Vanilla Strawberry Tarts

These tarts are tiny and adorable, perfect to serve with coffee or as part of a High Tea or sweet table.

Ingredients:

For the pastry shells:

  • 250gr flour
  • 125gr butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 30ml ice cold water

For the vanilla panna cotta savarins:

  • 200gr heavy cream (30-35% fat)
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 40gr sugar
  • 1.5 sheets gelatin (3gr)

Toppings:

  • 250gr strawberries
  • chopped pistachios, unsalted

Extra equipment required:

  • silicone mold for 4cm savarins
  • 12 pastry rings, 5cm round

Makes 12 mini tarts

Recipe:

Make the pastry shells:
Add the cold butter to the flour and encorporate it with a pastry cutter or with your hands, making a breadcrumb tecture. You want to heat the butter and flour as little as possible, as you do not want the butter to melt and be absorbed by the flour, which would make your pie crust tough.
Add the egg, salt and sugar and mix this quickly into the dough (handle it as little as possible). Add as much water as needed to have the dough just hold together. It will become wetter while resting and adding flour while rolling will make your crust taste dry. Don’t knead it more than absolutely required, as you want to work the gluten as little as possible.
Push the dough into a disk (this will require less rolling later) and place it in a closed bag. Leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Roll the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of 2mm. Cut out discs of 10cm (5cm base plus 2x2cm sides, plus overhang). Take any leftovers together, form to a rough ball and place back in the fridge. This will be of lower quality as it has been worked more, but one more roll is ok if you work it as little as possible.
Cut triangles from four sides, creating somewhat of a cross, with the center being larger than the base of your pastry shells. Cutting out sections will help lining the tins, as these straight edged shells are tricky otherwise.
Line the pastry rings, pushing together the seals well. Use the cut-out triangles to fix any holes or thin areas. Do not cut off the overhang yet, baking with overhang creates more even tins that haven’t shrunk down the sides of the rings.
Prick the base with a fork and then leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge again. This avoids shrinkage while baking so don’t skip this step.
Place baking paper or heatproof plastic in the shells and fill with rice, baking beans or dried peas. This restricts the pastry from expanding.

Bake blind for 10min on 190°C.
Take out the blind baking filling. Gently cut the overhang away. Be careful as the pastry is delicate when warm and only half cooked. Brush with egg wash and bake for another 10 minutes. The egg wash creates a seal to avoid the shells from turning soggy once filled.

Make the panna cotta savarins:
Pour the cream into a heavy based sauce pan. Slit the vanilla bean lenthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add the seeds, the empty pod and the sugar to the cream. Bring the cream to a rolling boil. Take it off the heat.
Soak the gelatin for 5 minutes in cold water. Take the vanilla pod out of the cream. Squeeze excess water from the gelatin sheets, then stir them into the cream.
Pour the cream into a pouring cup or bottle. Fill the savarin molds with the cream and leave to set.

Assembly:
Save the prettiest, smallest 12 strawberries for the tops. Cut the other strawberries into small pieces. Fill the pastry shells with the strawberries.
Gently unmold the savarins and place a vanilla panna cotta savarin on top of each tart. Fill the middle with some chopped pistachios and press some araound the savarin as well.
Take the tops off the strawberries and place one upside down on top of every tart.

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