French Strawberry Tartlets are the perfect, light summer dessert. They are fresh and slightly sweet, just like the ones on the streets of Paris!
1,365. That is the number of photos I took on my trip. 1,365. That of course means probably 1,000 or so actual photos and 365 duplicate photos. I have noticed that I have this tendency to take multiple photos of the exact same thing. I even do that with my food blog. While it helps ensure I get the best light and angle, it also means I have to sit through dozens of duplicate photos. So that is going to be what my weekend consists of- looking through all the photos from my trip.
In examining the photos I have so far, warm memories are already flying back to me. I think about the weekend we had in Paris and how exhausted we were the whole time. I think about how beautiful the city was. And then of course, I think about the food: crepes stuffed with nutella and bananas, creme brulee, and corner cafes selling mouth-watering pastries.
Paris, and really Europe in general, is deadly with it’s pastries. It seemed like every street in Paris was accented with cute bakeries selling crusty French breads and mouth-watering pastries including croissants, eclairs, and fruit tarts.
It was these delicious fruit tarts we had while there that inspired me to recreate the taste of a Parisian strawberry tart right in my own home.
I had the idea down for this recipe. I wanted to make them tartlets like I had, so I decided to make them in a muffin pan, something me and many other average people own. When it came to the cream though I needed a little help. And who better to help me with French pastry cream than Julia Child herself? The pastry cream I used in this recipe comes from her kitchen.
Now I must warn you, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. While it did not take too terribly long to produce, it is intense. The results are so worth it though!
The crispy pie crust, the creamy filling and the strawberry toppings come perfectly together to create an authentic French taste. The shell is light, flaky and crispy. The cream filling is slightly sweet and amazingly creamy. Then, the strawberries on top pull the treat together with their sweetness and freshness. This really is an amazing dessert and one so close to the ones I loved in Paris.
So don’t be too intimidated by the recipe! It is a lot of work but the results will stun both your guests and your taste-buds!
- Nonstick spray
- 2 pie crusts, uncooked and brought to room temperature
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups boiling milk
- 2 tbs butter, separated
- 1 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
- 1 cup strawberry, rhubarb, or apricot jelly
- 2 tbs white granulated sugar
- 2 tbs water
- 6-8 strawberries, cleaned and hulled, chopped into desired shape
- Preheat oven to 450F. Grease all sides of a muffin tin thoroughly.
- Unroll pie crusts and lie flat on the counter. Using an inverted glass, press the top of the glass into the dough forming a large, flat disk of dough. Place dough round into one muffin cup, gently pressing the dough up the sides of the pan towards the top. Repeat until all 12 muffin cups are filled with dough. Then, gently prick sides and bottom of dough with a fork to allow air to release during baking. Once all the dough is pricked, place the muffin tin in the oven and cook crusts until beginning to brown, about 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow crusts to cool in the muffin tin.
- While the crusts cool, prepare the pastry cream. With a whisk, beat together egg whites and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is well combined and pale yellow in color. Beat in flour, whisking until there are no lumps in the batter. Slowly drizzle hot milk into egg mixture, whisking quickly.
- Pour cream into a saucepan placed on medium heat. Bring the cream to a boil, whisking constantly (making sure to scratch the bottom to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot). As the sauce boils, it will become thick and lumpy. Whisk sauce thoroughly and once boiling reduce heat to medium low and cook an additional 2 minutes whisking constantly. Remove cream from the heat and mix in 1 tbs of butter and 1 1/2 tbs vanilla extract. Dot cream with the remaining 1 tbs of butter to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Next, prepare the glaze. In a saucepan on medium heat, bring jelly, 2 tbs sugar, and water to a boil, whisking occasionally. When the sauce has boiled and the jelly has become thin, remove from the heat. With a marinade brush, brush the bottom and sides of all 12 pastry crusts. This will help the pastry become more water proof so the cream does not soften the pastry too much. Allow brushed pastries to set for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove pastries from the muffin tin. Carefully scoop 1 tbs to 1 1/2 tbs of reserved pastry cream into each shell. The cream should come up to the edges of the crust. Top each tart with desired amount of strawberries. Finally, using the marinade brush, lightly spread a thin layer of glaze over entire top of tartlet. Allow to set for 10 minutes.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- 1. Expect the crusts to shrink in the muffin tin as they bake. This is normal and helps form the small tartlets common in France.
- 2. Julia Child's original recipe for pastry cream calls for 5 egg yolks. In my recipe, I replaced that with 5 egg whites. The taste is similar and you can use whichever you prefer.
- 3. The cream sauce heats up quickly on the stove top. It is likely that you may have scorched bits on the edges of your pot. If so, simply continue whisking the rest of the cream. Should burnt bits be included in the custard, you can simply spoon them out of the cream.
- 4. Should the glaze become thick after filling the shells with cream, reheat glaze so that it again thins out.