Monday, December 08, 2008

Strawberry Tart with Crème Pâtissière

Strawberry season certainly rocks. With this deliciously seductive fruit in season in New Zealand now, we can't resist buying one pack after another, especially when they look so lusciously sweet and affordable. And of course, we have no more excuse not to make some strawberry dessert.

In Singapore, strawberries are not only pricey, they are also seldom sweet, being all imported and probably harvested before they are ready to be eaten to endure the long journey.

Originally torn between making a Strawberry Tart or a Strawberry Charlotte, Rémi couldn't wait to sink his mouth into his dessert and opted to make a tart (you need to chill a charlotte for at least a few hours).

French Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière) is used to line the sweet tart. To Rémi, the difference between a good pastry and a lousy pastry can be judged by the amount of cream used in the tart. Stingy pastry makers who are out to cut cost tend to use more cream than fruits.

Our cream recipe comes from Camille's classic French cookbook again. In her dessert section, she carries several types of dessert cream and sauces, including Crème Chantilly, Crème Anglaise, Coulis de Fruits Rouges, Sauce au Chocolat and Sauce au Caramel au Beurre Salé. Well, we shall see if we will try each and everyone of them.

French Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)
makes slightly more than one tart

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
15g flour
15g corn flour
65g sugar
25ml milk
vanilla essence

Bring milk with vanilla essence to boil, and let it stand for 10 minutes.

Whip the egg and yolk with the sugar until it has double in size and paled in colour. Then add the flour and corn flour, and add the warm milk gradually while continuing to whisk.

Put back onto fire and let the mixture thickened while beating continuously and strongly so that the cream does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and continue to whisk for 1 minute.

Strawberry Tart
Serves 4

1 sweet pastry dough (pâte sucrée)
enough strawberries to pack the size of your tart
strawberry jam

Make the sweet tart dough. Bake at preheated oven at 200C for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Make one portion of crème pâtissière. Spread on the cooked tart. Halved the strawberries and line them on top of the cream.

Dilute the jam lightly with some water and use it as a glaze over the strawberries. Chill before serving.

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