Strawberry season will soon be with us, and I can't wait to serve this simple showstopper.
1 sheet shortcrust pastry or a ready made tart case
1 ounce plain/all purpose flour
2 ounces sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 pint milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces strawberries
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 360 degrees F.
Roll out the pastry and line a greased 9-inch pastry case. Be sure to press the pastry down into the corners and then trim the edges neatly. Prick the base with a fork and roughly line with grease-proof paper or parchment paper. Weigh it down with some baking beans or dried beans.
Cook in the oven for 10 minutes until the base is starting to set. Remove the parchment and baking beans and return to the oven until firm and a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the creme patisserie, heat the milk over a medium heat until scalding hot. Add the vanilla extract. Put the flour, sugar, egg and egg yolk in a large bowl and beat together until well blended. Pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, stirring well, and return to the pan. Cook over a medium heat stirring constantly until boiling. Boil gently for 5 minutes. Stir well while cooking or it will catch. Don't be alarmed if it gets a little lumpy during cooking; it's normal. The lumps will go as it cooks out. Remove from the pan from the heat and cool the creme patisserie in a bowl.
To put the tart together, fill the tart case with the cooled creme patisserie (you will need to give it a beat with a wooden spoon), spreading it out nicely in the case. Cut the strawberries in half lengthwise and arrange in concentric rings on top of the custard.
Warm the jam in a small pan over a low heat until it is slightly liquid. Pass through a sieve, giving it a rub with a metal spoon to get all the jam through but keeping the lumps of fruit in the sieve. Allow the jam to cool before painting it over the strawberries with a pastry brush.
Serve with plenty of pouring cream or some creme fraiche.