Strawberry Mini Tarts & Is crop season again

It’s crop season again… and again… and again because is always crop season, any season any place on earth, whether you are in the UK or Cyprus, USA or Canada, Australia or Japan, where the sun is blooming or the cold is flourishing.| I didn’t mention what crop season is, but in this case is strawberry  crop season |
In my country, a little Mediterranean island, strawberries come handy every month of the year and although I consider my self a passionate foodie, I never really bothered to understand why we get strawberries, 12 months a year. And we also get a strawberry festival just before summer to celebrate the fact that we have strawberries all year long. 

Strawberries have a long history and have been enjoyed since the Roman times. Native to many parts of the world, hundreds of varieties of strawberries exist due to crossbreeding techniques. In 1714, a French engineer commissioned to Chile and Peru, observed that the strawberry native to those regions was much larger than those found in Europe. He decided to bring back a sample of this strawberry to cultivate in France. The end result was a large, juicy, sweet hybrid (the modern garden strawberry) that became extremely popular in Europe.

And having to deal with an assignment this week, on a short photography course I have taken on-line, strawberry mini tarts seemed like the ideal shot to perform and submit in my quiz. So having that in mind I have created a few mini strawberry tarts and I thought of sharing them with you since the recipe is simple and easy to make.

So grab along your strawberries and lets head to the kitchen for those little tasty tartlets with the creamy inside and that tasty crust!

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How to select and store your starwberries:

Choose berries that are firm, plump, unblemished and free of mould. Look for those that have a shiny, deep red colour and bright green caps attached. Once picked, strawberries do not ripen further so avoid those that are dull, or have green or yellow patches. Wash and handle them with care. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Per 1 tart – Calories: 310kcal | Fat: 14.63g | Carbs: 42.53g | Protein: 3.30g

Preparation time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
+ time for chilling in the fridge

Level of difficulty: 2/5

2 free-range eggs
30g/1.5oz caster sugar
1 tsps corn flour
15g/ ½oz plain flour
25g/1oz butter
140ml milk
Vanilla pod
250g strawberries
Icing sugar for dusting

For the pastry, rub the butter and the flour together by hand, using your finger tips. The mix should look like large bread crumbs. Add the whole whisked egg and the sugar. Bring all the ingredients together to form a ball of pastry. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes
For the crème patisserie, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until pale and light. Fold in the corn flour and flour. Bring the milk to the boil in a small saucepan and then whisk it gradually into the egg mixture Pour the mixture into a clean pan and bring it slowly to the boil until it thickens. Simmer for a minute and then take the pan off the heat. Pass through a sift. Split vanilla pod in half length ways, scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture. Cover with cling film and allow to cool. Then place in a piping bag.
Pre-heat oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas Mark 3.
Roll out pastry to about 4mm thick. Carefully line the four tartlet tins. Leaving an over hang of pastry. Place on a baking tray. Chill for twenty minutes. Then blind bake pastry for ten minutes.
Turn down oven to 160°C/140°C fan/300°F/Gas Mark 2. Remove baking beans and prick pastry with a fork and cook for a further ten minutes. Egg wash tarts and cook for a further five minutes.

Leave the pastry in the tins and allow to cool. With a small edged serrated knife, trim the excess pastry from the tins. Being very delicate. Remove pastry cases from tartlet tins.
Pipe in the vanilla crème patisserie. Hull three strawberries slice them three quarters the way down, so the slices are still connected. Fan out strawberries, arrange on top of the crème patisserie. Dust with icing sugar.

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