FoodHow to make a perfect french strawberry tart at home

How to make a perfect french strawberry tart at home

A dessert like from a Parisian patisserie.
A dessert like from a Parisian patisserie.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | ALLEKO

4:21 PM EDT, May 23, 2024

There probably isn't a bakery in Paris without a strawberry tart. It's the favorite seasonal dessert of the French. A crumbly crust, custard cream, and fresh fruit... that's their idea of the perfect dessert for warm days. It's not too hard to make at home. We have some tips straight from the capital of France.

Even in a simple dessert like a strawberry tart, the principles of French cuisine are evident. First, there must be butter. Second, the cream is delicate but has a distinct vanilla note. Third, there are just enough strawberries to cover the cream without excess. My French friend claims that if you stick to a few basic rules, a homemade tart will be as delicious as one from a Parisian bakery.

Perfectly crumbly tart crust - ingredients straight from the refrigerator

Planning is crucial when preparing a French-style tart. The crumbly dough is best chilled in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, with a minimum of one hour. For this pastry, the rule of room-temperature ingredients does not apply. The butter and eggs must be cold directly from the fridge. This ensures the dough will be crumbly, not just in name. This type of dough also dislikes long kneading. First, crumble the flour and butter, add the remaining ingredients, and quickly knead. This way, the tart base will not be hard.

Important proportions

Even French people, who are undoubtedly masters at making crumbly dough, stick to this rule. You can't make good crumbly dough without accurately weighing the ingredients. Stick to these proportions: 3 (e.g., 10.6 oz of flour), 2 (7 oz of butter), and 1 (3.5 oz of sugar). The flour should be sifted; a fine-milled type works well. The butter must be of the best quality and have the highest fat content. It's also worth using powdered sugar.

Cream for tart with a hint of vanilla

A classic French tart features custard cream prepared with vanilla seeds. Crème pâtissière is one of the traditional French creams used in many desserts. Making it from scratch is not simple, but the taste is unparalleled. Want to make it easier? Cook ready-made custard and add vanilla seeds, which dramatically simplifies the flavor. The French would disapprove. Introducing whipped cream-based cream with cream and mascarpone wouldn’t be to their liking either. But you can consider this option. Arrange fresh strawberries sliced thinly on top. Not too densely, so the cream remains visible. Finally, add a slight green touch, such as finely chopped mint, lemon balm, or basil leaves. These herbs enhance the flavor of the strawberries. Sometimes, grated lemon zest is also sprinkled on top.

Recipe for French strawberry tart

Ingredients:

For the crust:

            
  • 10.9 oz of flour
  • 6 oz of butter, cold and diced
  • 2.8 oz of powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a pinch of salt

For the cream:

              
  • 2 cups of milk
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3 oz of sugar
  • 1.2 oz of all-purpose flour
  • 1.2 oz of potato starch

Additionally:

  • 28 oz of strawberries plus fresh herbs for decoration

Preparation:

  1. Start by preparing the crumbly crust. Crumble the butter and flour, add the remaining ingredients, and quickly knead the dough. Mold it into a ball and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
  2. Roll out the dough, transfer it to a tart tin, and pierce it with a fork. Line the tart with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans, metal baking beads, or rice. This prevents the edges from collapsing and helps the tart maintain its shape during baking.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the tart for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, remove the parchment paper and weights, and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Then, remove it from the oven and let it cool.
  5. Prepare the cream. In a large pot, bring the milk and vanilla seeds to a boil. Then, set them aside.
  6. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale, and add the all-purpose flour and potato starch. Mix until you get a smooth paste. Add 0.4 cups of the boiling milk, then mix until combined.
  7. Pour the egg paste into the rest of the boiled milk, stirring well. Bring it to a boil, stirring frequently until the custard thickens. Then let it cool.
  8. Spread the cooled custard cream over the cooled tart. Arrange the strawberries on top, cutting larger ones in half.
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