I have discovered a rather wonderful new way to line a tart ring, and have been employing it at every available opportunity. By creating a jigsaw of pastry to line a pastry ring, you get a wonderfully straight sided tart every time.
Recently I made this classic summer tart which I was rather delighted with, if I do say so myself. A simple ‘strawberries and custard’ tart that’s equally refreshing and cremy – perfect for a lazy summer afternoon.
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
80g icing sugar, sifted
40g beaten egg, cold
1/2 tsp salt
200g plain flour, sifted
3 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
15g plain flour
10g pectin powder
15g lemon juice
Beat the butter with an electric hand beater until just soft
Add the icing sugar & beat until smooth
Stir salt into egg. Add egg in 2 parts, beating well between each addition.
Add flour. Fold together briefly with spatula. Then tip onto work surface & bring together to form rough ball.
Roll out into long sausage shape. Using palm of hand, smear across work surface.
Form into ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate 2-3 hours then use as desired, or use immediately to make tart shell.
Roll the pastry out between 2 pieces of baking parchment into a large rectangle, at least 25cmx35cm
For a 20cm tart ring, cut a 19cm circle into one side of the flour, and then score strips the width of the height of your tart ring.
I use a 19cm mousse ring to cut my circle, and a quilting ruler that is 1 inch wide to cut my strips.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or for up to 3 days. You can put it in the freezer for 30 minutes if you’re in a real rush.
Preheat your oven to 165c
Brush your tart ring with melted butter, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, ready to put your pastry in place.
You must work quickly, as the pastry will begin to soften as soon as it leaves the fridge.
Peel back both sides of baking parchment briefly, to ensure the pastry comes away easily when lifted.
Place your strips against the sides of the tart ring, overlapping very slightly, and pressing to seal.
Then put the circle of pastry in place, and as it softens, push it gently towards the edges to get a good seal.
Use a fork to dock the bottom and sides of the pastry case.
Line the pastry case with a double layer of ovenproof clingfilm, and fill with rice.
Gently press the rice into the corners, filling the pastry case as completely as you can.
Gather the loose clingfilm loosely on top, before placing into the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, and then remove the clingfilm and tart ring.
Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes until pleasingly browned.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Heat milk until just simmering in a saucepan.
In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale in colour.
Sift the flours into the egg mixture and whisk again.
Pour the milk over the egg mixture, whisking vigorously the whole time.
Then return everything to the saucepan and place back on the heat.
Whisk continuously until the pastry cream starts to bubble, then cook for one further minute.
Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate at this point, if using, and whisk until homogenous.
Transfer into a bowl to store, covering the surface of the pastry cream directly with some clingfilm to prevent it forming a skin.
Place in the fridge overnight, or until completely cool.
Whisk the pastry cream thoroughly with an electric whisk before using, to ensure there are no lumps.
Mix together the sugar and pectin.
Heat the water in a saucepan until it reaches 45c
Whisk in the sugar mixture, and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and whisk in the lemon juice.
Stir every 5 minutes as it cools to stop a skin forming.
Use glaze at 35c.
Pipe or spread the creme pattisiere over the base of the tart shell.
Hull the strawberries and arrange on top of the creme pattisiere.
Brush over the neutral glaze.