Sunday, June 17, 2007

Strawberry Tart with Creme Patisserie

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree?’ Well, I’m afraid to report that there is some truth to that. I’ve been downloading stuff from the Internet onto my blog this whole week. I’ve become my Dad! I’m a gadget junkie! I’ve downloaded visitor counters, music from Sonific, and most importantly, my favourite song of all time, ‘True’ from Spandau Ballet. I’ve tried to download more songs, but have been unsuccessful. The how-tos are still too complicated for me. The thing is, I find myself LOOKING for things to download. I just hope this isn’t becoming a new obsession! Yikes!

Today, I’m presenting a recipe for a Strawberry Tart with Crème Patisserie, you can use other berries that are in season, if you like. I used Mulberries from my dad’s tree once, and it turned out really well. An idiosyncrasy of mine, if you don’t already know it is that I use Salted Butter for all my baking. I just prefer the overall outcome. There’s a more rounded taste to the baked goods, if you know what I mean, and it doesn’t leave me craving for something savoury after I’ve finished Dessert!

I’ve used a Rich Shortcrust pastry also known as ‘ pate brisee’ for the base of the tart. It has a higher proportion of fat compared to the basic shortcrust pastry and it’s made with an egg yolk and chilled water.

For the Crème Patisserie
3 egg yolks
¼ cup caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups milk
2/3 cup double cream

400g strawberries, hulled and halved, then tossed in a 2 tsp caster sugar

For the Pastry
2 cups plain flour
12 tbsp chilled salted butter, diced
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp chilled water

To make the pastry, sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk with the chilled water and sprinkle over the dry ingredients. Mix to a firm dough. Put the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds, until smooth. Wrap in clear film and chill for 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge and place in between two large pieces of baking paper. Roll the dough to the shape required, depending on the tin you are using to about 1cm in thickness. Remove the top piece of baking paper and lifting the dough from under the bottom piece of baking paper, ease the dough onto your tin. Still using the baking paper, press the dough lightly on the base and sides of the tin, and then run the rolling pin over the top of the baking paper to neatly trim the excess dough. Wrap in clear film and chill for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Remove the pastry from the fridge and prick the base of the pastry, line with baking paper and baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for 10 minutes more or until the pastry is a nice golden colour. Leave to cool.

Beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, flour and vanilla together. Bring the milk to the boil in a pan. Slowly pour on the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Pour the custard into the cleaned pan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until it has thickened. Return to a clean mixing bowl, cover the surface with a piece of clear film and set aside to cool. Whip the cream until thick, and then fold into the custard. Spoon the crème patisserie into the pastry case and spread out evenly.

Arrange the strawberries on top of the crème patisserie. Refrigerate the tart until ready to serve.