Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Summer Strawberry Tart

Glistening berries sit on creamy custard amid almond paste to make a delectable tart. Recipe serves 8.


1 sheet frozen ready-rolled butter puff pastry, thawed
2 cups ground almonds
3 ounces (90 g) caster sugar
3 ounces (90 g) icing sugar, sifted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence
4 teaspoons custard powder
1/4 pint (150 ml) milk
1/4 pint (150 ml) fresh or thickened cream, whipped
4 teaspoons caster sugar
8 ounces (250 g) small strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup raspberry jam, warmed and sieved


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 12 inches (30 cm) long. Trim to a 12 x 8 inch (30 x 20 cm) rectangle. Place on the baking tray; prick all over with a fine fork. Chill for 10 minutes.
2. Bake the pastry for 10-15 minutes, until golden. Stand on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes.
3. For the border, place the ground almonds and sugars in a mixing bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well to form a paste. Spoon the paste into a large piping bag fitted with a star pipe/nozzle.
4. Pipe the paste neatly around the outer edge of the cool pastry. Pipe 5 diagonal lines evenly between the sides. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. For the filling, mix the custard powder and milk in a saucepan until smooth. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thick. Pour into a bowl, cover and leave to cool completely.
6. Fold the whipped cream and caster sugar into the custard. Place the pastry base on a serving plate; spread the custard in between the almond borders. Arrange the strawberries over the custard. Brush the warm raspberry jam over the strawberries.

Tip: You may prepare the almond paste up to a week in advance. Cover and refrigerate until needed. If the strawberries are large, slice them before arranging on the tart.

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