A flaky basket of shortcrust pastry filled with fresh light custard and luscious red strawberries. Your homemade strawberry tart will look spectacular and taste even better.
Nothing to get hung about
Fruit bakes are my favourite thing. Starting from similar base ingredients you can get such different treats depending on the season.
Cakes with fruits change over time: from strawberries to plums, from plums to pears, from pears to apples, from apples to oranges, and back again to strawberries, the best of them all.
Seasons unfold and fruit bakes remind us of the passing of time.
We had such an unusual summer this year. Constant showers of rain in London, briefly intermitted by scorching hot days.
The weather was so moody that it was impossible to find strawberries anywhere. I am filled with joy when stores dress in red with strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. This year there was none of that.
What a depressing array.
A strawberry-less summer and grey skies fill me with nostalgia. I wish sometimes I could live with my eyes closed.
Living is easy with eyes closed
Yes, how cliché this might be, I always think of the song Strawberry Fields Forever every time I eat strawberries.
It is difficult to pin down a favourite song. However, if I had to quickly choose one, this Beatles’ song would be my pick.
I discovered this song thanks to Pietro, a dear friend. It became my refuge as a sad teenager. I have always been the nostalgic type and this song immediately spoke to me.
I know so little about music, but love its psychedelic sounds, the mix of different moods, and the magic of flutes, swarmandal, and cello. It was also released on the 13th of February, my birthday, and I like to take this as a sign. It’s a song for me.
Nothing is real
I still don’t fully understand the meaning of it though.
To me, it is the longing for peace, simplicity.
It’s nostalgia for a time that never came to be.
It’s also fighting for your imagination.
Looking for new worlds inside you to make the outside a bit lighter.
Let me take you down
I found a basket of British strawberries at an independent today, so late in the season. I paid them a fortune and went home singing my favourite song and imagining new cakes in my head.
Strawberries melted in chocolate, folded in a crumble, accompanied by white chocolate in spongy muffins…but none of these ideas were good enough. I wanted to eat them as fresh as possible. Strawberry tart popped in mind, the perfect dessert to celebrate the sweetest summer berry.
But it all works out
Strawberry tart is often considered a difficult bake. It actually all works out if you have enough time and good organisation. Read all the steps below before getting started so you have a clear timeline in your head.
When you serve and eat proudly this dessert, you’ll feel like the greatest pastry chef ever.
No crumbles will be left on the plate, just a few notes of flutes, swarmandal, and cello.
Strawberry TartsCourse: Something Sweet
A flaky basket of shortcrust pastry filled with fresh light custard and luscious red strawberries.
- Pastry Base (24 cm cake tin)
250 g plain flour
100 g butter
100 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
- Custard (In Italian: crema pasticcera)
400 ml milk
40 g cornflour
30 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
400 g strawberries
- Pastry base
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor.
- Mix everything using the pulse button (you don’t want to overmix the dough & you need to keep it cool)
- Bring the dough together with your hands and form a small rectangle.
- Wrap and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
- Custard (crema pasticcera)
- Warm up the milk and add lemon zest and a teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Add the eggs, sugar, and flour to another pot and mix
- When the milk is very close to boiling, turn off the heat, take out the lemon zest, and slowly pour it into the eggs + sugar + flour mix.
- Transfer the pot to a stove and whisk it with love on low heat. Don’t lose sight of it, keep stirring, the milk will miraculously transform into custard in about 5minutes.
- Cover up the custard as soon as it’s ready, we don’t want a weird thick skin on the surface! Let it chill for at least an hour.
- Putting it all together
- Dust a surface with flour and roll out the pastry to a 24 cm circle and transfer it to your cake tin.
- Prick the base with a fork to stop the cake from rising when baked.
- Cover the pastry base with baking paper and dried beans.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 180 °C.
- Remove the baking paper and beans and bake for 5 more minutes until golden. Leave the tin to cool down for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- Take the pastry base out of the tin and gently spoon the custard over it. I always eat the custard during this step (one spoon for the cake, one spoon for me…) and I then end up with no custard left…so hard to resist!
- There are so many ways to decorate this cake, my favourite one is to cut the strawberries in half and create a circular pattern.
- Chill for at least two hours before serving.
- If you don’t eat your cake immediately or if you like a gloss finish, gently brush the strawberries with three spoons of strawberry jam.