Strawberry Custard Tart

This strawberry custard tart has a shortbread pastry case, a creamy custard filling, topped with fresh strawberries and mint. The combination of strawberry and custard is simple, but it’s a wonderful pairing.

This post is sponsored by Westgold butter.

sliced strawberry custard tart.

This recipe is based on a classic tarte aux fraises, a French strawberry tart. The tart shell is made from Pâte Sablée, a sweet shortcrust pastry. It’s dough known for its delicate, crumbly, and sandy texture, where it gets its name – “sablée” translates to “sandy” in French.

This dough is like a rich cookie dough, due to its high butter and sugar content. I’ve used Westgold butter, which is creamy, rich, and perfect for shortbread pastry.  It’s made with milk from grass-fed cows, farmed on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, and uses a traditional churning process. 

Then the homemade custard filling is a traditonal crème pâtissière, made with egg yolks for richness and a little more butter. The finished tart is decorated with fresh strawberries, and I love adding a little mint for color and freshness. 

close up of slice of strawberry custard tart.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need for this strawberry tart. Find the ingredient amounts listed in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Pâte Sablée

  • Westgold unsalted butter – You want the butter to have at least 80% butterfat so it’s nice and rich. Westgold butter is predominantly made from the milk of Jersey cows which are known to produce creamy milk that’s naturally high in butterfat.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar
  • Almond flour – adds a little texture. If you don’t have this, you can use all-purpose flour instead. 
  • Salt 

Crème Pâtissière

  • Whole milk: The base of the vanilla pastry cream filling.
  • Sugar: Just an ordinary granulated white sugar.
  • Cornstarch: The thickener.
  • Large egg yolks: Makes a rich custard. Leftover egg whites can be saved and used for meringue!
  • Vanilla:  For that deep, aromatic flavor. You can use a scraped vanilla pod, vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. 
  • Salt: Flavor enhancer
  • Westgold unsalted butter: The butter adds a little shine and richness and enhances the creamy texture.

Topping

  • Fresh strawberries, mint leaves and powdered sugar.
side view of strawberry tart.

Equipment

​A 9 ½ inch (24cm) tart tin with removable bottom.

​Method

​Pâte Sablée

dry ingredients in a bowl.

In a bowl, combine all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, almond flour and salt.

hand cutting butter into pastry.

Add cold cubed butter and cut it into the flour using a pastry cutter until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs.

crumbly butter and flour.

Then switch to your fingerprints and rub the butter into the flour until it’s sandy.

egg whisked into dough.

Whisk an egg in a small bowl to break it up, then add it to the dry ingredients. 

hand mixing pastry.

Use a fork to combine it into a crumbly mixture, then switch to using your fingertips and palm of your hand, press it together until it makes a smooth dough.

hand rolling pastry.

Once you’ve made a soft dough, place the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll it out until it’s just under ⅛ inch (2.5mm) thick. 

Let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Creme patissiere

 In a medium saucepan, heat the milk on medium heat until it is just at a simmer – don’t let it boil.

hand stirring milk.

You’ll see a collection of tiny bubbles accumulating around the edge of the saucepan.  

whipped egg yolks in a glass bowl.

While the milk is warming, in a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Whisk them together until glossy and smooth.

hot milk being whisked into egg yolks.

Add the hot milk mixture in a steady stream to the egg mixture while whisking vigorously.

yellow vanilla custard.

Return the combined mixture to the saucepan over medium heat. Cook the vanilla custard, whisking constantly until it starts to bubble.

Once it starts bubbling, it will begin to thicken. Keep it at a bubble don’t stop whisking for around 1 minute.

Take it off the heat and whisk in the butter until completely combined.

Pour the hot pastry cream into a clean bowl. If you want an extra silky smooth texture, you can push it through a fine mesh sieve first.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to avoid a skin forming and let it come to room temperature. Afterwards, place it in the refrigerator until needed. 

custard for strawberry tart.

​Baking the pastry 

After resting the dough in the fridge for an hour, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Remove it and peel off the top parchment paper.

Flip the dough into a 9 1/2 inch (24cm) tart pan, remove the other parchment sheet and gently press it into the pan. If there are any cracks, you can repair them by pressing them closed with your finger tips. 

trimming off tart shell.
fork pricking pastry.

Trim excess dough and prick the bottom with a fork. Chill the tart shell for at least 2 hours. This is important to avoid the pastry shrinking in the oven. 

After chilling, preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C) 

Bake the tart shell for approximately 35-40 minutes until golden brown and baked through. Let it cool to room temperature.

​Assembling the tart

Once the tart shell is at room temperature and the custard is cold, you can assemble the tart.

offset spatula spreading custard.

Give the chilled custard a quick whisk to loosen it up, then scoop it into the tart shell. Use a spoon or offset spatula to spread it out.

hand putting mint leaves on strawberry slices.

Garnish the top of the custard with sliced strawberries however you like.

Chill the pie until you’re ready to serve it. Once ready to serve, add on a few fresh mint leaves and dust with icing sugar.

Alternatively, you can also brush the strawberries with a little bit of warmed strawberry jam or apricot jam instead of powdered sugar.  

close up of slice of tart.

Make ahead 

  • The pastry dough can be made and refriegrated up to 2 days in advance, or frozen for up to 3 months in advance. The tart crust can be baked up to a day in advance and stored at room temperature until needed.
  • The pastry cream can be made up to 2 days in advance. Keep rerigerated until ready to assemble. 

More strawberry recipes

You might like these strawberry recipes too!

sliced strawberry custard tart.

Strawberry Custard Tart

Elien Lewis
This strawberry custard tart has a shortbread pastry case, a creamy custard filling, topped with fresh strawberries and mint.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 10
Calories 443 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Pâte Sablée

  • 220 g all-purpose or pastry flour
  • 60 g powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons almond flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 113 g unsalted butter cold
  • 1 large egg

Crème Pâtissière

  • 360 g whole milk
  • 65 g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or scraped seeds of a vanilla bean
  • 30 g cornstarch
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 30 g unsalted butter

Topping

  • 500 g fresh strawberries
  • Mint leaves
  • Powdered sugar for dusting or warmed strawberry jam for brushing.

Instructions
 

Pâte Sablée

  • In a bowl, combine all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, almond flour and salt.
  • Add cold cubed butter and cut it into the flour using a pastry cutter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Whisk an egg in a small bowl to break it up, then add it to the dry ingredients. 
  • Use a fork to combine it into a crumbly mixture, then switch to using your fingertips and palm of your hand, press it together until it makes a smooth dough. It will be dry initially but don't add water, as this will make the pastry tough.
  • Once you've made a soft dough, place the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll it out until it's just under ⅛ inch (2.5mm) thick. 
  • Let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Crème Pâtissière

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the milk on medium heat until it is just at a simmer – don't let it boil.
  • While the milk is warming, in a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Whisk them together until glossy and smooth. Place the bowl on a dampened kitchen towel to stop it from slipping around for this next step. 
  • Add the hot milk mixture in a steady stream to the egg mixture while whisking vigorously.
  • Return the combined mixture to the saucepan over medium heat. Cook the vanilla custard, whisking constantly until it starts to bubble.
  • Once it starts bubbling, it will begin to thicken. Keep it at a bubble don't stop whisking for around 1 minute.
  • Take it off the heat and whisk in the butter until completely combined.
  • Pour the hot pastry cream into a clean bowl. If you want an extra silky smooth texture, you can push it through a fine mesh sieve first.
  • Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to avoid a skin forming and let it come to room temperature. Afterwards, place it in the refrigerator until needed. 

​Baking the pastry 

  • Let the chilled dough round sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Remove it and peel off the top parchment paper.
  • Flip the dough into a 9 1/2 inch (24cm) tart pan, remove the other parchment sheet and gently press it into the pan. If there are any cracks, you can repair them by pressing them closed with your finger tips. 
  • Trim excess dough and prick the bottom with a fork.
  • Chill the tart shell now for at least 2 hours. This is important to avoid the pastry shrinking in the oven. 
  • After chilling, preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C) 
  • Bake the tart shell for approximately 35-40 minutes until golden brown and baked through. Let it cool to room temperature.

​Assembling the tart

  • Once the tart shell is at room temperature and the custard is cold, you can assemble the tart.
  • Give the chilled custard a quick whisk to loosen it up, then scoop it into the tart shell. Use a spoon or offset spatula to spread it out.
  • Garnish the top of the custard with sliced strawberries however you like.
  • Chill the pie until you're ready to serve it. Once ready to serve, add on a few fresh mint leaves and dust with icing sugar. Alternatively, you can also brush the strawberries with a little bit of warmed strawberry jam or apricot jam instead of powdered sugar. 

Notes

Measurements – Both grams and US cup sizes are provided. Use the toggle on the recipe card to switch between the two.
Cook the custard long enough. It’s crucial to cook the mixture long enough to deactivate amylase, an enzyme in egg yolks that can break down starch and cause the custard to become soupy as it cools. Once the custard thickens and bubbles appear, you must cook and whisk continuously for a full minute. This will neutralize the amylase.
Make ahead 
  • The pastry dough can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance, or frozen for up to 3 months in advance. The tart crust can be baked up to a day in advance and stored at room temperature until needed.
  • The pastry cream can be made up to 2 days in advance. Keep refrigerated until ready to assemble. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 443kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 8gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 159mgSodium: 303mgFiber: 2gSugar: 33g
Keyword custard tart, Strawberry Tart
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