It is a funny thing living in the 21st century, because I have been given the opportunity to finally start a blog. Yes, my very own blog. So what is so funny about living in this world? There is this crazy thing called the internet – a tool which allows people to share, show, and teach others about anything and everything – but I want to use Beyond Our Sky as an inspiration for people to appreciate the little things in life, and encourage them to follow their dreams. So here is my very first post; the recipe for a delicious strawberry tart.
The tart features a sweet, shortcrust pastry that is filled with a rich, crème patissiere and topped with fresh strawberries. It is best eaten a day after it’s made as it allows the pastry to, quite literally, melt in your mouth along with the vanilla bean infused custard.
Although these tarts may look elegant, they’re actually quite simple to make. The pastry starts off like most shortcrust pastries would, by rubbing the cold butter into the flour, adding an egg and mixing until a soft dough forms.
After that; the dough is refrigerated, then rolled out into the tin, and is put in the freezer – this ensures that the tart does not shrink whilst baking.
Finally, the pastry needs to be blind baked to prevent it from rising when it is in the oven and to create the perfect crust.
While the tart pastry is cooking, the next component can be made which is the crème patissiere . You simply mix the egg yolks with some sugar and cornflour, heat up the milk then temper the eggs. The cornflour acts as a thickening agent so when you boil it whilst whisking vigorously, a smooth yet thick custard will begin form.
My favourite part about this crème patissiere is the wonderful flavour you receive by infusing the milk with a vanilla bean, as it gives your house a beautiful aroma. I also love how you are able to see little flecks of the vanilla seeds.
Over the past three years of my cooking endeavours, I have honestly lost count of how many times I have made this. I’ve made it for family, friends, and for my French class at school (since a strawberry tart is French dessert), as well as in countless different sizes, whether it be one large one or four dainty tarts like the ones here.
Most of the time when I bring food to a family dinner, and even to friends, a lot of people ask me “Did you make it or did your mum make it?”, and my answer is usually along the lines of, “Yes I made it”. I understand why people are often surprised, but sometimes it is the best feeling seeing the shock on their faces and making them happy because the food, to them at least, tastes genuinely delicious. This is the main reason why I cook, as I am doing what I enjoy whilst others will also experience the same type of joy. After all, we shouldn’t feel restricted from doing what we love.
Even with a few years of experience up my sleeve and reading numerous other blogs, I still don’t know if I am doing this right. I am contemplating whether I have posted too many photos, or maybe not enough, and I am also questioning if my writing is somewhat relevant. I know this may not be the best, but it is only the first step to my, hopefully, very long journey.
Fresh Strawberry Tart
Recipe adapted from 9Kitchen.
Makes one 24cm tart or 4 x 8cm tarts.
- 1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
- ½ cup (80g) icing sugar mixture
- 125g cold butter chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (zest)
- 1 egg, beaten lightly
- 1 cup (250ml) cream
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- ½ cup (110g) caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup (50g) cornflour
- 80g butter, cold and chopped
- 500g strawberries, halved
- 1/3 cup strawberry jam, warmed, sieved
For the pastry:
- Sift the flour and icing sugar into a medium bowl. Rub in the butter then stir in the rind and egg; mix to a firm dough. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface until smooth, cover pastry with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll pastry between two sheets of baking paper until large enough to line a (24cm or 4 x 8cm) loose-based flan tin. Lift pastry into tin; press into side, trim edge. Cover, freeze pastry for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to moderately hot (200°C). Cover the pastry with baking paper, fill with dried beans or rice. Place the tin on an oven tray. Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 20 minutes. Remove paper and beans and reduce the oven temperature to moderately slow (160°C), bake about 15 minutes or until browned; cool (see notes for cooking times)
For the crème patissiere:
- For the creme patissiere, bring the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla bean to the boil in a medium saucepan.
- Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until pale then whisk in the sifted cornflour. Gradually whisk in warm milk mixture to temper the eggs.
- Return the mixture to the pan and stir over a medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Whisk for a further two minutes to activate the cornflour.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature.
Remove the tart shell from the tin and spread a generous amount of crème patissiere into the pastry case. Place the strawberries on top and brush with the warmed jam to give it some shine.
Refrigerate until ready to serve then serve and enjoy!
NOTES: If using a 24cm tin, then follow the cooking instructions. If using 8cm tins, then bake them at 200°C for 15 minutes (with beans) and at 160°C for 10 minutes (without beans).