French Strawberry Tart

I had bought a load of strawberries from a farm in Galston. Unfortunately, unlike last year, the berries this year were not as sweet, and they were sitting in my fridge and looking at me. My friend H had inspired me by talking about craving a “good old fashioned American style blueberry pie” – so let’s make a strawberry pie! I wanted something that showed off the freshness of the berries rather than something that could have been made from frozen fruit.

SBS offered a French style strawberry tart, which they had published during the Tour de France coverage on tv.

Ingredients
Pastry
800g strawberries, washed, hulled and halved

Chantilly Cream
Double Cream
2 tbsp Buttermilk
1 tbs Contreau
2 tbs icing sugar

I made (plain) shortcrust pastry from Stephanie Alexander’s Recipe. However I substituted half of the plain flour with wholemeal spelt flour. This made the pastry very ‘short’, and it didn’t want to stick together. I think the wholemeal spelt absorbs more moisture than plain flour.

Short crust pastry

The strawberries I mixed with a strawberry sugar syrup I had made earlier for my fruit punch, and set aside overnight in the fridge.

Lightly macerated strawberries

I used double cream as the basis of my chantilly cream. Everything in the supermarket was owned by either Fonterra (New Zealand) or National Foods (Kirin/Japanese). Chobani (American) had even bought out Gippsland Dairy. ARGH. The ONLY Australian owned cream I could find was by Bulla.

I added two tablespoons of buttermilk, gently mixed, and then 1 tablespoon of Pedro Ximenez (PX), because I didn’t have any contrieu. It turned slightly tan in colour. Leave overnight in the fridge.

Just before serving, spread the base of the tart with the cream, and then top with the strawberries. Try not to gasp in horror was the whole thing shatters when you cut it for serving. Now it looks like a messy trifle rather than a French strawberry tart.

French strawberry tart

Verdict?
Yum! This is a grown up version of strawberries and cream. The pastry is a little dry but offsets the cream and strawberries. The strawberries have been improved by the sugar syrup, but the freshness of the strawberries has really been shown off by the simplicity of the recipe.

Next time?
If I remade the pastry with the spelt flour (and I have a little left), rather than making a large pastry casing, I would probably make individual pastry “discs” for serving. French Strawberry tart hors’ de’ vours.

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