On a balmy, sensual, early summer night in the season now past the dashing Mr P and I were invited to a dinner, eaten out doors in the charming garden on a very good friend. She asked for a dessert for 6 and, it being the season of all things fresh and lovely, what better than an ensemble exploding with fresh strawberries. Now, I’m not going to give you an ingredient by ingredient recipe for these little tarts. It’s simply a version of a typical little fruit tart, not dissimilar to these, or these, using a pate sable and a type of nut custard, like frangipane but with pistachios instead of almonds in both cases. I love including a fruit in puddings, as you’ve no doubt noticed. I tend to keep the sugar content a bit lower on the rest of the dessert and rely a lot on the sweetness in the fruit instead. I think the ultimate difference with these tarts is that the tart shell is baked with the pistachio-cream, then when the tarts are cool the fresh strawberries are added on top. Somehow, a fresh strawberry is infinitely better than a cooked one on a hot summer evening, don’t you agree?
*note: if you’re battling to get the strawberries to stand nicely on the cool tarts, heat a little strawberry jam and use as a type of glue between the fresh strawberry pieces.
Strawberry Pistachio Tarts
for the pate sable:
200g butter, softened
⅓ cup icing sugar, sifted
⅓ cup shelled pistachios
1 tsp vanilla essence
400ml plain flour
for the pistachio cream:
½cup shelled pistachios
⅓ cup sugar
60 ml unsalted butter, softened
Punnet fresh strawberries
3 or 4 Tbls strawberry jam (preferably an all fruit jam)
¼cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
– first, grind or blend or process the pistachios, in two separate batches for the pastry and the creme, until they are very fine (think ground almonds)
make the pate sable:
– beat the butter with the ground pistachios, salt and sugar until creamy.
– add the egg, vanilla and 1 Tbsp of the flour and beat until smooth.
– add the rest of the flour and combine to form a sticky dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
make the pistachio creme:
– beat ground pistachios, egg, sugar and butter until smooth. Refrigerate 10 mins until firm.
– preheat the oven to 375˚F
– grease and flour 6 individual tart tins (about 5″ diameter) or, alternatively, one large 9 or 10 inch dish.
– when the pastry is well chilled, roll it out on a floured surface to about 5mm thickness. Line each tine with pastry, trimming away excess. Keep combining and re-rolling the scraps of dough until all the tins are lined.
– prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork a couple of times.
– divide the pistachio creme between each tart Shell and smooth out.
– bake for about 20 mins until the pastry and the top of the pistachio creme is a lovely pale gold.
– allow the tarts to cool for 10 mins before removing from tins.
– wash, hull and halve the strawberries. Gently heat the strawberry jam.
– when the tarts are completely cooled top with halved strawberries. Brush a little jam onto the berries of each tart. Top with a sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.