Anna knows that all great pastry chefs have a recipe for pastry cream in their repertoire and, in this segment, she shows how to perfect this thick, rich custard filling to create delicious, versatile and delicate Strawberry Cream Tarts.

Makes 24 to 30 mini tarts

 

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

4 tsp sugar

¼ tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 recipe Basic Vanilla Pastry Cream (** recipe below)

30 fresh strawberries, stems removed

 

  1. For crust, preheat the oven to 350 °F and lightly grease mini muffin tins.
  1. Combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until an even crumbly texture. Spoon about a tablespoonful of the mixture into each muffin cup and press it into the bottom and up the sides. Bake these for 10 minutes, then cool before assembling.
  2. Use a skewer to gently remove each tart shell from the tin Stir the pastry cream to soften and then spoon or pipe the filling into each cup and then arrange a strawberry on top of each. Chill until ready to serve.

The tart shells and pastry cream can be prepared up to a day in advance, but should be assembled within a few hours of serving.

 

BASIC VANILLA PASTRY CREAM

Makes about 1 ½ cups

 

1 cup 2% milk

½ vanilla bean or 1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste

3 large egg yolks

3 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces.

 

  1. Heat the milk with the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean or the vanilla bean paste until just below a simmer.
  1. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Ready a bowl with the butter, placing a strainer on top of it.
  1. Gradually whisk the hot milk into egg mixture and then return it all to the pot. Whisk this constantly (switching to a spatula now and again, to get into the corners) over medium heat until thickened and glossy, about 2 minutes. Pour this immediately through the strainer, whisking it through if needed, and stir in the butter. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the custard, cool to room temperature and then chill completely until ready to use.

 

The pastry cream will keep up to 4 days refrigerated.

Recipe Credit: Anna Olson