A classic French crème pâtissière is the perfect filling for these lovely summer fruit tartlets.
For crème pâtissière:
300ml milk (Elgaar Farm)
1 vanilla pod
3 large egg yolks (Mt Roland Free Range Eggs, Tasmanian Natural Garlic & Tomatoes)
50g caster sugar
1 rounded tablespoon plain flour
Knob of butter (Tasmanian Butter Co.)
For the tarts:
300g shortcrust pastry
400g mixed summer fruit, such as small strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and redcurrants (Bridgenorth Berries, Sheffield Berry Gardens, Three Peaks Organics, Westerway Raspberry Farm)
Icing sugar, for dusting
A few chopped pistachios, if you like
- To make the crème pâtissière, pour the milk into a pan. Split vanilla pod down its length using a small sharp knife (do not cut in half completely). Twist tip of the knife inside the pod to open out like a book at one end, then run the knife down its length to scrape out seeds.
- Put the seeds and empty pod in a medium-sized pan with the milk and bring slowly to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of mins.
- Put egg yolks, sugar and flour into a bowl. Whisk with a hand electric mixer until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy – it should leave a trail that stays on the surface momentarily when the whisk blades are lifted. This whisking will take about 2 mins.
- Pour about a third of the hot milk into the bowl, whisking on a slow speed all the time until it has all been mixed in. Now whisk in the remaining milk, removing pod.
- Return the mixture to the pan, scraping it out of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time, until the custard is thickened, smooth and glossy. At first, it will look a bit lumpy, but persevere – keep stirring and it will become smooth. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 mins, stirring.
- Remove the crème pâtissière from the heat. Beat in the butter until it has melted, then scrape into a bowl. Cover the surface of the crème pâtissière directly with cling film (this will stop a skin forming). Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge until needed.
- Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Divide the pastry into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each one to line a 7-8cm deep fluted tartlet tin, trim leaving a little pastry sticking up above the tin. Line each one with a paper cake case and add a layer of baking beans. Put on a baking tray and bake for 10 mins, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden.
- Trim any pastry edges that need it with a small sharp knife. Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Halve or quarter any large strawberries and remove the stalks from any redcurrants, then mix the fruits together. Fill the pastry cases with crème pâtissière and pile a generous layer of fruits on top. Dust thickly with icing sugar and scatter over some chopped pistachios, if you like.