The tarts are best assembled on the same day but the shells keep well in an airtight container for up to five days.
Photo: Natalie Walker
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- 150g unsalted butter, cold250g plain flour
- 100g sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tbsp cold water
- Custard cream
- 200mL milk1/2 vanilla bean, split
- in half
- Zest of 1/2 an orange
- 3 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 150mL cream, whipped
- To assemble
- 1 punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced
For the pastry: Cut the butter into small cubes and place in a food processor with the flour and sugar. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, then add the egg yolk and as much water as needed to just bring the pastry together. Turn onto the bench and gently push together with your hands until it comes together as a ball. Don't overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Cut dough into quarters and roll out, dusting with flour, to a few millimetres in thickness. Cut out circles of pastry and set in greased tart tins, pricking with a fork. Preheat oven to 200C. Place tart tins in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking, then bake for 12-18 minutes or until golden. Cool on a cake rack.
For custard cream: Heat the milk with the vanilla bean and orange zest till almost boiling. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar then add the cornflour and whisk until combined. Pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking until combined. Now pour this through a sieve into a clean pot and put back on a medium-low heat. Use a whisk to stir the custard and gently bring to the boil, stirring continuously. It will turn thick very quickly as it reaches the boil, so keep beating the mixture for another minute to ensure there are no lumps. Remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl to cool (if there are any lumps, pour the mixture through a sieve). When cold and set, fold in the whipped cream and store in the fridge until ready to use.
To assemble: Fill cooled tart cases with custard cream and top with strawberries.
If desired, make a glaze using redcurrant jelly. (Heat a few tablespoons in a small pot until it becomes runny, remove from heat, cool slightly then pour over tarts.) Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 24 tiny tarts or 9 larger ones.