My favourite treat when I am in France are the little strawberry tarts that are in all the superbarkets and bakeries. Here is my version, this is a sharing tart using a fluted 20cm loose bottomed tin.
Pre Heat Oven to 190 degrees
Pate Sucre (sweet pastry)
200g Plain flour
115g cold cubed butter
50g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 beaten egg
Place the flour and butter into a bowl and using finger tips rub the butter in until it all resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and stir through. Add the egg and vanilla and mix in with a flat bladed knife until a dough is formed. Wrap in film and chill in the fridge for about half an hour.
Remove from the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Place in the greased tin and press firmly to the bottom and sides. Run a rolling pin over the top to trim off the excess. Place in freezer to chill for about ten minutes.
Remove from freezer, lay a sheet of greaseproof onto the pastry and fill with baking beans. Cook for 15 minutes then remove paper and beans and cook for a furthur five minutes. Remove from the oven to cool.
Custard (Creme pattisserie)
30g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
1tsp vanilla paste
100g white chocolate
Whisk together the sugar, cornflour,egg yolk and vanilla in a heatproof bowl. warm the milk to almost boiling. Pour the milk on to the egg mixture whisking all the time. Return the custard to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring all the time until the custard is very thick. Add the chocolate and stir in. Leave to cool.
300ml Double Cream
1 Tbs icing sugar
Whip the cream with electric mixer until soft peaks are formed, add the icing sugar and whisk a few seconds more.
Fill the pastry shell with the cooled custard. Using about 400g strawberries sliced in half vertically cover the top of the custard leaving a margin of about two cenimetres around the edge. Using a piping bag and nozzle or just a spoon fill the margin with the cream. Using a little apricot jam mixed with hot water, brush the strawberries, this will make them shiny and special. scatter flaked toasted almonds on the cream.