Summer is the time for all things strawberry, and here in Hamburg – although the weather is wet and rainy – these sweet fruits have finally made their return. Sure, you can find strawberries all year-round, but there is nothing like the real, tasty, red, sweet in-season strawberry. And, we are lucky that strawberry season’s just beginning.
Crème pâtissière, also known as pastry cream or ‘crème pat’, is a rich vanilla cream, thickened with flour. It is an essential ingredient in many French recipes such as fruit tarts and mille-feuille. I changed the recipe a bit and I use grape sugar instead of normal sugar for both, the shortcrust and the crème. It works perfectly and is absolutly fructosefriendly.
I have these great tartelette push pans with non-stick coating. It’s so easy to bake tartelettes or savory quiche in them. You can also prebake your tartelettes and keep them in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks!
Shortcrust pastry topped with crème pâtissière and fresh strawberries
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the cold butter straight from the fridge into the flour and rub in the mixture. Add the sugar, mix together the eggs and egg yolk, and add to the mixture. Gently mix with a dough scraper or with your hands until the dough comes together in a ball. Lightly flour your work surface, tip the pastry ball onto it, and knead with your hands until you have a smooth dough. Wrap it in clingfilm and let it rest in your fridge for at least 1 hour.
For the shortcrust pastry, preheat the oven to 190C°. I have baking tins which don't need greasing if you don't, then lightly grease and flour your tins.
Remove the shortcrust pastry from the fridge and flour your work surface. Roll out the pastry 2-3mm thick and line the 10-12 tins, leaving an overhang of pastry. Prick the bottoms of your pastry with a fork a few times. Place some greaseproof paper on top and fill with baking beans. Now place the pastry tins in your oven and cook for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes remove baking paper and baking beans and leave pastry tins for another 8 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Afterwards trim the edges and lift out onto a cooling rack.
For the crème patissière, place the milk, vanilla seeds and pods into a saucepan and warm up. Place the egg yolks, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl and whisk with a mixer until the colour changes and becomes pale. Slowly add the warm milk and vanilla (not the pods) to the egg mixture, whisk together, then return the mixture to the pan. Cook on a low heat until it the mixture thickens, then pour into a clean bowl. Place a circle of baking parchment on the mixture, to stop a skin forming.
Once the creme patissière is cold spoon it in a piping bag, and pipe into the pastry cases. Top the tarts with slices of strawberries. To serve dust with grape sugar and garnish with mint.