Strawberry tarts with almond pastry
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For the pastry
200g ground almonds
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/4 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tbs of maple syrup
15g butter, room temperature
1 medium egg
For the filling
400g strawberries washed and dried
3 medium eggs
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
25g butter (unsalted or very lightly salted)
1-1.5 tbs of raw honey/maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
2. Mix the pastry ingredients together to form a dough. If you had to melt the butter to soften it then chill the dough for 10 minutes to make it easier to work with.
3. Cut the dough into 4 equal sections.
4. Lightly grease 4 mini tart pans (approx. 10cm diameter each).
5. Gently push dough into each mini tart pan. Use your fingers to spread and smooth the dough around the pan to create the crust, make it as thin as you dare and use a knife to trim the tops. Don’t worry about making it perfect – everyone loves homemade baking more!
6. Depending on the size and thickness of tart cases you might have some pastry left over, in which case you can line one or two more pans.
7. You can chill the tart cases before baking for a crisper finish, but it’s not essential.
8. Place on a tray and bake for approx. 10 mins – the edges should be golden.
9. Gently ease the tart crusts from the pans, turn upside down on a wire rack and return for a few minutes more to cook the bottom. Remove from the oven and place to one side – they will crisp up as they cool.
11. Make a double boiler (bain-marie) by placing a glass bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
12. Add the butter to the bowl and, while it melts, in a separate bowl or jug whisk together two whole eggs with the vanilla extract.
13. Bring the pan of water to a gentle simmer and slowly add the beaten eggs to the butter whilst continually whisking – use a balloon whisk. Continue to whisk the egg mixture for 5 minutes or so.
14. When the mixture starts to thicken watch it carefully – you want a thick custard but not scrambled eggs! If you get a lump, quickly remove the bowl from the heat and beat furiously until it’s smooth!
15. When the custard is thick enough to leave trail marks from the whisk remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking well to cool it.
16. Once it is cool enough to touch, whisk in the honey and leave to cool further.
17. Assemble the tarts by spooning in 1-2 tablespoons of custard and arranging the freshly-sliced strawberries on top as you fancy. If you think that your tart cases are too thick then balance the taste and texture by adding plenty of custard and piling the strawberries high.