Not that you would know it looking outside but we are in the middle of summer, we should be outside enjoying picnics, lazy sundays in the park but instead im carrying an umbrella everywhere and getting annoyed by the constant humidity. As im not enjoying the weather the least I can do is enjoys the seasons fruits, especially my favourite – strawberries. The filling for this tart is a pastry cream lightened with whipped cream (this is called a creme legere) but its a little different. Instead of using milk as the basis of the pastry cream, I use a mix of strawberry puree, lemon and orange juice and is finished with a little pimms (or if you can get it Sipsmith Summer Cup – its a beautiful drink). The tart was an idea based on Wimbledon which finishes this weekend, its the classic mix of strawberries and cream synonomous with British tennis so if you are watching the final this weekend, hoping that Murray will finally secure a Wimbledon title for Britain then this recipe is perfect.
Summer Sunshine Tarts
275g plain flour
25g ground almonds
50g icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
175g unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp ice cold water
Strawberry Creme Legere
1 large egg yolk
50g caster sugar
5g plain flour
250ml fruit juice – I use 1/2 lemon 1/2 orange and about 200ml strawberries
2 tbsp pimms or sipsmith summer cup
150ml double cream
450g strawberries to finish the tarts
For the pastry place the flour, almonds, icing sugar, salt and seeds from the vanilla pod into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles uneven breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk and water together and add to the mixer and pulse to combine, but don’t over process you don’t want it to form a solid dough at this point. Tip the mixture out onto the worksurface and gently knead to form a uniform dough. Flatten into a disc and wrap in clinglfilm and refrigerate for an hour before using.
While the pastry is chilling make the filling. Place the egg yolk, sugar, plain flour and cornflour into a medium heatproof bowl and whisk to form a thick paste. Place the fruit juices in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Pour the juices over the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Pour the custard mixture back into the pan and place the pan back over the heat and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil then cook a further few minutes. This pastry cream should be very thick. Place the pastry cream into a bowl and press a piece of clingfilm onto the surface and refrigerate until cool.
For the tarts roll the pastry 2-3mm thick and cut out five discs of pastry big enough to line individual tart tins. Gently press the pastry into the tart tins trimming off any excess. Chill the lined tart tins in the fridge for half an hour or until firm. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line each tart shell with a piece of foil and fill with either baking beans or rice and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and the rice or beans. Place back in the oven and bake for a further 1o minutes or until the pastry is golden.
To assemble the tarts take the chilled pastry cream from the fridge and beat with a whisk to loosen. In a separate bowl whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks then combine with the pastry cream. Divide this mixture between the tart cases and top with strawberries, a dusting of icing sugar and a little fresh mint. The tarts will be fine for a couple of hours but as they sit out the pastry will begin to soften so don’t wait too long to enjoy.