For the Shortcrust Pastry
300g plain flour
150g unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
1 tbsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
cold water, to combine
For the Crème Pâtissière
100g caster sugar
4 large egg yolks (or 6 medium, free-range if possible)
1 tbsp vanilla extract or 1.5 tsp vanilla paste
2-3 punnets of fresh strawberries, de-stalked
1. We use a food processor to make our pastry. Start by placing the flour, sugar and cubed butter into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time until it all just comes together. Remove from the bowl, knead on a lightly floured surface until it all comes together as a smooth, soft pastry. Wrap up and keep in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
3. Heat the oven to 180ºC. When it's ready, roll out the pastry and place into a fluted loose-bottomed dish. Line the pastry with baking parchment, and using baking beans or some rice to weight it down.
4. Blind bake for 12-15 minutes for smaller tart tins and 25 minutes for larger tin. Remove and cool.
5. Make the Crème Pâtissière by combining the flours and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisking to combine into a thick eggy mixture as you heat the milk and vanilla in a pan on a medium heat until it just comes to the boil, then remove.
6. Add 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the eggy mixture and whisk vigorously to combine (be quick and careful here as it can scramble) then return it all to the pan with the milk and continue heating on a low heat, stirring constantly.
7. As it thickens, keep stirring and you can gradually increase the heat bit by bit. Be careful it doesn't catch, stick or burn to the bottom or sides as you whisk for about 5-10 minutes. You'll know it's done when it's thickened and holds its shape, but it will thicken slightly further when cooled.
8. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before putting into a piping bag and keeping in the fridge until needed.
9. To assemble, pipe the Crème Pâtissière into the bottom of the pastry tart, about one third of the height of the sides. Then arrange the strawberries on top, in whatever pattern you like, whether whole, sliced or cut to shape.
10. Before serving you can dust with a little icing sugar or alternatively for a glazed topping you could warm through a little apricot jam or strawberry conserve or jam (seedless if possible!) with a tsp or two of water in a saucepan until its loosened but still sticky and then paint onto the strawberry topping.
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