The first dessert I ever made was a strawberry tart – made with dough that was bought frozen, and pastry cream from a mix, and with the strawberries covered in a glaze. I was pretty proud of that tart, back in the day! Here I decided to do another version of that tart, this time with a surprising twist: a basil-infused pastry cream. Because it’s a fairly simple recipe, make sure to use beautiful, sweet strawberries at their peak and organic basil.
Yield: about 8 servings
- 175 g unsalted butter
- 45 g almond powder
- 120 g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Pinch of salt
- 70 g whole eggs, lightly beaten
- 290 g T55 flour
- Make the dough the day before. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until softened.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the almond powder, the sifted confectioners’ sugar and the salt. Add the almond mixture to the butter, mixing until homogenous. Add 1/3 of the eggs and 1/3 of the flour. Mix 1 minute, then repeat with the remaining 2/3 of each. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and allow to rest in refrigerator.
- 350 g fresh strawberries
- 62 g granulated sugar, divided
- 1 vanilla bean
- 10 g pectin Nh
- 35 g lemon juice
- In a saucepan, cook the strawberries and 52 g of the sugar and the vanilla bean. When the temperature reaches 100°F (38°C), add the pectin and the remaining 10 g sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, then add the lemon juice. Pour into a tray to a thickness of 1.2ʺ (3 cm) and reserve in the refrigerator, making sure it’s on a flat surface.
- 400 g milk
- 12 g basil leaves
- Bring the milk to a boil; add the basil leaves and allow to infuse in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- The next day, strain out the leaves.
Basil Pastry Cream
- 340 g Basil Milk
- 60 g egg yolks
- 67 g granulated sugar
- 30 g pastry cream powder
- 34 g unsalted butter
- In a saucepan, bring the Basil Milk to a boil.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and pastry cream powder. Pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the yolk mixture and whisk well. Pour this mixture into the remaining milk and cook for 4 minutes, allowing it to boil for at least 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Transfer to container, cover and reserve.
- 250 g heavy cream
- 30 g confectioners’ sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla bean pulp to medium peaks.
- Fresh strawberries, as needed
- Lime zest or edible flowers
- Butter eight 2.7ʺ (7 cm) tart rings. Roll out the tart dough to a thickness of 0.12ʺ (3 mm), then cut out 8 circles that are 3.15ʺ (8 cm) in diameter and 8 strips that are 0.8ʺ (2 cm) wide. Press the dough rounds into tart rings, then place the strips of sweet dough around the edges and trim away any excess dough. Reserve in refrigerator
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the tart shells for 20 minutes.
- Cut rounds from the Strawberry Marmalade with a 1.4ʺ (35-cm) cutter, and reserve them in the freezer.
- Cut some fresh strawberries and add them to the bottom of the tart shells. Top with the Basil Pastry Cream and smooth the tops. Place the Strawberry Marmalade rounds off-center on top of the pastry cream. Pipe the Vanilla Chantilly with a St. Honore tip around the Strawberry Marmalade. Garnish with lime zest or edible flowers.
Dessert photo by Andreas Pita
(This recipe appeared in the Summer 2023 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
About Andreas Pita
Andreas Pita is the head pastry chef of Ladurée Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, CA. Andreas derived inspiration from his mother’s love of baking from a young age. By the time he was 10 years old, he already knew he wanted to be a pastry chef. His signature style is simple. He loves creating good classic pastry with an added twist.