These little tarts are a great recipe to have up your sleeve. Essentially, they’re a cheat version of the French pâtisserie classic, Tarte aux fraises, and are much more straightforward to prepare than the traditional recipe. They are brilliant for dinner parties and afternoon teas and are an easy way of making something quite impressive.
Using ground almonds in the pastry is a trick I learnt when I was living in Paris, and I think it makes a superb pastry to pair with strawberries. The almond flavour is subtle, and the texture is wonderful. The pastry is thicker than you might expect but beautifully light and melting.
The filling is also a lighter, easier version of crème pâtissiere. It’s less sweet and more tangy, and takes just minutes to make. Take care not to over-whisk. You don’t want the filling too thick and cloying.
English strawberries are starting to become available and will just get better over the coming weeks, so you’ll be able to enjoy these tarts with strawberries at their very best soon. As always, please let me know if you make these tarts. I love to hear your feedback. I’ve found people just adore them.
- For the pastry
- 150g plain flour
- 100g cold, salted butter
- 65g caster sugar
- 65g ground almonds
- 1 egg yolk
- For the filling
- 200g double cream
- 200g crème fraîche
- 4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- For the topping
- approximately 30 large strawberries, washed and hulled
- 4 tbsp redcurrant jelly, warmed or 2-3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
- Start by making the pastry. Place the flour into a food processor, add the butter and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and ground almonds and stir in. Finally, add the egg yolk and gently blitz to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough. This can be down by hand, by rubbing in the butter and gently stirring in the remaining ingredients using a metal knife, which will help to keep the pastry cool.
- Gather the pastry up to form a ball. Flatten and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for around 30 minutes, until firm.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. It is easiest to do this using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment fitted. Otherwise, it can be made using a large mixing bowl and a balloon whisk.
- Start by whipping the cream until very softly whipped. Add the crème fraîche, sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract. Whip until thick, but still soft. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Set aside a large baking tray and 8 individual flan tins, approximately 9-10cm in diameter.
- Now, remove the pastry from the fridge. Roll to 3-4 mm thick. Cut out large discs and line the tins. The pastry will be quite thick, but as it's so crumbly and light when baked, it needs to be thick to give the tarts some structure, and to hold the filling. Once lined, place the tarts onto a baking tray.
- Bake the pastry cases for around 12-15 minutes. They will puff a little, and will brown lightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Once the pastry cases are cool, remove from the tart tins. Fill with the creamy filling and top with strawberries. They can be placed whole on top of the filling, or sliced and slices layered on top - whatever you like.
- To finish, brush the strawberries with some warm redcurant jelly for a glossy finish, or dust with icing sugar for a simple finish. Serve cool and enjoy within 3 days.