Best Strawberry Tart Recipe With Pastry Cream in 40 Minutes
What's in a strawberry tart recipe?
Strawberry fruit tarts are the perfect dessert for summer season, when we can find these flavored fruits everywhere.
Their aroma is too good to be true. If you ask me, you can never have enough strawberries.
And that combination with vanilla pastry cream? Out of this world!
This dessert is not necessarily suitable for a beginner home chef. You have to use some advanced techniques for both the crust and the pastry.
However, if you know yourself as a patient person who likes to read the instructions more than once, you have a great chance in making a fabulous tart.
I will explain in detail all the steps you need to follow for preparing the strawberry tart recipe. To make it easier, you should gather all the needed ingredients.
After that, read all the instructions carefully at least twice and print them out or keep your phone nearby.
Begin the process only when you are absolutely sure that you understood everything.
What is a Strawberry Tart?
Strawberry fruit tarts are baked desserts consisting of a crust filled with vanilla pastry cream and topped with fresh strawberry slices.
There are two theories about how the tart originated in history.
The first one states that this dish started to evolve from the tradition of putting some foods on top of others. It is said that humans always have had the habit of putting round and flat slices of bread on top of other slices of bread.
Followers of this theory argue that the similarity consists of the fact that both bread and tart crusts are made of flour. Therefore, it is possible that those layered slices of bread were the ancestors of tarts. But same theory applies to cakes and pizza.
The second opinion says that tarts are heirs of Medieval pies. Those who adhere to it say that tarts are, in fact, some pies without the dough lid. This theory seems more plausible because both the shape and preparing technique seem alike.
The arguments are more solid so we may say that pies and tarts are close relatives. While the basic pie crust came into use around 1350, two-hundred years later bakers began to use enriched doughs (like shortbread crust), the precursors of the tart crust.
Both type of doughs appeared in the same geographic area, on the same continent, Europe.
The difference between pies and tarts consisted in the way they were seen. A pie was a dish made from scratch with whatever leftovers you had. Everything was kept for later consumption. On the contrary, tarts were an attribute of the high class.
Only chefs who worked for the Court knew how to prepare such a delicacy. It became very popular among the nobility.
It was much appreciated for the way it looked which is easy to understand. After all, strawberry fruit tarts look amazing, right?
Back then there were also real artists among chefs. They saw a large open tart as a canvas where they could paint and compose a work of art.
Which was edible too. What could be better?
Cooks used their imagination to create incredible decors with fresh and bright-colored fruits, spices, herbs and even vegetables.
They prepared sweet or savory tarts or sometimes even a combination. Nobles considered them taste bud delights.
As the time passed, culinary trends pushed tarts to the sweet and desserts area. Some classics may be considered citrusy tarts like orange or lemon.
The ones who remained in the savory section are known as quiche nowadays.
How to Make Strawberry Tart Filling or Sauce?
Usually, tarts are filled with pastry cream also known as crème patissiere. This is a thick custard, made from a combination of eggs, milk, sugar and flour or cornstarch. This filling has its origins in France and is iconic for pastry kitchens. Its uses are varied as it can fill eclairs, cream puffs, tarts, Napoleons and many other pastries. It is called the “Mother of all creams” because puts the base for a large amount of recipes.
Its texture allows chefs and cooks to flavor it with vanilla beans, coffee, fruit purees or liqueurs. In case you want to add fruit puree or jams, do it after you prepare and cool down the cream. Slice or puree the fruits and drain the excess liquid. Otherwise, the moisture will ruin the consistency of your cream. Jams or fruit curd can be simply folded in.
Pastry cream thickens with the help of the eggs. They create the smooth and rich texture of the cream but they can also curdle when heated too much. The following thing happens: heating eggs will cause their proteins to unwind and join with other unwound proteins like the ones from the milk. This way, the proteins will thicken. If you heat them longer the bond will be tighter. The main purpose is to make the pastry cream keep its shape when cooled.
To ensure the proper consistency of the cream, you must bring it to a quick boil for about two minutes, stirring continuously. The heating temperature must be high enough so that it is able to destroy the amylase enzyme. This is responsible for breaking down the starch in which case the cream becomes runny.
How to Make Strawberry Tart Glaze?
If you want to glaze your tart, simply use a few tablespoons of strawberry jam.
In case you prefer something more exquisite, combine one cup of strawberry jam with two tablespoons of water or orange liqueur. Place this mixture in a small saucepan or nonstick pan. Turn on the stove and set for medium heat. Medium high heat is the safest temperature for nonstick pans. Stir until the everything is liquefied.
Strain through a fine strainer so that you will discard any seeds left. Set aside to cool a bit. Gently brush the fruit on top of the tart. Or you may roll the fruits through the glaze and then decorate the tart.
The third and easiest option is to prepare a simple sugar syrup by dissolving sugar in water. Pour 1 cup water over 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar dissolves completely. Leave it to cool completely before brushing the strawberries with it.
Depending on the occasion, you may prepare tarts or tartlet. Strawberry tartlet filling would be the same as the one for the big tart.
For the Crust
- 3.35 oz. cold butter
- 2 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ¾ tbsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 pcs egg, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
For the Pastry Cream
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 pcs egg yolks
- 2 cups + 1 tbsp milk
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups strawberry slices
- Mint leaves
To Prepare the Crust
- To prepare the crust, combine the butter, flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Process until the dough starts to resemble a coarse sand. You may also do that with your fingertips.
- Take everything out of the food processor and place in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and break the egg. Sprinkle the sugar and mix again using your fingertips. Be careful not to overmix.
- Bring the dough together by flattening it with your hands. Roll it into a ball. Cover with cling film and take it to the fridge for half an hour.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9’’ tart pan. It would be recommended to have removable bottom. The other option you can go for consists of 6 4’’ tartlet molds.
- Take the dough out of the fridge. Use a rolling pin and flatten the dough without previously removing the cling film. After you get a large disk, about ¼ ‘’ thick, remove the foil. Transfer the dough to the pan. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the pastry shell.
- If you prepare tartlets, lightly flour your work surface. Divide the dough into six equal parts. Work with only one piece at a time. Sprinkle some flour on top. Use the rolling pin to flatten to a disk of ¼ ‘’ thick and about ½ ‘’ larger than the tartlet mold. Carefully take the dough and place it in the tartlet pan. Press it gently against the sides and bottom using your hands. Get a sharp knife and trim the ends that hang over the edge of the mold. Repeat this process with the remaining dough pieces. Prick holes on the bottom with a fork.
- In both cases (for the big tart or tartlets), bake for about 20 minutes. Let it chill for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To Prepare the Pastry Cream
- Place the egg yolks, sugar, grated lemon zest and whisk them together.
- Add the flour and some milk (only a couple of tablespoons). Continue to whisk until well combined.
- Pour the remaining milk in a saucepan. Add the vanilla extract and zest. Heat just until you bring the milk to a simmer. Use a strainer to remove the lemon zest.
- Begin whisking and add milk to the egg mixture in a thin stream. Take everything back to the saucepan.
- Set to medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the cream becomes thick and rich.
- Cover with a cling film and press the foil directly onto the surface of the cream. This will prevent the forming of a crust on top of the strawberry tartlet filling.
- Transfer the cream to the fridge and refrigerate until completely cold.
- When you want to assemble the tart, take the pastry cream out of the refrigerator and whisk well. Spread the strawberry tartlet filling in an even layer. Do the same if you prepared the strawberry tart recipe.
- Decorate and serve immediately.
- One way to prepare the décor is to cut the strawberries in thin slices lengthwise. This will take you some time. Arrange the strawberry slices starting from the edges of the tart and continuing to work your way to the center and place them in a circular pattern.
- Another messier way to decorate is to cut the berries into round slices and place them one on top of another, all over the tart.
- You may also try cutting the strawberries in halves lengthwise and decorate only half of the tart, adding some mint leaves on the other half.
- You can even leave the strawberries whole, place them close to one another and glaze them with some sugar syrup.
- Or you may create an outside circle out of strawberry slices and make a small flour in the middle by overlapping other slices.
- If you made tartlets, it could be a good idea to decorate each one in a different way so you will decide which one you like the best.
- The only thing standing in your way of preparing a fabulous tart is the will of using your imagination. Close your eyes and picture how the perfect tart would look for you. After you have seen every tiny detail, open your eyes, return to reality and get to work.