Strawberry and Almond Tarts

From issue #2.
Photography by Photography by Bruce Nicholson.
Strawberry and Almond Tarts
Christmas Dining

Inspired by Damien Pignolet from Sydney’s Bistro Moncur

Serves: 8


240g plain flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
30g icing sugar
180g cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk and cold water to equal 60ml, beaten

1 vanilla bean
250ml milk
180g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornflour
120ml cream

Strawberries & Almonds
2 punnets of small strawberries
100g flaked, blanched almonds, toasted
icing sugar


Pastry: Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to sift. Add the butter into the flour. Process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Pulse the machine as you pour in the egg and
stop as soon as the liquid is incorporated.

Tip out onto the bench and bring the dough together quickly with your hands. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes before rolling.

Dust the rolling pin and work surface lightly with flour and roll out the pastry. Line 8 x 10cm tart tins, prick the bottom with a fork and place in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking. Preheat oven to 190ºC. Bake
the pastry cases blind.*

Custard: Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and bean into the milk. Add 120g of the sugar and slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar before it boils.

Beat the yolks with the balance of the sugar until pale and beat in the cornflour. Pour the boiling milk mixture onto the eggs, whisking constantly. Return the custard to the pot and bring to the boil over a low heat, whisking continuously. Cook for a further minute or so until thick. Transfer to a bowl and cool quickly over ice, stirring frequently.

Assembly: Remove the vanilla bean from the pastry cream and whisk until smooth. Beat the cream to semi-stiff peaks and fold in enough to lighten the pastry cream while keeping enough body to support the fruit.

Fill the tart shells with the cream and arrange the strawberries on top. Scatter over the almonds and dust with icing sugar just prior to serving. Makes 8

* Glossary Term: to ‘bake blind’ – line a prepared pastry case with baking paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. The beans support the pastry as it cooks. Bake in a preheated 190ºC oven for 10 minutes before
removing the paper and weights. The shell should now have taken form so reduce the temperature to 175ºC and bake until completely cooked and golden.