The tart juiciness of fresh strawberries, the luscious smooth creme patissiere and the crisp biscuit base combine in this tempting little tart recipe. Pastry case is baked with healthy olive oil and fat free yoghurt. Sugar is reduced to a minimum. A light jelly topping adds shine and protects the delicate fruit. Add this to your dessert menu or afternoon tea spread for a refreshing and attractive treat.
For the strawberries and jelly topping:
600g fresh strawberries, washed, dried, hulled and halved
4-5 tbs white sugar
1 tbs cognac
For the pastry:
1 cup organic plain flour
1/2 cup organic self raising flour
2 tbs pure icing sugar
Scant tsp iodised table salt
1/2 cup plain fat free strained Greek style yoghurt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 egg yolk
For the creme patissiere:
300 ml milk
50g caster sugar
20g plain flour
1 level tbs cornflour
1 large organic free range egg and one egg yolk
25g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cognac
Marinate the strawberries overnight: place layers of halved strawberries cut side up in a wide, non-reactive bowl. Sprinkle each layer evenly with sugar and cognac. Cover with a tea towel and leave to stand overnight in a cool dry place (tea towel must not touch fruit). Next day, strain juices thoroughly and set aside for jelly topping.
Pre heat oven to 190C fan. Grease a 24cm tart case with removable base.
Sift together dry ingredients into a wide bowl. Make a well in centre and mix in wet ingredients. Bring all ingredients together to form a dough ball. Do not overwork dough or it will become tough. Place dough on large sheet of baking paper on benchtop.
Place a large sheet of cling wrap over dough and roll pastry out to 3mm thick, at least 30 cm circle, lifting and turning cling wrap as you go: using cling wrap avoids adding extra flour to stop dough sticking to rolling pin and makes lifting dough into pan easy.
Lift cling wrap and dough away from baking paper base, ease pastry into tart case and peel away cling wrap. Form pastry gently but firmly into the fluted sides. Trim edges away by passing rolling pin firmly across the sides of the tart pan: unwanted extra pastry just falls away.
Prick the base with a fork. Line with baking paper, fill with rice or baking beads, ensure beads closely fill sides of tart all around.
Blind bake for 10 minutes, remove beads and paper, bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until sides are golden brown and base is crisp.
Cool on a rack and then remove tart case carefully from pan.
Warm milk on a gentle heat until steam arises. Whisk together sugar, flour, cornflour and beaten eggs until completely free of lumps; gradually stir in heated milk, vanilla extractmand cognac. Return mixture to pan and stir continuously (a small whisk is ideal) until well thickened and just coming to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Cool in pan covered with a baking paper cartouche to prevent skin forming.
Mix a generous tsp of vegetarian jelling powder into 100-150 ml fruit marinade until well blended. Heat slowly to boiling point and boil for two minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Place tart case on presentation plate. Pour creme patissiere into tart case and spread evenly using offset spatula. Fill to 5 mm below tart top, to allow for jelly. Place strawberries evenly, working from outside of tart towards centre, with pointed berry ends facing to centre of tart: revolving plate as you go assists. Brush jelly over fruit, then carefully and gently pour remainder over top of creme patissiere until whole tart is covered with a thin layer. Place in refrigerator to cool for at least one hour before serving.
Cut into 8 wedges, and serve with or without additional fresh berries on a dollop of whipped