Monday, August 22, 2011

Strawberry Tart

This strawberry tart has been in my "To-Do" list ever since Fruit Paradise set foot in Singapore.  Their fruit tarts must be the prettiness, drool-worthy tarts on earth.  They look so gorgeous with the artistically-layers of fruits and cream on the tart.  It's simply a piece of art that you are savoring.

Sad to say, beneath the beautiful appearance lacks the substance of a nice fruit tart.  If you have ever tried a slice of their fruit tart (and burn a hole in your pocket!), you will know what I mean.  Once you dig into the tart, you will be "dropped" from PARADISE... ouch!  There are only a FEW miserable slices of fruit, a dry slice of sponge and the bulk of it is cream, cream and more CREAM with a thick pastry base (I need to exert considerable strength for my fork to cut through the base).  More beautiful pictures of fruit paradise tarts and review over at this blog.  Utterly disappointed!  This is far very different from the cakes and pastries that I had enjoyed in Japan.

Amazing selection of cakes, pastries & desserts at Japan's basement supermarkets.  

I wanted to create a similar fruit tart, but with lesser cream and packed with more fruits and flavour.  Using the basic sweet pastry crust, I carefully filled the crust with a layer of light pastry cream.  Next, a thin slice of sponge cake with a thin coat of pastry cream, topped with strawberries slices.  Spread a layer of whipped cream to cover the strawberries before placing another thin slice of sponge cake on top.  Repeat layering of whipped cream, strawberries slices and a final coat of whipped cream to cover up the tart.  Garnish with strawberries slices and brush over with apricot gel.   

Appearance-wise, my strawberry tart is nothing close to being in paradise.  But, I am so thrilled and pleased that this is definitely much tastier than the one that I had at Fruit Paradise.  The soft sponge, strawberries and cream combination is heavenly, they simply melt in the mouth and makes my heart melt too!  And the pastry base is so thin and delicate that I am so worried that my tart may fall apart... thanks goodness... it did not fail me ^_^  (I brushed a thin layer of egg white on the tart at the last 15 minutes of baking.  This acts as a protective film against the pastry cream/fillings on top and prevent it from turning soggy).

I'm leaving the recipe to the end of this post, as it involves quite a fair bit of steps to put this tart together.  But this is time and effort well-spent cos I am really pleased with the end result.  I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of "Not the Kitchen Sink!".  

(makes one 8" tart)

Pastry base
180g plain flour

2 tsp caster sugar
90g unsalted butter
2 to 3 tbsp water
A pinch of salt
A little egg white (for coating the partially-baked tart)

Same method as here.

Whipped Cream
500ml diary whipping cream, cold from fridge
2 tsp gelatin powder + 2 tbsp water (melt together and leave it aside to cool)

1) Place the mixing bowl (for whipping the cream) in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Get ready some iced cubes or iced water.

2) Pour the whipping cream into the cold mixing bowl and place it over a bigger bowl filled with some iced cubes and water.

3) Whisk the cream at moderately high speed (hand-mixer) till soft peak.  Pour in the gelatin mixture and continue to whisk at high speed till stiff peak.  

4) Use immediately, or cover and keep in fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.

Note: I have some leftover whipped cream after making the tart.  But, it's better to prepare a little bit more, then having to rush to prepare more whipped cream in the last minute.

Pastry cream
250ml milk
2 egg yolks
50g sugar
2 tbsp custard powder
1/2 tsp rum extract (or vanilla extract)

1) Bring the milk to a gentle boil.  Remove from heat.

2) Mix egg yolks, sugar and custard powder together.  Stir in 2 to 3 tbsp of the warm milk, mix well and stir in another 2 to 3 tbsp of milk.  Pour the mixture into the remaining warm milk.

3) Cook the custard mixture over low heat and keep whisking it (manually using a balloon whisk) until the custard thickens.  This takes around 1 to 2 minutes.

4) Remove from heat, add in the rum extract and continue to whisk till the mixture cools down (to speed up the cooling process, you can place the pot of custard over a basin of cold water while whisking it).

5) Place a piece of cling wrap over the custard (touching it) to prevent a skin from forming on the custard.  Once the custard cools down, keep chill in the fridge.  

6) When ready to assemble the tart, take out the pastry cream and fold in some whipped cream (I used about 1 part whipped cream to 4 parts pastry cream).  Adding whipped cream gives a  lighter and smoother texture to the pastry cream.

Note: Can replace custard powder with plain flour.  But I prefer the taste of the custard powder

Sponge cake
(makes an 8" sponge )

(A) Whisk at high speed:
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
Pinch of salt

(B) Mix and sift together:
110g top flour
20g corn flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

(C) Mix together:
50ml milk
50g melted butter
1 tsp rum extract

1) Whisk (A) together at high speed for about 5 to 7 minutes (depends on mixer) till it tripled in volume.  Switch to low speed for another 1 to 2 minutes.

2) Gently fold in (B) in three batches.

3) Pour in (C) and mix well till you have a shiny batter.

4) Pour the batter into lined 8" round pan and bake in preheated oven at 175C for about 35 to 40 minutes.

5) Transfer the sponge cake on rack to cool completely.  Wrap the cake with cling wrap and keep chill in fridge for a few hours or overnight, before taking out to cut into 4 slices, horizontally (Note:  Chilling the cake makes it easier to slice, without the crumbs falling out).

6) Trim the sponge slices into 7" and 5" rounds.

Syrup (for brushing on sponge)
2 tbsp caster sugar + 50ml water
2 tbsp rum

Melt sugar in water (I microwaved on high for about 90 seconds), cool, then add in the rum.

Fresh Strawberry (about 500g punnet)
Select a handful of even-sized strawberries (about half the punnet). Slice them thinly (these are for garnish on top).  Cut the remaining strawberries into slices.

The fun begins..... ASSEMBLE the tart:

1) After the tart cools completely, I remove it from the tart ring (to make sure the biscuit is not stuck on the ring).  Before assembling the tart, I put the tart base back into the ring to protect the tart base from cracking or giving way when I start to pile on the fillings.

2) First, fill the bottom with pastry cream (about half the height of the tart base).  

3) Take a slice of sponge.  Brush both sides with syrup and place the sponge on the pastry cream.  Spread a thin layer of pastry cream on the sponge and arrange strawberry slices on it.

4) Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the strawberries and sponge.  

5) Brush syrup on the second piece of sponge.  Place the sponge on top, spread another thin layer of whipped cream and arrange the strawberry slices on it.  

6) Finally, spread a thicker layer of whipped cream all over the tart and carefully arrange strawberry slices on the tart.  Brush the strawberries with apricot gel.

7) Chill the tart in the fridge for a few hours for it to set, before removing it from the tart ring (I chill it for about 4 to 5 hours).


  1. Fantastic cake,So creamy and summery.Can't wait for my strawberries to try thisl:)Nice photos;)

  2. Wow, I'm drooling here...looks pretty and delicious!!

  3. Fong, it looks absolutely delicious! Loved how much strawberry you were able to put in the tart and loved the use of sponge cakes inside the tart! And the photos of the cakes you had in Japan made me go o.0 !!!

  4. Very nice and delicious tart you have made! I have not been to Fruit Paradise, but I know nothing beats homemade ones. I am sure yours is way better than any store bought ones :)

  5. Dzoli: Thanks, I think this tart will be lovely too with NZ kiwi fruits.

    yummylittlecooks: Thanks for your compliments!

    Janine: Oh yes... I missed my sashimi and pastries ....

    HHB: Truly... this tart has an added ingredient that is missing from store bought .... "LOVE"


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