Recipe: Tarte aux Fraises

Classic French Strawberry Tart Recipe, Tarte aux Fraises

For 10 years of my childhood, I spend most summer holidays crossing the English Channel with my parents to stay in our French holiday home. I loved everything about the French lifestyle, culture, and most importantly, the food. Our first stop on every trip once we had reached France was to a local boulangerie and pâtisserie, where I would get my hands on the classic dessert, la taste aux fraises – the lightest, juiciest and crumbliest strawberry tart.

Easy, Simple and Perfect Summer's dessert that will wow

A classic French dessert that's easy to make once you master the crème pâtissière, the strawberry tart is perfect for a warm, Summer's afternoon al fresco style. If you're a lover of fine, French cuisine, then this recipe is just for you. It's all about precision and taking your time.

Food photography in the Midlands, Blogger and Lover of Cake

What you will need:

For the pastry
175g plain flour
45g (5 tbsp) icing sugar
a pinch of salt
90g very cold butter, cut up into cubes
1 egg yolk
30ml (2 tbsp) ice cold water

For the crème pâtissière
350ml whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
30g plain flour

And don't forget 700g of strawberries for the topping

Serves 6

Classic French Tarte aux Fraises Recipe, Step-by-Step

Pastry

  1. Sift the flour and icing sugar, and place in the bowl of a food processor with the salt. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and water, and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Be careful not to over-mix, but do let the dough come together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and work it very lightly until smooth, pressing it forward bit by bit with the heel of your hand.
  2. Roll the dough out immediately (going against tradition, which says to let it rest in the fridge and line a 9-inch (24cm) tart tin with the pastry, cutting the edges off with a rolling pin. If it tears, don't be afraid to press it back together, using stray pieces of dough to reinforce any weak spots. Place in the fridge for at least an hour before baking.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 F (200 C) or 400 F (190 C) on the convection setting. Line the pastry with a round of parchment paper and fill with baking beans to blind-bake.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry starts to brown around the edges. Remove the paper and baking beans before returning to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until evenly golden. Set aside to cool.
Crème Pâtissière
  1. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk and add the bean to the milk. Bring to a boil, being careful not to let it burn.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy. Add the flour and whisk well until smooth. Pour the boiling milk slowly into this mixture, whisking constantly. Return the milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Lower the heat and continue to cook the pastry cream, whisking, for 2-3 minutes over a very low heat to cook the flour. If you're using an electric hob, switch to another hob so as to not burn the pastry cream. Remove the vanilla bean, pour the cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, so that the plastic touches the surface, preventing a skin from forming. Set aside to cool.
  3. When the pastry and pastry cream have cooled, pour the cream into the pastry shell and spread it out with a spatula. Top with strawberries, cut in half, with the cut side facing upwards to prevent too much juice from soaking into the cream.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
Birmingham-based blogger of food, design, lifestyle and travel

With the egg whites you have left over, keep them aside in a bowl and place them in the fridge. Use the egg whites to make meringue nests or eton mess. This is a great way of ensuring that you are using up all of the waste (and two desserts are always better than one)! My No-Fail Meringue recipe is ideal for even the most novice of cooks.

Recipe by Rosa Jackson

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