I’d actually made these tarts to use up some of the rich ripe early summer strawberries from the in-laws’ garden a while ago. It never made it here mainly because I was pretty annoyed with the pastry shells that shrank on baking (again!) and wanted to get it absolutely right the next time. Of course, I never got around to making these tarts again and they did actually taste great with a filling of creamy creme patissiere topped with luscious deep red strawberries.
So as the last few days of summer go by, I found myself reminisicing of the fun we had with all those strawberries and since this one’s quite a handy recipe for a make ahead dessert, I thought why not share it here. To make it even better, the original Michel Roux Jr. recipe calls for the use of a variety of fruits. So you see, you can make these tarts any time of the year with whatever fruit you have handy!
The only changes I made apart from using only strawberries, was to scale down the measurements to yield 6 little tarts. In hindsight, I think I had just enough pastry for 4 (as evidenced by the shrunk pastry cases in the pictures below) and that’s how many I shall make the next time round.
Strawberry/Fruit Tarts (Adapted from an original Michel Roux Jr. recipe)
Ingredients (Makes 4 tarts about 10cm wide)
For the pastry –
170g flour plus extra for dusting
30g icing sugar
about 90g butter
1 egg yolk, beaten
a few tablespoons of cold water (to bring the dough together)
For the creme patissiere –
2 egg yolks
15g plain flour
45g icing sugar plus a little extra for dusting
For the topping –
about 400g fresh fruit of your choice
a few tablespoons of apricot jam to finish the tarts – I used some yellow plum jam instead
First make the pastry. Sift the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter in cubes and use your fingers to rub it in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. You may also use a pastry cutter to do this. Add the egg yolk and bring the dough together, adding a few splashes of water if required. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 10-15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C (conventional). Take the pastry out of the fridge and remove cling film. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to an even thickness of around 5mm.
Cut circles out of the pastry making sure that they’re slightly bigger than the tart cases or you may use the tart case itself to cut 4 circles for 4 tart cases. Line the cases with the pastry and press it into the tins using your fingers. Make sure you have enough pastry to work with here otherwise the baked pastry shells could turn out be much smaller than you expected.
Prick the base of the pastry with a fork, line the tin with foil and fill it with ceramic beans, uncooked beans or rice. Do this with all 4 cases. Place the cases in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the cases from the oven, remove the foil and beans/rice filling and place the cases back into the oven. Bake for a further 10 minutes so it cooks all the way through. Once ready, remove the tins from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack before turning out the pastry cases.
While the pastry cases are baking, you can make the creme patissiere. Whisk the egg yolks, flour and sugar in a bowl. Heat the milk in a large pan until just boiling. Pour the milk into the bowl with the egg/flour mixture, whisk to combine and pour it back into the pan. Cook on a medium heat stirring consistently. Once the mixture thickens, remove pan from heat and transfer to a large bowl so it cools down. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
If using jam to finish the tarts, place it in a small saucepan with 2tbsp water and warm it on a low heat and then leave to cool.
To assemble the tarts, fill each pastry case with enough creme patissiere, top it off with fruit of your choice. Brush with jam if using and serve.
A filling dessert to enjoy at the end of a light meal or just on its own with a cup of coffee. Enjoy!