Mini Strawberry Tarts

Here is another good way to use fresh strawberies besides the usual smoothies. It is much easier to do than apple pie. If you do not have individual flan pans, you can make this into one big fruit tart, and mangoes are good substitutes for strawberries too.

Forgive the quality of my photo, I really suck at taking pictures..

with french pastry cream

For the pastry (Pate Sucree):
4 oz all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 oz caster or superfine sugar
2 oz butter, softened
2 egg yolks (or use a whole egg, as I did)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Filling (pastry cream):
3 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c milk

1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 tsp water

Make the pastry: Sift the flour and salt into a pile on a flat surface and make a well in the middle. Add the sugar, butter, eggyolks and vanilla extract. Work the sugar mixture together then gradually work in the flour to give a smooth pliable dough. Form into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in foil and chill for about half an hour.

Roll out the pastry and use to line four individual flan molds 4 – 41/2 inches (10-11cm) in diameter. Prick bases with fork tines and bake blind* in the oven for about 15 minutes; remove the weights, then return to the oven for about 5 minutes more to dry out and turn golden brown. Set aside to cool.

To make the pastry cream: In a bowl, whisk yolk with sugar, flour, cornstarch. Bring milk to a boil in a saucepan over low heat. Add a little of the hot milk to the yolk mixture totemper it and gradually add the egg yolk mixture into the rest of the simmering milk in the pot, keep stirring to prevent clumps from forming until it boils and simmer for another minute or until the mixture thickens. Transfer into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Spoon the cold pastry cream into the baked pastry shell. Smooth the surface with a small offset spatula. Cover with plastic again till ready to garnish with strawberries.

Complete the Tart: Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries. Cut the berries in half lengthwise and arrange strawberries in circles or whichever way you prefer.

Combine the apricot preserves with water in a microwable bowl and heat in microwave for about half a minute on medium power or cook in a saucepan over direct heat until bubbly. Pass through a strainer and gently brush on strawberries. Serve immediately, This is best eaten the same day it’s made but leftovers will do well in the fridge for up to 3 days covered with plastic wrap.

*How to blind bake: Cover top of prepared pastry with aluminum (greased), mold it into the tartlet pan. Fill with dried beans( this will prevent the dough from rising while baking) and place the tartlet pans in cookie sheet for easier handling. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, remove aluminum foil with beans and put the pastry back in the oven to brown.

Happy Baking!


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