Monday, July 23, 2012

Strawberry Cream Tart

You know when you make the same thing so many times that the recipe gradually and unconsciously changes over time? I once discovered a great custard recipe and have been making it ever since. I made it so many times that I knew the recipe off the top of my head and discarded the hard copy. Eventually the custard turned out slightly odd, with a real corn flour taste and still not quite as thick as I swear it used to be. Time to go back and find the recipe, or time to try something new? When I saw this strawberry cream tart recipe from Cathy's blog Wives With Knives, I thought "try something new", just to shake things up in my world of custard. Custard has long been a favourite of mine. Occasionally I'll be seen buying a litre of it just to have on it's own. I preferred home made custard of course, until my cornflour dilemma.
And strawberries, please don't get me started! They're my favourite berry and come with so many childhood memories. I think I previously mentioned how my brother and I used to thieve them with our grotty little hands from the old lady's garden next door when we were kids. Seeing as I don't have any blind grannies living next door anymore, with loads of fat strawberries glaring at me through the crack in the fence, hubby comes home from the Brisbane markets with them instead. Legally obtained ones, of course.
Usually my two year old son gets to them first though, and has been known to scoff down a punnet in a sitting. Good thing they're high in vitamin C. When I think of that fact, I don't mind how many he eats.
So. Strawberries and custard, in a tart. How much better can it get? Oh wait! It's topped with strawberry jam as well. Delicious. And it's such a fancy looking yet simple dessert, and contains less sugar than my usual sweet morsels.
I added some lychee liqueur to the custard in my version of this tart, just to give it a more fruity, tropical twist. The smell is divine and the texture and taste just fabulous. The custard holds together beautifully, so if you go for the whole large tart instead of the smaller version, have no fear that it's going to squish everywhere out the sides when you cut it, as it chills nice and firm. The pastry case is particularly impressive too, resembling a (less crumbly) uncooked shortbread in the dough stage, and a nice, sturdy, crisp and sweet shell in the end. I will be keeping this recipe for other invented recipes, as you could fill these great pastry cases with anything from fruit to mousse, jelly or cheesecake! Don't forget to check out more delicious recipes from this months Secret Recipe Club reveal, and head over to Wives With Knives for the original recipe, which is a whole tart instead of my little individual ones. Bon appetit!

STRAWBERRY CREAM TART (Adapted from Wives With Knives)

Patisserie Creme:

2 cups milk
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp. corn flour
1 heaped tsp. butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp lychee liqueur 


3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
1 3/4 cup plain flour
pinch salt


12 strawberries, fanned (see directions below)
 3 tbsp strawberry jam to glaze

To make the patisserie creme, place the milk in a saucepan over high heat until boiling. Meanwhile, beat the yolks and sugar in a bowl on medium high until it is light yellow and falls into the bowl as a ribbon, after about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla essence. On a low speed, beat in the corn flour until well combined. Once the milk has boiled, remove from heat and, with the beaters running on low, pour the milk into the egg mixture. Combine. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat. Lower the heat to medium and stir continuously with a whisk until the mixture is thick and the corn flour is cooked, after about 8 minutes. Bring this custard to the boil and cook, whisking for another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Stir in butter, vanilla and liqueur. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
To make the pastry, preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the butter and sugar in a medium bowl and beat until just combined. Add the vanilla.Sift the flour and salt over the top of the butter mixture. Beat until a dough begins to form.
With a light hand, gently combine the mixture and form into 12 rough ball shapes, all of equal size. Place each ball inside the holes of a regular sized, 12 hole muffins tray. If you are using a regular muffin tray, ensure it is well greased.
Press the dough into the holes and up the sides to make pastry cases. Make sure the dough is pressed evenly around the sides and bottom. Place the tray in the refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile cut out 12 squares of non stick baking paper to fit inside the muffin tray holes. Place these papers inside each hole on top of the chilled pastry. Use pastry weights or rice over each paper to ensure the pastry does not rise in the first faze of cooking. Place the tray into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and gently remove the papers and their weights. Poke a few holes in the pastry bases using a fork. Return the pastry cases to the oven and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, or until golden and crisp looking. Cool in the tray, then remove and place on a cooling rack.
Fill each case with the patisserie creme. You can simply spoon it in or pipe it in for a prettier effect, as the creme is quite thick. Top with a fanned strawberry, and brush with jam to glaze. Serve with cream, if desired.

Making a fanned strawberry garnish:

 Lay the strawberry on a flat surface. Working from about a cm from the green stalk, cut a series of thin slices through the strawberry in a vertical motion from one side to the next. Take the strawberry and gently urge the slices apart in a fan motion. Voila!

NOTES: You can substitute the lychee liqueur for any desired flavouring, however, the intensity of flavourings differ, so add only a little at a time until you reach the desired strength. 1 tsp of cognac or brandy is a good substitute. If you are not using a silicone muffin tray, ensure the tray is well greased before placing the pastry inside the holes. You can also make this as one whole tart, by pressing the dough into a 10 inch round or 9 inch square false bottom tart pan. If you are using rice as a pastry weight, you can keep this and reuse this, as it will be unaffected by the heat.



  1. This looks delicious! And the presentation is stunning! Great SRC pick!

  2. What stunning tarts, Louise! I think group C has the most amazing blogs! I was so lucky to get yours this month...and I hope to get Cathy one time soon :) Have a great week~

  3. Your photo's made me smile so very much! How much fun did you have snapping your delicate and beautiful culinary creations?!! Lovely, lovely, lovely.

  4. From a fellow SRC participant, I love your variation of the original tart. The fanning of the strawberries is absolutely gorgeous, too. I may have to use that technique some time soon ;)

    And I previously had Wives with Knives, isn't her blog great?! She has so many wonderful looking recipes.

    Glad to be in group C with you!

  5. These photos are breathtaking!!! This looks amazing Louise!

  6. Isn't Cathy's blog amazing? Your tarts are beautiful!! The perfect dessert for a special meal. Great SRC choice.

  7. Beautiful! Just the perfect dessert. Looks delicious!

  8. Making little tarts instead of one large one is a wonderful idea and one that I will use before our strawberry season is over. A bit of fruit liqueur in the custard is another excellent idea. I'm happy you enjoyed the recipe.

  9. What an awesome appetizer! I love things like this, I'll have to save this for my next party!

  10. Wow, these tarts are gorgeous! Love them - the perfect way to enjoy summer strawberries.

  11. This would be well worth stealing strawberries for. :)

  12. I have to agree, i'd steal some strawberries for these! And your custard looks absolutely perfect!

  13. Yours strawberry tarts look amazing!!

  14. They look so pretty and delish! Thanks for sharing, love your blog design =]

  15. all you fellow SRC members are such darlings! thanks for the lovely comments and for viewing my reveal. I had so much fun making and photographing this recipe, and Cathy has a fab blog. must check it out!

  16. These look amazing!! And your description is making my mouth water at 8am in the morning! lol. Awesome choice for SRC!

  17. Eee! I love these! So cute and little! Well done for sure :)


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