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Desserts & Ices: Tarte Aux Fraises

By Bake Club

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Preparation time 1 hour (plus infusing, cooling and chilling)

Cooking time 30 minutes

Servings SERVES 6-8

Paris wouldn’t be Paris without its pâtisserie shops and their mouthwatering displays of jewel-like fruit tarts and elaborately decorated gâteaux. Tarte aux fraises – StrawberryTart – is a perennial favourite with discerning Parisiens and now you can create your own French masterpiece at home.

  • For the crème pâtissière
  • 3 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme
  • 200ml (7fl oz) milk
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 40g (1½oz) caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 15g (½oz) cornflour
  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter
  • 200ml (7fl oz) double cream
  • For the pastry
  • 100g (3½oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 250g (9oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 150g (5oz) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • For the topping and glaze
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) fresh strawberries
  • 2 leaves of gelatine
  • 125ml (4fl oz) fresh apple juice
  • 25g (1oz) jam sugar
  • 1 sprig of lemon thyme
  
  • Making the crème pâtissière

     

    3 steps

  • 1

    Making the crème pâtissière Rinse and dry the lemon thyme. Pour the milk into a saucepan, split the vanilla pod down its length and scrape out the seeds into the milk. Add half the sugar and the thyme. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

  • 2

    Making the crème pâtissière In another pan, whisk the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar. Add the cornflour and beat until smooth. Reheat the milk and strain it into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Stir continuously over a medium heat until the custard is thickened and smooth. Take the pan off the heat, add the butter and stir it in until melted.

  • 3

    Making the crème pâtissière Pour the custard into a bowl and press cling film over the surface of it to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool and then chill in the fridge for several hours. Whip the cream until holding its shape and fold into the custard.

  • Making the pastry

     

    3 steps

  • 1

    Making the pastry Rub the butter into the flour and sugar until like fine breadcrumbs. Beat the egg and stir it in to make a soft dough. Knead lightly, shape into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

  • 2

    Making the pastry Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until 3mm (?in) thick and line into your tart pan. Prick the sides and base of the pastry case with a fork and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  • 3

    Making the pastry Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas 4. Line the pastry case with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake for 20 minutes, removing the beans and parchment for the last 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

  • Preparing the topping and glaze

     

    3 steps

  • 1

    Preparing the topping and glaze Rinse the strawberries and remove their hulls. Cut the strawberries into thin slices lengthways.
    How to glaze a fruit tart

  • 2

    Preparing the topping and glaze Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water to soften them. Warm the apple juice with the jam sugar and, when the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil.

  • 3

    Preparing the topping and glaze Take the pan off the heat, squeeze out the gelatine leaves and stir them into the hot liquid. Leave to cool.

  • Assembling the tart

     

    3 steps

  • 1

    Assembling the tart Spoon the crème pâtissière into the pastry case, spreading it in an even layer. Arrange the strawberries slices on top in rounds, starting at the outside and working towards the centre.

  • 2

    Assembling the tart Brush the glaze over the strawberries and decorate with fresh lemon thyme leaves.

  • Expert Tip

    To be enjoyed at its best, the tart needs to be eaten on the day it is made.

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