Is it too late to do a Mother’s Day post, I wonder? I suppose not, if you consider every day to be a dedication to your loved ones 🙂 And yet, isn’t it fun to do something special, on a special day, for a special someone? I for one, love these ‘love anecdotes’; there’s so much satisfaction in surprising your dear ones with something, be it a gift, a surprise trip or good food!! So that’s what I did, and whipped up a special meal for Mom over the weekend…..of which, the star was this absolutely sinful, gorgeous and yet, insanely simple Strawberry & Cream Tart!!
I know I don’t bake much; blame it on my crazy work life; but when I do, I tell myself it has to be something spectacular. Not that I consider my baking skills to be so, nor my skills of decorating or piping, but hey, at least there’s no compromise when it comes to taste!
I was, at first, torn between baking a cake, or trying something different. I won this wonderful book by Rachel Khoo which holds a superb Strawberries & Cream Cake. Alas, no fresh strawberries here, not in this heat at least. And I couldn’t possibly procure them from some far-away destination, nor do we get groceries delivered at home where I live (from online portals I mean). So my next best option was to use strawberry jam, or strawberry pulp/coulis, obviously, store-bought. Luckily, a friend of mine gifted me with various pie fillings; blueberry, strawberry, kiwi, mango. And thus was born my plan for this really lush dessert, the Strawberry & Cream Tart, incorporating a flaky shortcrust pastry, strawberry creme patisserie, strawberry coulis and whipped cream! Ta-daaaaaa…
It was a bit daunting to select the right recipe for the tart itself; there are so many varieties and each of them seem perfect. After much deliberation, I decided to choose a shortcrust pastry, one that I had already made some months back. It was super flaky, buttery, and sturdy enough to hold the filling overnight (PHEW!! I was so afraid it would turn soggy and break into pieces when cut), and best part, Mom and Dad loved it!!! Mission successful 😀
Strawberry & Cream Tart
- Pasta Frolla/Shortcrust Pastry Base/ – 1 portion, recipe here
For the Strawberry Pastry Creme (Crème Pâtissière):
- Milk – 500 ml
- Egg Yolks – 4 large
- Sugar – 130 gm (adjust as per preference)
- Cornstarch/Corn flour – 30 gm (2 tbsp) or use strawberry/vanilla flavoured custard powder
- Strawberry pie filling – 200 gm
For the Whipped Cream:
- Whipping Cream/Double Cream (at least 33% fat) – 200 ml/1 cup (I used Non Dairy Whipping Cream, Rich’s)
- Icing sugar – 2 to 3 tbsp (adjust if whipping cream is already sweet)
- Strawberry extract – a few drops, optional
- Pink food colour
- Strawberry crush – 3 to 4 tbsp
- To make the tart base, follow the recipe given here.
- Let the base cool completely. If refrigerating, wrap in shrink wrap and keep inside the fridge.
- To make the Crem Pat, start by boiling the milk in a saucepan, with 1/2 the sugar.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and keep aside.
- Once the milk comes to a full boil, switch off heat.
- Now slowly, in a steady drip, pour the milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. (don’t pour the entire hot milk in the eggs or you’ll end up scrambled eggs).
- When the eggs and milk have been whisked fully, tip it back into the saucepan and place it over heat, letting it simmer.
- Mix the cornflour with the strawberry filling/puree/coulis, and pour it in the custard.
- Whisk constantly, until the milk mixture has thickened, and coats the back of a spoon. (It should be thick and gloopy but smooth).
- Pour the creme pat into a bowl, and let it cool to room temp.
- Line the top with plastic wrap, ensuring that the wrap touches the top of the custard, to avoid forming a film, and refrigerate overnight or until use.
- To assemble the tart, place the tart shell on the serving platter.
- Brush a generous heaping of strawberry pie filling on the bottom.
- Next spoon in the creme pat and fill the tart generously.
- Tap the plate gently to let the filling settle.
- Lastly, divide the whipping cream in two halves and add pink food colour to one half, and pipe both on top in a design of your choice.
- Serve cold.