| Food

A Strawberry Tart a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Ok that’s perhaps a rather ridiculous statement as a Strawberry Tart a day definitely does not keep the doctor away, in fact it more likely invites him to discuss the perils of obesity and tooth decay but I love a strawberry tart and if I could eat one a day I strongly believe that I would be a happier person, a fatter person with bad teeth but a happier one all the same.

Yesterday I had a strawberry tart while picnicing in the park, it was my first strawberry tart of the year and it wasn’t just any strawberry tart, no… it was an M&S strawberry tart and it was quite simply devine.

Crumbly pastry base, gooey creamy filling, no cheap glaze or jelly just fresh tasty whole strawberries on top. Mmm… Mmm… MMM!

There is something about a strawberry tart that screams Summer, and screams British Summer at that. Perhaps a tad upper class British summer due to the Wimbledon/ Henley/ afternoon tea associations, but mainly because it’s the perfect summer treat on a sunny day – fresh, light and colourful.

So after my brief dalliance with the M&S variety of Strawberry Tart, I thought hell anything M&S can bake, surely BB can bake better! (or at least attempt to…)

So today on a fabulously British Summer day I tried my hand at the fabulously British dessert for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to make! AND they taste DELICIOUS! Everyone should try them!

Here’s how it’s done…

The Shortcrust Pastry…
225g Plain Flour
110g Cold unsalted butter
55g sugar
touch of water

I’m a bit of a dab hand at shortcrust pastry and I have made it many times on the blog before, it’s one of those things that once you’ve got it… you’ve got it! So if you feel like it’s not working for you the first couple of times don’t give up and reach for the ready made stuff just yet, keep trying… it really is much better homemade.
1. Rub the butter and flour together with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
2. stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt (optional)
3. You can use an egg if you like but I just use a smidge of water and then bind it together with your hands. Knead until its combined into a soft ball.
4. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30mins in the fridge
5. Pre heat the oven to 200C
6. Flour your surface and roll out your pastry to the desired width then cut into rounds (I really need to buy myself a pastry cutter as my rounds are always wonky)
7. Grease a tart tin (also really need to buy myself one of these as trying to make tarts in a muffin tin isnt quite the same) and then line your tin with the pastry rounds (You can also do one large tart if you like)
8. scrunch up some tinfoil and press into the pastry cases and bake blind for about 10-15mins, remove the tinfoil and bake for another 5 mins. Leave to cool.

The Filling…
425ml milk (they say whole is best but you can use any)
1 vanilla pod (or vanilla flavouring)
2 egg yolks
60g sugar
40g Plain Flour
100ml whipped double cream
tub of fresh strawberries

This was the first time I had made a creme pattiserie as it’s called but it’s very similar to making the lemon curd for a lemon meringue pie, there are a few fiddly parts and you feel as if you have to do many things at once and still not take your eye of the milk but it’s worth it, I promise…
1. Pour milk into a deep saucepan along with your vanilla pod (split doen the seam) and ring to the boil gently over a low heat, stirring all the time.
2. Meanwhile whisk together your egg yolks and sugar until smooth and creamy and then add the flour and beat again making sure there are no lumps.
3. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk mixture and take off the heat for about 10mins then add the milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir straight away.
4. Return this to the saucepan and continue to heat gently until the mixture thickens. It’s important to keep stirring at this time otherwise it will go lumpy.
5. Once thickened remove from the heat, transfer into a clean bowl and leave to cool.
6. Whip the cream and then once the mixture is cool, fold the cream in and stir.

The Finishing touches…

This is where it gets fun, I wasnt entirely brilliant at arranging my strawberries so they look a little hap hazard but that’s the way I like it. If like me you have small pastry cases but large strawberries, cut them into quarters and do a concertina effect (although I later realised it does look better if you do the concertina the opposite way with the points of the strawberry pointing in to the middle but hey ho)
1. Spoon the custard mixture into your pastry cases, fill them up to the top and you will get a fuller tart.
2. Chop your strawberries into the desired shapes
3. Arrange as you wish on top of the custard topping.
4. Dust with icing sugar and wah la!

Fabulous, tasty, easy to make, 1 of your 5 a day (before you say anything I’m taking it), and best of all… even better than M&S!

Success!

BB
xxx

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