A fresh fruit tart is one of the best desserts to have during the summer. It lets you feature local, ripe and sweet berries, enhanced by a lightly sweetened pastry cream and crisp tart crust.
Strawberries are always a great choice, but you can use any single berry you like or combine a mixture of your favorite berries including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or any other berries available to you for a beautiful tart. Or don’t limit yourself to berries — use kiwi and grapes or peaches and apricots or a variety of melon balls or any combination you can think of!
For this recipe, I use a pâte sucrée or a sweet shortcrust pastry for the crust. It’s crisper than ”pie dough” and holds up well when filled. The crust is filled with vanilla pastry cream or crème pâtissière. I use 2% milk here, for a lighter pastry cream, but if you want a richer filling, you can replace it with whole milk.
For the glaze, I make a simple glaze with fruit juice and corn starch. I’ve used all sorts of juices when making tarts, depending on what I’ve had in my kitchen. You can use any clear juices (nothing with pulp or thicker, pureed juices). I’ve used cranberry, raspberry, pear, and mango in the past. You can also use the juice from tinned fruit if you have that on hand. Another option is to use a couple of tablespoons of preserves (strained if it has fruit pieces in it) warmed up in the microwave and thinned out with a little water.
Strawberry Cream Tart
Lightly sweetened shortcrust filled with vanilla pastry cream and topped with fresh strawberries. A perfect summer dessert.
- Crust Ingredients:
- 4 oz. / 114 grams butter, softened (1/2 cup)
- 2 oz. / 56 grams icing sugar (powdered sugar) (1/2 cup)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 6 1/4 oz. /175 grams all-purpose flour (1 1/4 cup)
- 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 oz/ 114 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 4 Tbsp. corn starch
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 lbs. / 680 grams strawberries, washed and dried well, hulled and cut in half
- 3/4 cup clear juice (raspberry, pear, or juice from canned fruit)
- 1 Tbsp. corn starch
Pastry Cream Ingredients:
Strawberries and Glaze Ingredients:
- Start with the crust. In a stand mixer with a paddle or using an electric mixer, cream the butter and icing sugar together. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Add the salt and flour and mix on low until the dough just comes together.
- Gather the dough together and form it into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes, giving the butter a chance to firm up and the gluten in the flour some time to relax.
- On a lightly floured worksurface, roll the dough out into a large, approximately 11-inch, circle. Gently place the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable base. Carefully press the dough into the edges and sides of the tart pan. If the dough tears, simply patch it and press together. Trim off the excess dough, or roll your rolling pin over the top of the pan and it will cut it off. Wrap loosely in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour or until completely chilled.
- While the dough chills, prepare the pastry cream. Combine the milk, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. While it’s heating, whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch together in a mixing bowl.
- Slowly and carefully pour the hot milk into the egg/sugar/cornstarch mixture, whisking as you pour. Return this mixture to the saucepan and to the stove.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the cream starts to thicken. Cook, whisking another minute or until it’s thickened to a pudding consistency and when you stop whisking briefly, bubbles form. Add the butter and whisk until it is incorporated. Pour the pastry cream into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic is sitting right on the pastry cream. Chill until cold.
- When you’re ready to bake the crust, heat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
- Line your crust with parchment paper, making sure the top edges of the crust are covered, and fill with pie weights (I use dry beans). Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the tart pan from the oven and carefully lift out the parchment paper and pie weights. Return the pan to the oven and bake another 10 minutes or until the crust is a light, golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- Once the crust and pastry cream are cooled, assemble the tart. Carefully remove the crust from the pan and place it on a serving dish. Use a whisk to whisk the pastry cream until smooth, then pour the cream into the pastry shell. Use a spatula to smooth out the pastry cream in an even layer.
- Arrange the strawberries on top of the pastry cream, starting from the outer edge and working your way towards the centre.
- Glaze: In a small saucepan, whisk the juice and cornstarch together. Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until the glaze has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.