Fresh French Strawberry Tart
Nothing beats a classic, especially when it's a seasonal delight, beautiful at first sight and just gorgeous to taste!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
Cream, as required
Pastry Cream Filling
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons flour
1 pint fresh strawberries - washed, dried
1 cup red currant jelly or sieved apricot preserves - warmed
mint leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 F.
For the Tart Pastry, in a large bowl, break the butter into the flour to make a grainy mixture. Stir in the baking powder, salt and sugar well. Blend in the egg and drizzle in a few tablespoons of cream until the mixture holds together. Pat into a flattened disc and chill 20 minutes.
To line the tart pan with pastry dough, roll out the tart pastry on a floured board to a circle about 2 inches wider than the tart pan. Transfer the pastry into the pans, carefully patting into crevices of the pan; trim borders. Place a circle of parchment paper on inner surface of pie pastry. Place another empty pie dish on top to hold pastry down. Place pie shell on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, removing top pie pan and parchment paper for the last 10 to 12 minutes to dry out inner crust. Cool well before filling and assembling.
To make the Pastry Cream, beat egg yolks and half of the sugar until pale in color. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts and 1/2 cup of the milk. Sift in the flour and blend well.
In a medium saucepan, over low heat, heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and gradually pour hot milk mixture into yolk mixture, whisking well all the while. Return entire mixture to saucepan and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until mixture thickens, whisking briskly all the while. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool.
Brush the top of the pastry cream with melted butter (this prevents a skin from forming) and cover with a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto surface of pastry cream. Refrigerate until thoroughly cool (up to three days).
To assemble tart, whisk pastry cream to loosen and lighten. Spread pastry cream into pie or tart shell. Top with strawberries, arranged in concentric circles. Brush with warmed red currant jelly or sprinkle tart just before serving with sugar.