I’ve been in love with berry picking since forever! I remember going to a gorgeous spot in Cornwall as a kid and picking berries with the family, and wandering down country lanes and picking blackberries from the hedge. It’s also pretty interesting to me how many times I’m typing about a memory and it’s about my Grandad (Mum, maybe you’ll have to show him!)
Last week I went twice, which may seem a little excessive but I promise there has been no strawberry waste! My favourite local haunt is Garelja Bros Strawberry Garden at 83 Old North Road in Kumeu. It’s only 20 minutes out of the city and so easy to find – a friend introduced me last year and I love it. It’s not fussy and this year at just $6 a kilo it’s ridiculously cheap, and easy to get carried away – you should have seen my sink when I got home!
I decided to use my scarlet plunder to bake a Strawberry tart which I had been craving for a long time! The tart is rich, smooth and creamy but in no way does it overwhelm how juicy, ripe and perfect the strawberries are this time of year. It’s pretty much a copycat of Little and Friday’s recipe in their book ‘Celebrations’ but because I’m terrible at following a recipe it’s not quite the same. There’s a layer of raspberry chia jam under a pile of vanilla whipped cream and on top of a créme pâtissiére tart filling. There’s no blind baking as you bake the filling which is great. We even had leftovers for mini tarts, which I like a lot.
Look how cute they are and I love the little bits of ruby jam peaking out near the crust. If anyone has any tips for making a mini pie crust less rustic though I would love to hear it. Maybe I’m just using cases that are too deep to put pastry in, or not utilising enough patience, which I frequently don’t, let me know!
Kumeu Strawberry Tart
(Adapted from Little & Friday’s Celebrations) The original recipe makes a 28cm tart but I made a 25cm and would have struggled to fill and decorate the original – I would go with 25cm. The pastry and créme need to be made around 2 hours in advance to allow time to rest and cool respectively.
- 1 Recipe of Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (see below)
- 1 Recipe of Créme Pâtissiére (see below)
- 1 Cup of Double Cream (or just Pouring Cream)
- 1/2 Tsp of Vanilla Essence
- 1 Recipe of Raspberry Chia Jam (see below)
- 3 Punnets of Sliced Strawberries
- Icing Sugar to Dust
- Grease a 25cm tart tin with butter and line neatly with baking paper cut to fit.
- Lightly dust a clean bench with flour and roll your pastry to 3mm thick. Line your tart tine with the pastry. Lay the pastry over your tin using a rolling pin, gently push the pastry to the edges of the tin and once in place, use the rolling pin to roll around the rim of the tin and cut off any excess. Rest the tin in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 180ºc. Fill the pastry case with your créme pâtissiére – this will puff up in the oven so leave 5-10mm of pastry visible around the top of the case. Don’t worry if you have leftover créme – you will use it later. Place the tart tin on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before decorating to serve.
- Whip your double cream until stiff peaks form and fold in the vanilla essence and any créme pâtissiére you have leftover (if you don’t have any, not to worry!).
- When ready to serve, spread the raspberry jam over your tart base and then spoon the cream mixture over the top. Decorate with strawberry slices – their beautiful so however you do it it will look gorgeous. With mine I started from the outside and just made circles until the middle. It should work best if you try and stand your slices up as straight as you can. Voila 🙂 The mini tarts use the same process but won’t take as long in the oven so keep an eye on them! Dust with icing sugar at the very last minute.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 2 and 3/4 Cups Plain Flour
- 1 Cup of Icing Sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- 250g Unsalted Cold Butter
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tsp of Lemon Juice
- 1/2 a Tsp of Lemon Zest
- 1/2 a Tsp of Vanilla Paste
- If you have a food processor, pulse the flour, icing sugar and salt to combine. If making by hand, mix together in a large bowl.
- In the processor add butter and pulse until breadcrumbs form. By hand, you will need to rub the butter into the flour mixture until the same thing happens, try to avoid any large lumps being left.
- In a processor pulse in the remaining ingredients – the mixture will look dry and crumbly. By hand mix the ingredients in with the same method you used to incorporate the butter.
- Turn mixture out onto a clean work surface and form into a ball with you hands, wrap the ball in cling film and refrigerate for at least two hours before using.
- 1 Litre of Whole Milk
- 2 Tsps of Vanilla Essence
- 1 Cup of Caster Sugar
- 6 Egg Yolks (Use the whites to lighten up omelettes or make a pavlova!)
- 1/2 a Cup of Cornflour
- In a saucepan combine milk, vanilla and 1/2 a cup of the sugar and bring to the boil.
- In a bowl beat together the remaining sugar, the egg yolks and the cornflour until mixture is pale and thick.
- Once the milk mixture is up to temperature, take it off the heat. Use a cup measure to pour around half into the egg mix. Whisk constantly whilst pouring as not to risk scrambling your eggs.
- Return the remaining milk to the heat and quickly add the egg yolk mixture to the pot. Beat whilst adding the eggs in and then until the mixture comes back to the boil. Beat vigorously and constantly, if not the mixture will be lumpy. Once back to the boil remove the mixture from the heat, pour into a clean bowl and cover with cling film. Cool before using on your tart.
Raspberry Chia Jam
- 3 Cups of Frozen Raspberries
- 2 Tbsps of Coconut Sugar
- 2 Tbsps of Chia Seeds
- In a small pan heat the raspberries and coconut sugar gently with a splash of water. Heat until the raspberries are almost just a liquid with just a few recognisable berries left. Remove from the heat.
- Taste the coulis and add a little extra coconut sugar if it is a little sharp still. Stir in the chia seeds well and leave to cool.