Strawberry tart the French way
If you bake a ready-made shortcrust pastry this delicious tart is quick to prepare and perfect for showing off at an afternoon tea. The beautifully creamy, ultra simple vanilla creme patissière and sweet, glossy finish will make your guests think you are either an unequalled pastry Goddess or you are sneakily passing a tart bought in a bakery as your own. Just leave a dramatic mess in the kitchen, then all the glory will be yours...

Strawberry tart the French way

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Recipe by: generations of French bakers and home cooks
Busy:30 min, Total prep time: 30 min
Serves: 6 
This recipe is sized for a round 25 cm tart dish.

Prepare the tart crust:

Pre-heat your oven at 200 degree C.

Carefully unroll the shortcrust pastry. If you have a loose base tart dish, place the pastry directly onto the dish. If your dish is basic, like mine, line it with baking paper before covering it with the shortcrust pastry (don't worry about the paper folding on the edges, it will give a nice rustic look to the tart, see my pic above). The baking paper will make it easy to take the baked crust out of the dish without breaking it.

With a fork, pierce a few holes across the pastry. This will reduce the risk of hot air bubbles forming under the crust while it is baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 mins or until golden on the edges. Check regularly your oven for air bubbles forming under the pastry. If you see one forming, pierce it with a fork. More traditionally, you can fill your pastry with dried beans before baking it to avoid bubbles from forming, but I can’t be bothered with the hassle. A bit of care during baking is all it takes, really.

When ready, take out of the oven and reserve. Unmould carefully once it has cooled down

Prepare the crème patissière (while the crust is baking):

Heat the milk and vanilla extract in a saucepan until boiling point. if you are using the 1/2 vanilla pod instead, slit the pod lengthwise and scrape the tiny seeds. Heat the milk with the seeds and pod, and remove the latter before pouring.

Beat the egg with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks really smooth and falls into ribbons (this basically means that a ribbon-like strip will rest on top of the egg mixture when you drop a dollop of it from your whisk or fork)

Add the flour and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour the boiling milk onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the liquid starts boiling, remove from the heat. Keep stirring for one minute, the crème will keep thickening in the saucepan.

Pour the crème into the baked tart crust.

...and for the ultra-sexy finish:

Wash and cut the stem off the strawberries, and cut them in half lengthways, keeping one strawberry whole to place at the center of the tart.

Wipe the strawberries dry with a paper towel and place in concentric circles on the tart, starting with the edge, cut side down, each strawberry half slightly overlapping its neighbour.

In a small bowl, mix the jam with a teaspoon of water and heat for 20 seconds in your microwave. I indicated raspberry jam here but any jam that is smooth and not too dark will do. Smooth apricot jam, for instance, works very well.

Gently brush the mixture over the strawberries to give the tart that lovely, glossy finish.

C’est prêt!

This recipe is sized for a round 25 cm tart dish.

Prepare the tart crust:

Pre-heat your oven at 200 degree C.

Carefully unroll the shortcrust pastry. If you have a loose base tart dish, place the pastry directly onto the dish. If your dish is basic, like mine, line it with baking paper before covering it with the shortcrust pastry (don’t worry about the paper folding on the edges, it will give a nice rustic look to the tart, see my pic above). The baking paper will make it easy to take the baked crust out of the dish without breaking it.

With a fork, pierce a few holes across the pastry. This will reduce the risk of hot air bubbles forming under the crust while it is baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 mins or until golden on the edges. Check regularly your oven for air bubbles forming under the pastry. If you see one forming, pierce it with a fork. More traditionally, you can fill your pastry with dried beans before baking it to avoid bubbles from forming, but I can’t be bothered with the hassle. A bit of care during baking is all it takes, really.

When ready, take out of the oven and reserve. Unmould carefully once it has cooled down

Prepare the crème patissière (while the crust is baking):

Heat the milk and vanilla extract in a saucepan until boiling point. if you are using the 1/2 vanilla pod instead, slit the pod lengthwise and scrape the tiny seeds. Heat the milk with the seeds and pod, and remove the latter before pouring.

Beat the egg with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks really smooth and falls into ribbons (this basically means that a ribbon-like strip will rest on top of the egg mixture when you drop a dollop of it from your whisk or fork)

Add the flour and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour the boiling milk onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the liquid starts boiling, remove from the heat. Keep stirring for one minute, the crème will keep thickening in the saucepan.

Pour the crème into the baked tart crust.

…and for the ultra-sexy finish:

Wash and cut the stem off the strawberries, and cut them in half lengthways, keeping one strawberry whole to place at the center of the tart.

Wipe the strawberries dry with a paper towel and place in concentric circles on the tart, starting with the edge, cut side down, each strawberry half slightly overlapping its neighbour.

In a small bowl, mix the jam with a teaspoon of water and heat for 20 seconds in your microwave. I indicated raspberry jam here but any jam that is smooth and not too dark will do. Smooth apricot jam, for instance, works very well.

Gently brush the mixture over the strawberries to give the tart that lovely, glossy finish.

C’est prêt!

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Rating: 4.7/5 (7 votes cast)
Strawberry tart the French way, 4.7 out of 5 based on 7 ratings
I always keep pre-rolled shortcrust pastry in the freezer, it is so practical for whizzing up quick tarts or quiches. When I have more time I do my own pastry, I will share my ancient family recipe with you soon!
Ingredients

1 round pre-rolled short crust pastry
250 ml milk
1 egg
30 g flour
40 g sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla pod for enhanced flavour)
500 g even-sized strawberries
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

5 Comments to “Strawberry tart the French way”

  • Penny

    April 30th, 2010 at 11:53 am


    LOVE this recipe! So simple and really has the wow factor – and can be knocked up super fast too.

    Need to get hold of a pastry brush as have been having to spoon the jam over the strawberries, so it’s been looking a bit ‘homemade’..!

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  • Wendy Gould

    June 4th, 2010 at 1:29 pm


    Sounds great! For an even quicker result with less trouble, I see Sainsbury’s now stock a redy-to-use crème patissière! With ready-made pastry it is a quick, easy and impressive dessert for a musy person.

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    Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)
  • Anne-Laure

    June 4th, 2010 at 4:19 pm


    Hi Wendy, yes, that could do the trick too. If you have the extra 5 minutes though, do your own. Nothing beats homemade creme patissiere, and this particular recipe is super quick and simple!

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  • Lucie

    June 13th, 2010 at 8:57 am


    The creme patisserie set and looked great but following morning the tart looked watery? Why is this?

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  • Anne-Laure

    June 14th, 2010 at 11:30 am


    Hi Lucie,

    mmmh, it may be that the moisture of the creme made the crust watery over time? If that is the case, a good way to prevent this is to bush the inside of the crust with a beaten egg before baking it. This will “waterproof” it. You usually don’t need to do this if the tart is consumed within the day it was made. Let me know if this addresses your problem! Anne-Laure

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