your tin and cut off the excess, then prick the surface a couple of times with a fork.
Place a sheet of greaseproof paper in the tin and fill it with dried chickpeas or similar. The chickpeas help to keep the soft dough in place during the ‘blind baking’. Pop it in the oven, on the bottom shelf, and bake for around 20-30 minutes or until the crust takes on a lovely golden colour. You might want to remove the greaseproof paper and the chickpeas halfway through the process to speed it all up.
Remove it from the oven and leave it to cool.
For the filling:
Either wash and hull the strawberries to use them whole, half them or cut them into thin slices, depending on how you want the finished cake to look. Early in the season it makes more sense to use them sliced as you can bring our their aroma more by dusting them with a little icing sugar before serving – at the last minute, really, or they will leave pink puddles on your custard topping!
For the custard, bring the milk to boil. Once it is bubbling, set it aside to cool a little.
Beat the yolks with the sugar until the mass is almost white – this takes almost 10 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the lemon zest, the cornflour and finally the milk.
Pour it all back into the cooking pot and bring it to boil, stirring constantly. Once it bubbles, remove it from the heat and leave it to cool down a little before pouring it into the pastry. Keep stirring it regularly to prevent the forming of skin.
Once it is cooled down a little you can pour it into the crust. Decorate the strawberries on top and place the tarte in the fridge for an hour or so to allow the custard to stiffen a little before serving. Sift a little icing sugar over the strawberries just before serving to bring our their colour!