Our birthday season has started and I am so happy we have got it in the Summer, not just because it is nicer to organise birthday parties, but also because it allows me to make fruit tarts for these birthdays! I love making them because I love eating them, they are just so lovely. These tarts are not sugar free, nor gluten free, nor dairy free,… You get the message, don’t you, they are not completely healthy, but still not too bad on the healthy food scale, especially for a festive occasion!
This time I made it to be a strawberry tart, but depending on who is having their birthday and depending on what fruits are at their bests, we just pick different fruits, or we even mix and match. This is not the standard birthday cake in the UK, I know, this is something we brought from Belgium. My grandmother was a very keen tart maker, she usually made them with at least three at a time, often 5 or 6! She was a true master and I got to watch her work and eat lots of them! She must have inspired me!
These are two other of the same type of fruit tart I made for previous birthdays, the only difference is the type of fruit. Sometimes we even have someone who rather doesn’t have the fruit at all! As you can see on the blackberry tart, it is easy to accommodate for that as well!
- 125 grams of soft butter (choose a type that gets quite hard when cold, that makes it easier to roll out the dough)
- 250 grams of flour
- 125 grams of caster sugar
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 35 grams of plain white flour
- 3 egg yolks
- 350 ml milk
- 30 grams of caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 grams of thick Greek yoghurt
400 grams of strawberries
For the shortcrust pastry:
- Mix the flour, the sugar and the salt.
- Add the butter in little cubes and mix under the flour with your hands. Squeeze the butter with your hands and mix everything until you get a crumbly mixture.
- Then add the egg and the vanilla extract. Continue to mix and knead until you have one ball of dough nicely sticking together.
- Wrap the dough in clingy foil and put in the fridge for a few hours. This allows the butter to firm up again and the gluten to do their work as well. The gluten will help the dough to stick together well, which is very handy when you will be rolling out the dough.
- After a few hours, take a baking mat and sprinkle some flour over it. Take the dough out of the fridge, place it on the baking mat and sprinkle some flour over the dough as well. With your hand rub some flour over the rolling pin as well.
- Now start to roll the dough out, but only push the rolling pin very gently and turn over the dough a few times while you can. This is to prevent the dough sticking to the baking mat. Continue to roll out the dough until it is big enough to fit your baking tin.
- Now grease the tin or line with baking paper. The baking paper is definitely the safest option to get the pastry out easily after baking.
- Use the baking mat to safely bring the dough in the tin without tearing it. You can hold the baking mat upside down and slowly let the dough peel off in the right place.
- Cut of the pieces that are hanging over the edges (you can use scissors or a pizza slicer for this) and press the bottom of the edges slightly to keep the dough into place.
- Use a fork to prick the dough a few times to prevent it to come up in the middle whilst baking.
- Bake during about 20 minutes on 180 º Celsius. Peep in the oven once in a while to check if the dough is not coming up in the middle. If it does, prick in it again with a fork for it to come down.
- You don’t want the pastry to become brown, it shouldn’t change colour too much, otherwise it will become to hard to cut. You want it fairly soft still and it will become harder when it cools down.
The pastry cream:
- For the cream on the tart, I use a mixture of pastry cream and Greek Yoghurt. You could just use the pastry cream but I have had complaints from my kids they found it too heavy, the yoghurt makes it a lot lighter to digest. You could also use quark instead of the yoghurt.
- With a fork or a whisk, mix the flour with the egg yolks.
- Bring the milk to boil.
- When the milk boils, take it of the stove and add to the egg mixture little by little while you whisk really well. Keep whisking until all the milk has been added.
- If you notice little lumps you can’t get out, you can pour the cream though a cauldron or sieve now as it is still liquid. If you do place the cauldron on top of your saucepan you used for the warming up the milk.
- Now bring the cream to boil again and let it thicken. Then take it off the stove and leave it to cool down. It will become thicker still whilst cooling down.
- To prevent to get a little dry crust on top of the cream, you can take a little cube of butter on a fork and go over top of the warm cream. The butter will melt and leave a thin film that shuts the cream off from the air.
Finish: Strawberries on the tart!
- Wash the strawberries and cut out the green leaves.
- Cut the strawberries in halves.
- Mix the pastry cream with the Greek yoghurt, I use half of each.
- Spread the cream with yoghurt over the pastry (about 1 cm thick).
- Arrange the strawberries on top of the cream and try to put them as close together if possible.
Enjoy and have a lovely birthday!