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strawberry tart with pastry cream

Strawberry Tart with Pastry Cream

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If you need a showstopper dessert that isn’t hard to prepare, then look no further! Strawberry tarts look amazing and taste amazing too! And they are actually easy to make. No complicated techniques involved! All you need is pâte sablée (or pâte sucrée) for the sweet and crumbly base, a rich and luscious pastry cream and fresh ripe strawberries.

strawberry tart

If you’ve been following the baking calendar, you’ve probably already prepared the tart shell and the pastry cream. Now all that’s left to do is assemble the tart! If you missed the calendar, no worries, you can go through the step-by-step posts on how to make pastry cream and pâte sablée (or pâte sucrée if you prefer).

What Are The Components Of A Strawberry Tart?

Let’s break it down into the different components so you can see how simple it is.

The crust

You can use any tart crust you like really. Most recipes will use pâte sablée or pâte sucrée. But you can even use pâte brisée if you like.

The crust will bring texture and you don’t want it to end up soggy. To prevent this from happening, there are two things you can do:

  1. Protective coating: Melt some chocolate (I use white) and brush it over the crust. You can also just use a spoon if you don’t have a brush. Another option would be to brush a little bit of beaten egg (egg white or whole egg) over the crust 5 minutes before the end of the baking time.
  2. Last minute assembly: Prepare the tart shell and the pastry cream but assemble just before serving.

strawberry tart

The pastry cream

The right consistency of the pastry cream is important for a clean cut. You need the pastry cream to be thick enough so that it doesn’t leak everywhere when you cut a piece, but not rubbery. To get that consistency, you might need to add a bit more thickener (flour, cornstarch or even gelatin) to the pastry cream recipe you normally use.

How much should you fill the tart? Fill the tart shell almost to the top, just below the rim. Using a spatula or spoon, spread the pastry cream evenly.

strawberry tart

The strawberries

The strawberries play a very big role in the aesthetics and flavor of your tart. So it’s best to use fresh, ripe strawberries.

How ripe should the strawberries be? They should be ripe enough for sweetness and flavor, but not so ripe that they just get mushy when you hold them!

Size of the strawberries: If you have a few extra minutes, try sorting out your strawberries by size. This way you can arrange them neatly on the tart.

Cut or not? That’s really up to you! You can cut the strawberries in two, or slice them up in multiple pieces. You can also just put the whole strawberry, which I found especially useful when making tartlets.

strawberry tartlet

Arranging the strawberries

This really isn’t my strong point but I’ll just give you a few ideas to get you started. I’m sure you’ll do a better job!

For the large strawberry tart in this post, I sliced the strawberries into about 3 pieces (not too thin, or thick). Place a circular layer of strawberries slices, starting from the outside. For the next layer, place the strawberry slices in the gaps, between the strawberry slices.

Keep doing this until you get to the middle. Place a whole strawberry in the center of the tart. I had trouble doing this for a tartlet though. It was much easier and prettier when working with a large tart.

In the second example, I sliced the strawberries differently. It didn’t look great so I just ended up using whole strawberries for the small tartlets.

I have trouble finding the perfect strawberries to be honest. I end up buying more than I need so that I can sort through them. And sometimes it’s still not enough. If you have the same problem but want to make a fruit tart, you can simply replace the strawberries with other types of berries, kiwis, grapes, apricots…

Glazing the strawberry tart

This step is optional but it really adds something to the strawberry tart. The glaze serves two purposes:

  1. It adds a nice shine to your tart.
  2. It preserves the fruit used for longer.
strawberry tartlet

You can just use some apricot jam for this purpose and heat it slightly in the microwave. If you don’t have any, you can use other types of jam. Just make sure to strain any chunks of fruits before brushing the warm jam on the fruits.

If you aren’t using jam, you can simply sift some powdered sugar over the tart.

And that’s it! Crust remains crisp: check! Tasty filling, shiny strawberries: check and check! I’m sure you’ll make an amazing tart! I can’t wait for you to try this recipe!

How to make a Strawberry Tart

0 from 0 votes
Cuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
Tart pan

23

cm
Prep time

40

minutes
Cook time

30

minutes
Rest time

2

hours 

A strawberry tart is a showstopper dessert that is composed of a sweet and crumbly base, a luscious pastry cream and fresh strawberries.

Ingredients

  • For the Pâte Sablée
  • 250 g all-purpose flour

  • 140 g unsalted butter, diced and softened at room temperature

  • 100 g granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • For the Pastry Cream
  • 360 g whole milk

  • 120 g heavy cream

  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature

  • 100 g granulated sugar, divided

  • 18 g all-purpose flour

  • 18 g cornstarch

  • 60 g butter, cold and cut into pieces

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • For the topping
  • about 500 g strawberries

  • apricot jam (optional)

Directions

  • Making the Pâte Sablée
  • Start by sifting the flour into a large bowl.
  • Sanding: Add the sugar and softened butter. Using your fingertips or the palm of your hands, rub everything together until the mixture looks sandy. It’s okay if there are some pea-sized butter chunks. Do not combine until the dough looks homogeneous.
  • Add the egg yolk and knead until the dough no longer falls apart. If the dough feels too dry and crumbly and you are unable to gather it into a ball, add some of the egg white just until the dough is smooth and easy to handle.
  • Flatten the dough into a disk or rectangle and wrap it well in parchment paper or cling film.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. The dough will be sticky and difficult to handle if not cool enough.
  • Pre-baking: Line the tart pan and freeze it for about 15 minutes to prevent puffiness without resorting to weights. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F) and place a rack in the lower third of the oven (level 2).
  • Bake tarts for about 25 minutes and tartlets for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  • Making the Pastry Cream
  • In a medium-sized pot, boil the milk, heavy cream and part of the sugar (about 1/3).
  • In the meantime, sift the flour and cornstarch into the remaining sugar and whisk to combine.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks slightly and whisk in the sugar-starch mixture, until slightly lightened and thickened. It will feel creamier.
  • Very slowly add part of the boiled milk/cream into the egg mixture and whisk constantly.
  • Return the mixture to the pot and keep whisking on medium-high heat (heat 6 out of 9 for example).
  • Once the foam subsides and the cream starts to thicken, keep an eye out for bubbles forming. When this happens, keep heating for another 2 minutes to get rid of any starchy taste and remove from the heat. Try not to stir too much during those 2 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should register about 93°C (200°F).
  • Add the cold butter and vanilla extract and whisk until the cream is completely smooth. Pour the cream into a large container to obtain a thin layer. This will ensure the cream will cool down quickly.
    Optional: If you notice there are lumps in your cream, strain your cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a large container.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper or cling film straight onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Assembling the Strawberry Tart (just before serving)
  • Wash, dry, de-stem and cut (if desired) the strawberries.
  • Unmold your tart and place on a serving platter.
  • Whisk the cold pastry cream slightly to loosen it.
  • Fill the baked and cooled tart shell with pastry cream using a big spoon or a piping bag. Flatten the surface of the cream slightly.
  • Arrange the strawberries on top of the cream.
  • Optional: Warm slightly the apricot jam in the microwave for a few seconds. Strain any big chunks of fruits from the jam if necessary. Gently brush over the strawberries. You can dilute the jam with a little bit of water if needed. Alternatively, dust some icing sugar over the tart just before serving.

Notes

  • It’s best to assemble the tart just before serving to avoid a soggy crust. You can also brush some melted white chocolate on the crust before filling with pastry cream.
  • Make-ahead Instructions: 1) The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month. To defrost, place it in the refrigerator overnight or thaw at room temperature for about an hour. 2) The baked and cooled tart shell can be frozen in a sturdier freezer-proof container for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature before filling. 3) The pastry cream can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • The pâte sablée recipe yields about 500 g of dough. If flattening the dough to a thickness of 3 mm (1/8 inch) , you will need about 240 g to 260 g of dough to fill a 23-cm pan (9 inch). I would recommend making one large tart and using the remaining dough for tartlets or cookies.
  • Sablé cookies: The remaining dough can easily be made into cookies. Roll the dough to a thickness of 0.25 – 0.5 cm (1/8 to 1/4 inch) and cut out desired shapes. Bake on the middle rack of the oven (conventional setting) at 180°C (356°F) for about 12 minutes, or the edges are golden brown.
  • The recipe for the pâte sablée was found in Christophe Felder’s book, Patisserie.

Bibliography

Felder, C. (2014). Patisserie: Mastering the Fundamentals of French Pastry (4th ed.) Rizzoli.

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