With summer in full swing (ha! what’s all this wet stuff coming from the sky?), the shops have ripe, red strawberries piled high and as you walk past their perfume lures you to take the inevitable detour and come home with a box full. Wimbledon is also in full swing and tennis fans will all be sipping Pimms and munching on overpriced but utterly delightful strawberries and cream while they wonder at the Williams sisters’ latest outfits, swoon over Nadal and appreciate the snazzy new roof. (And, of course, cheer for our guy Andy!)
So in that spirit I’ve decided to tart things up a bit with a classic French tarte aux fraises. I used Clotilde’s wonderful recipe for sweet pastry which requires no rolling out – you simply press the crumbs into the pan and bake. I then filled it with wickedly good crème diplomat (pâtisserie custard lightened with whipped cream) and juicy strawberries. I’d like to think my take on the Wimbledon tradition might taste a little better than the Tesco version but I’m still strangely tempted to try one!
Tarte aux fraises
Pastry recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier
For the pastry:
- 170g plain flour
- 85g sugar
- 85g butter
- a dash of milk
In a food processor mix together the flour, sugar and butter. With the processor running drizzle in enough milk to make damp crumbs that will hold together when pressed between your fingers.
Pour the pastry crumbs into a 25cm tart tin and press into the side and base with your hands.
Chill for 30 mins than bake for 20mins at 200°C. Allow to cool completely.
For the crème diplomat:
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 240ml milk
- 200ml double cream
- strawberries, halved
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla then beat in the cornflour.
Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium pan then pour it into the eggs whisking well. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over a low heat whisking all the time until it thickens into a custard.
Pour the custard back into the bowl and cover with cling film. Make sure the cling film touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Allow to cool then chill in the fridge.
Once the custard it chilled, whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the custard. Pour into the tart shell, smooth and arrange the halved strawberries on top of the tart in a pretty pattern. Chill until ready to serve.