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How to make a French strawberry tart from scratch with lush pistachio pastry cream. It’s also a useful recipe for using up 5 egg yolks.

This recipe was one of my sources of inspiration for my book, Teatime in Paris, where you’ll find the original recipe for tartlets with their step-by-step instructions in more detail.

strawberry tart filled with pistachio pastry cream

French Strawberry Tart

French strawberries (Mara des Bois, Plougastel, Gariguettes) cheer us up no end with their sweet, candy-like flavours. Every Spring and Summer we have the treat of fresh strawberries from the market, simply on their own, with our morning maple granola – or with homemade ice cream.

However, at home we love making berry tarts in summer.

tart dough placed on top of a pastry tart ring

How to Make a French Tart Shell

This is an easy homemade recipe for making a French tart shell with sweet pastry.
Sweet pastry is much easier than Pâte Sablée, as there’s less butter and no need to control temperature
of butter, egg etc.

If making one big tart shell, then I suggest blind baking using baking beans. However, there’s no need to blind bake if making 8 individual tartlets. 

  • Using a stand mixer with a paddle beater (or simply by hand), mix the butter, salt and sugar until pale and creamy. (If making the dough by hand, use cold butter). Gradually add the other ingredients and stop mixing immediately as soon as the dough forms into a ball.
  • Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  • Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a 28cm/11 inch circle with 5mm thickness and transfer to a 24cm (9 inch) non-stick tart tin.
  • Press into the tart tin and trim off excess pastry with your fingers or roll over the edges with a rolling pin (any extra dough can make another tartlet so no waste).
  • Prick the pastry with a fork and top with baking paper (cut to size – I use the same one several baking sessions for convenience) and fill with washed coins, rice or dried beans to blind bake the pastry.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown then remove the baking beans. Leave to cool, remove from the tin and set aside.

making french tart shell with baking beans

What Kind of Flour is Best for French Sweet Pastry?

I prefer using French plain flour (cake/pastry flour) called ‘Farine fluide Type/T45, as it’s extra fine for making sweet pastry. However standard plain all-purpose flour (Farine de Blé Type 55) is good if you can’t find it – just sift the flour first before baking.
See my glossary of UK and USA baking terms.

More step-by-step instructions are in my pâtisserie recipe book, Teatime in Paris, with a whole chapter devoted to Tarts.

Pistachio Tart Filling

Those of you who love making desserts that use egg whites (to save up for macarons, chocolate mousse and tuiles), pastry cream is another handy recipe to use up egg yolks.

What’s best about pastry cream? You can adapt the flavours for many classic French desserts. Strawberry tarts are delicious with classic vanilla pastry cream (crème pâtissière) but when combined with pistachios, it’s an extra luxury. Take the association of strawberries with this pistachio, vanilla and wasabi ice cream. It sounds scary with wasabi but believe me, you need to try their strawberry and pistachio flavour combinations together.

This pistachio filling was inspired by a teatime goûter at the Jacquemart André Museum’s café, with its Tiepolo ceilings and Belgian tapestries to fit this lush dessert. From the legendary trolley of Parisian patisseries, I chose a sumptuous slice of their Tarte aux fraises à la pistache. As a result, I recreated a homemade version of this as a reminder of a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Paris. For more, see my list of Best Tearooms in Paris.

So here’s my Strawberry Tart with a lush, yet subtle, pistachio pastry cream. It’s berry good indeed. Serve as one large tart or 8 small tartlets.

glass dish holding a tart with green pistachio cream topped with a fanned strawberry

Strawberry & Pistachio Tart

glass dish holding a tart with green pistachio cream topped with a fanned strawberry

Strawberry and Pistachio Tart

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Chilling time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course : Dessert, teatime
Cuisine : French
Keyword : strawberry tart, pistachio pastry cream, French strawberry tart
Servings : 8 people

Description

How to make a French strawberry tart from scratch with lush pistachio pastry cream. A useful dessert recipe for using up 5 egg yolks. Recipe adapted from Jill Colonna's book, Teatime in Paris.

Ingredients

Classic Sweet Pastry

  • 125 g (4½oz) butter, unsalted softened
  • 75 g (3oz) icing/powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt (fleur de sel)
  • 1 egg organic
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder (or extract)
  • 240 g (8½oz) plain (all-purpose) flour Type 45

Pistachio Pastry Cream

  • 400 ml (14fl oz) whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod/bean
  • 5 egg yolks organic
  • 60 g (2.5oz) sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1-2 tsp pistachio paste (see NOTES)
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) butter (unsalted)

Garnish

  • 1 punnet fresh strawberries hulled and halved

Instructions

Sweet Pastry Base

  • Using a stand mixer with a paddle beater (or simply by hand), mix the butter, salt and sugar until pale and creamy. Gradually add the other ingredients until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
    Form the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • Remove from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes for ease of use. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4.
  • Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a 28cm/11 inch circle with 5mm thickness and transfer to a 24cm (9 inch) non-stick tart tin.
    Press into the tart tin and trim off excess pastry with your fingers or roll over the edges with a rolling pin (any extra dough can make another tartlet so no waste).
    Prick the pastry with a fork and top with baking paper (cut to size – I use the same one several baking sessions for convenience) and fill with washed coins, rice or dried beans to blind bake the pastry.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown then remove the baking beans. Leave to cool, remove from the tin and set aside.

Pistachio Filling

  • Boil the milk with the vanilla pod in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse covered for about 10 minutes. Remove the pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the milk.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar and gradually add the cornflour. Whisk until light and creamy. Pour on the hot milk and transfer back to the saucepan, whisking continuously over a medium heat until thickened then whisk in the butter.
  • Take off the heat, whisk in the pistachio paste and leave to cool. Place some cling film directly on to the pastry cream, to avoid a film forming on top (you don't want to whisk this in later, otherwise you'll end up with a lumpy bumpy cream!) Cover with the film again and chill in the fridge.

Assembly

  • Cut the strawberries in half. Fill the pastry base with the pastry cream then place the strawberries on top.

Notes

If you like more pistachio in the filling, add more pistachio paste.
If using bought pistachio paste, ensure it is natural with 100% pistachios with no added sugars or oils, otherwise make your own.
Pistachio Paste: to make your own pistachio paste, whizz 100g (3 1/2oz) unsalted pistachios in a grinder or grind in a mortar and pestle. Mix together with 25g (1oz) ground almonds (almond flour), 50g/2oz sugar, 2 drops of pistachio or almond extract and a tablespoon of water.
I highly recommend using the measures in grams & ml (instead of cups)
for more accuracy and better, consistent results

Love pistachio or almonds as a filling?  See my other recipe for a strawberry tart with almond frangipane filling – it’s disguised upside and glazed as a cake!

This recipe was first published 30 June 2013 but has now been completely updated with new images and more explanations of the recipe, with thanks to my publishers at Waverley Books.

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Comments (29)

What a beautiful tart and the perfect beginning to strawberry season down under!

Hi Jill.

I made this tart several days ago. It was absolutely delicious! I had to make my own pistachio paste – thanks for the recipe. I have a lot left, so will think of something creative to use it for.

In the directions for the pastry cream, it says ‘remove pod”. I assumed you meant a vanilla bean pod? It’s not in the ingredients list. I didn’t have that so added a tsp. of vanilla.
It turned out great!

Thanks again for the recipe for this delicious – and very pretty – tart!

Thanks so much for pointing out the vanilla pod bit. I’ve corrected it on the ingredients list, as forgot to add it there.
Thrilled you enjoyed the recipe. I made another one this weekend with raspberries, which disappeared a bit too quickly!

I remember turning on heater in July last year in San Francisco. It was so cold and I wear sweater at home at night. The weather has been very strange everywhere. Here in Japan, it’s rainy season but we rarely have rain. It worked well for our stay, but it’s been very strange. Love your abundant strawberry in the tart. Pretty and delicious at the same time!

Can’t believe your writing here while on your precious holiday in Japan, Nami. Thanks for popping by. Yes, so strange the weather all around but finally the sun is catching up as it should in Paris. It’s wonderful here! Enjoy the rest of your family break.


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