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Les Petits Chefs make Mini Strawberry Tarts (tartelettes aux fraises)

mini strawberry tarts from In the French kitchen with kids on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis week the Petits Chefs made a mini version of one of my favourite recipes from In the French kitchen with kids: Tarte aux Fraises. Over the years, the boys in my clubs have learned that for our one-hour sessions together, minifying recipes is sometimes what’s needed in order to complete  them in the time we have and, quite honestly, what’s cuter than mini versions of things? (plus, it means you get to eat more, right?!)

I knew that even minifying the recipe, this would be a little ambitious in an hour – making pastry from scratch (without the time to let it sit in the fridge before it baked), making crème pâtissière from scratch, letting that cool and firm up enough to pipe into the (cooled) baked tart shells then decorating with the strawberries – but figured we might as well give it a go. I knew the boys would be up for the challenge and that even if we didn’t get to assemble everything properly, everything would taste amazing!

We got started with the pastry, which the boys are pretty expert at by now.

Kids rolling sweet shortcrust pastry on eatlivetravelwrite.comWe used cookie cutters to get the pastry shells just the right size for the muffin tins

kids cut mini pastry rounds for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.com cutting pastry rounds for tart shells for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.com placing tart shells in muffin tins for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.comAll ready for the oven:

mini tart shells ready to bake for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.comMeanwhile, as those baked, we got to making the crème pâtissière. I had made a batch of this earlier in the day to be sure we had some that was useable. It tends to thicken up pretty well as you cook it initially but does benefit from some time in the fridge. We made a 1/2 batch during class just to show the boys how to do it – and then we had some leftover to taste. #qualitycontrol, am I right?

measuring sugar to make pastry cream for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.com mizing sugar, corn starch and egg yolks for pastry cream for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.com whisking pastry cream for mini strawberry tartsmini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.comPastry cream made (we learned how to push the cream through a metal sieve if there were lumps – a cool hack that can save your pastry cream if you take your eyes off it for 2 seconds – or if your hotplate is ridiculously hot as ours are in the STEM lab!), the boys got to the strawberries…

slicing strawberries for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd once the tart shells were baked and cooled, we learned how to use piping bags full of delicious pastry cream…

kids piping pastry cream into tart shells for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.com piping pastry cream into tart shells for mini strawberry tarts on eatlivetravelwrite.comThey did a great job!

mini strawberry tarts ready for the strawberries on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd the final touch?

mini strawberry tarts with crème pâtissière on eatlivetravelwrite.comAren’t they just adorable?

I’m sharing the recipe today because it’s too good not to! I make this recipe in many of my adult classes and it’s always a hit. Now I know kids can make this too!

Yield: makes 20 tarts

Mini Strawberry Tarts (tartelettes aux fraises)

Mini Strawberry Tarts (tartelettes aux fraises)

Sweet shortcrust pastry tart shells filled with crème pâtissière and topped with fresh strawberries.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

Pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113g, 8 tablespoons, 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, 
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Crème pâtissière:

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g, 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature cut into small pieces

To assemble:

  • 10 large strawberries, sliced in halves lengthways
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water

Instructions

Make the crème pâtissière:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.

2. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan.

3. Once the milk has just reached a boil, pour in a couple of teaspoons of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture and whisk until combined.

4. Slowly pour in the rest of the hot milk, whisking constantly and place the pan over medium-high heat, continuing to whisk.

5. Continue to cook and whisk until the mixture starts to thicken slightly and produce slow large bubbles (around 3 minutes - it should be quite thick) then remove from the heat.

6. Transfer the mix to a clean bowl and whisk gently to cool the mixture down slightly. Let this sit for a few minutes.

7. Whisk in the vanilla, then the butter, a couple of pieces at a time, until completely incorporated.

7. Cover the custard with plastic wrap (the wrap should be touching the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming) and allow the custard to come to room temperature, then refrigerate, until you are ready to use (a minimum of 4 hours). Before you use to fill the tartelettes, give the custard a whisk to loosen it.

Make the pastry:

1. Whisk the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

2. Add the cubed butter and, using your fingertips lightly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles large breadcrumbs with some pieces the size of small peas. You can also use a pastry cutter for this job.

3. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the egg.

4. Mix the egg into the flour using a wooden spoon until the egg is completely mixed in.

5. Add the cream and mix until the dough is firm enough to form a ball when you press the mixture together with your fingers - it might be a little crumbly but form the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

6. Refrigerate for a minimum of hour or up to 3 days in the fridge. You can also freeze the dough, tightly wrapped in plastic for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before you roll and bake.

Bake the pastry cases

1. Remove the disk of dough from the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes so it’s easier to work with. Cut the dough in halves.

2. Lightly flour a large sheet of parchment then place one piece of dough on the parchment, sprinkle it lightly with flour and place a second sheet of parchment paper on top.

3. Roll the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of 1/6 inch (4 mm)

If the dough is soft, you might need to put it back in the fridge to firm up a little before you cut it.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F lightly grease two 12 cup capacity muffin tins with butter.

5. Using a cookie cutter that’s approximately 3 inches (7 cm) in diameter, cut rounds of the dough. One disk of the pastry should make 10 rounds. You will need to gather up and re-roll scraps of the pastry to make sure you get 10 – each time you re-roll, you will need a touch of flour to ensure the (increasingly sticky) pastry does not stick to the parchment. You may need to re-refrigerate the dough once it’s been rolled out if it is very soft and sticky.

6. Use an offset spatula to help you remove the pastry from the parchment and gently place them in the muffin tins. You don’t need to press them right down to the bottom, gravity will ensure they sink to form a little cup. Make sure the pastry rounds are evenly centred in the muffin cups. Place the muffin tin in the fridge while you work with the second piece of dough.

7. Repeat with the second piece of dough and refrigerate the muffin tin and disks for 30 minutes.

8. Lightly prick the bottom of each pastry disk with the tines of a fork or a small, sharp paring knife.

9. Bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden.

10. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

11. Pipe the pastry cream into the centre of each pastry disk then top with a half a strawberry.

12. Mix the jam and boiling water together and gently brush the tops with apricot jam to glaze.

 

 

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So: Do-able in an hour? Definitely with some ninja-organisational skills! Though I had made the pastry cream in advance, we could actually have used the batch we made during class (it’s easier to use when it’s cool though). The boys didn’t complain as they downed giant spoonsful of the stuff and declared it “SO GOOD” !  😉  The pastry could definitely have used a little bit of time in the fridge before it baked so that it didn’t shrink so much but it wasn’t too much of an issue in the end. And, I mean…

Just like in a French pâtisserie, right?

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4 Responses to Les Petits Chefs make Mini Strawberry Tarts (tartelettes aux fraises)

  1. Bill Facker April 11, 2019 at 14:11 #

    Hello, Mardi ! I continue to follow and enjoy your passion for creating beautiful dishes AND admire the fact you are instilling positive guidance into the hearts and minds of young people .. good for you .. keep up the great work!

    • Mardi Michels April 12, 2019 at 06:05 #

      Thank you so much for your continued support and for reading!

  2. Geoff April 11, 2019 at 22:44 #

    These little guys are good… well done LPCs

    • Mardi Michels April 12, 2019 at 06:05 #

      Ah they are but they also need LOTS of organising to keep them on track!

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