Strawberry Tart

Image of a bowl of strawberries

Cor, look! We’ve had a bumper crop of strawberries this year and it’s been way too hot to make jam, so with friends coming for supper I made a strawberry tart. Few things look more lusciously edible but I have to say I’m not a huge fan of crème pât, Great British Bake Off notwithstanding. The contestants seem to bathe in the stuff. This tart has a much quicker and easier filling and one that I think is nicer to eat. 

You can use pre-bought dessert pastry if you like, but the lemon thyme-infused tart case (an idea I pinched from Pascal Aussignac, though not his recipe) doesn’t take long to make and bake. You can, if you wish, do it in advance and once it’s cold, store it in an airtight container for a couple of days. The pastry is quite delicate so it’s best left in its tin.

And although you can glaze the fruit with sieved, runny strawberry jam or redcurrant jelly, it’s not essential. I felt mine were moist and shiny enough after their sugary marinade.

Strawberry Tart

Image of strawberry tart

Ingredients for the pastry:

250g plain flour

125g cold butter, cut into small cubes

50g icing sugar, sifted

1 large egg, beaten

Up to 2 tspn milk

Small bunch of lemon thyme, leaves picked (about 1 tbsp)

For the filling:

250g marscapone

Up to 200g crème fraîche

50g caster sugar

The zest of 1/2 lemon

About 400g strawberries, hulled

2 tbsp caster sugar

Method:

Put the marscapone in a bowl and add half of the crème fraîche. Stir together and check the texture: it should be of a thick dropping consistency, like softly whipped cream but denser. Some crème fraîche brands are sloppier than others (Tesco, I’m thinking of you).

Add more crème fraîche until you’re happy with it. Stir in 50g of caster sugar and the lemon zest and chill in the fridge until needed.

Hull the strawberries, put them in a bowl and toss them with two tbsp of caster sugar. Cover and set aside to macerate for a couple of hours.

Image of macerated strawberries

To make the pastry, whizz the flour and butter in a food processor (or rub between your fingertips) until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar and thyme leaves and whizz again briefly. Pour in the egg and pulse (or cut in with a blunt knife) just until the pastry comes together in a ball. One large egg should be enough, but if not, add the milk a teaspoonful at a time.

Dust a work surface lightly with flour and gently press the pastry into a flattened disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. On a lightly floured board, roll out the pastry to 1/2 cm thick, drape it over your rolling pin and ease it gently into a 23cm flan tin, the sort with a removable base.

Chill again for 15 minutes, then prick the base with a fork and trim the edges. Any leftover pastry can be used for smaller tarts or just popped into the freezer.

Image of tart case being trimmed

Crumple up some grease-proof paper, unravel it and use it to line the pastry case, pushing it gently into the nooks and crannies. Fill with dry rice or baking beans and bake for 10 minutes.

Take it out, carefully remove the hot beans and paper and place the tart case back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until it’s dry and a bit biscuity-looking. Remove and allow to cool in the tin.

Image of blind-baked tart caseJust before you want to eat, spread a generous layer of the cream mixture in the tart case (removed from its tin by now of course), then arrange the strawberries on top, pointy side up.

Drizzle with any syrup left in the strawberry bowl, garnish if you like with a few flowers or tender tips of lemon thyme, and dig in.

Image of strawberry tart

20 thoughts on “Strawberry Tart

    • Oh, I missed that, sorry …but I’m sure you’re being modest, your recipes are always lovely. The hint of lemon thyme here is subtle but really attractive, I think, thanks. Lx

  1. Lovely! Totally agree about the creme pat, or crime pat as autocorrect has put it. This is a great alternative.

    • That made me laugh out loud! CP can be good in the right hands (and revoltingly claggy in the wrong ones) but this is quicker, easier and I prefer it. Thanks, Linda x

  2. lucky friends + now the weather is cooler and there is no excuse to bring out that preserving pan though: I have been experimenting with sous vide jams lately (from chef steps) and they are really nice; otherwise I stick to the old marguerite patten/delia/cordon bleu/ferber approach.
    what is it that u don’t like about creme pat? check the dorie greenspan’s version: it has a lovely buttery finish and it feels light
    + your mascarpone and creme fraiche filling is very good: we used something similar to make whim-whams when we had the restaurant & I also used it to make coeur a la creme (with macerated straws), ciao, stefano

    • I do like a good strawberry preserve … I usually do a conserve with plenty of whole fruit in it (Mrs Portly passim) and as you know haven’t yet dipped a toe into sous vide waters. Re creme pat, it’s fine if it’s made well (though it often isn’t) but I like this filling for its speed and easiness … no standing over the stove on a hot day. On the whole I prefer the marscapone version. Love the sound of your coeur a la creme. Bet they looked enchanting. Lx

  3. Scrumptious! I have managed to master a few vegetables on the allotment but my fruit efforts haven’t gone much beyond rhubarb so far. Last year the slugs feasted on all the strawberries. This looks delicious.

  4. Now that looks good. As I read the title, I thought it would mean cooking the strawberries, which would have been a no-no for me. But this looks highly edible, especially with the thyme infused pas.try

  5. Lovely. There’s nothing more delicious than strawberries with the sweet creaminess of mascarpone. Yum. I’m with you of the creme pat, not worth the faffing about. I have been known to whizz thick cornflour vanilla custard with whipped cream, it makes a reasonable substitute.

  6. I don’t have a terribly sweet tooth, but when I do indulge it is more likely to be a fruit tart than anything else. And this one looks particularly appetizing. I especially love the touch of lemon thyme.

    • Thanks, Frank. I don’t have a sweet tooth either … I like this tart because it’s not at all sickly and the fruit retains its freshness. I’d love to be able to take credit for the lemon thyme, but as stated, I borrowed the idea from a professional patissier. It’s subtle but detectable, I think. Best wishes, Linda.

    • Sadly, ours are over now too. That tart was their last hurrah. They’re still available in the shops here, though many vendors frown upon you sampling them first to see if they actually taste of anything. 😦

  7. Yum! One of the market vendors we usually haunt on our saturday market trips has taken to growing “old” cultivars of various yummies, and one of the reasons we actually look forward to the end of the strawberry season each year is his “blood strawberry” crop. Ridiculously intense and… well, blood red, they’re at their best once the “common strawberries” have cleared the arena. Due to their intensity, they don’t play well with a lot of other ingredients, so a tarte like yours sounds like the perfect.place for them to end up in! Especially the lemon and thyme might take them to a whole new level~! This is definitely on my to-do list for the weekend. I hope the good man still has some this saturday… fingers crossed 🙂

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