A simple strawberry tart worthy of a French pâtisserie

This dreamy combination of strawberries and cream is happiness in a bowl

A simple fruit tart is a crowd-pleaser.  Photograph: Harry Weir

A simple fruit tart is a crowd-pleaser. Photograph: Harry Weir

 

Strawberries and cream, is there a dreamier combination? Simple and soothing and lightly sweetened with a sprinkle of sugar, it is happiness in a bowl. My family used to live near a fruit farm on the border of the Wicklow mountains and every summer without fail, we would spend an entire afternoon wandering through the rows of berry bushes that lined the fields for miles. Equipped with big baskets for weighing our luscious hoard, we plucked beautifully ripe and fragrant red strawberries, and often had them scoffed before we had returned to the entrance to pay for them.  

I have often spoken about my love for simple bakes and easy pastry dishes, and this week’s recipe is just that. A simple fruit tart is a crowd-pleaser, and the fruit can be changed to suit the seasons. It is a nod to those gorgeous little French pastries that line the pâtisserie shop windows down winding side streets in almost all French towns. 

French desserts are nearly always based on the basics and fundamentals of classic French pâtisserie; pastry and cream fillings and traditional combinations that have stood the test of time. 

This strawberry tart is a celebration of summer, with sweet and floral Irish strawberries the star of the show. When in season, they are hard to beat. I’m using a crème pâtisserie, or pastry cream, as my tart filling, which is essentially a thick custard, and a staple in French fruit tarts.

It is traditionally thickened with a starch – I’ve used cornflour, but plain flour will also work. Creamily smooth and speckled with vanilla seeds, it is the perfect match for the strawberries. Arranging the sliced strawberries in concentric circles is a simple way to make it look like you have put a lot of effort into the decoration. I glaze my finished tart with a quick slick of apricot jam, to give that beautiful French pastry shop finish. This tart is a nod to France, using beautiful Irish ingredients.

Recipe: Strawberry tart

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