Strawberry Chocolate Tart

I was thinking about what to prepare for a special friend of mine last week, and the idea of making a French-style strawberry tart came into my mind. To add a touch of uniqueness to this fruity tart, I decided to elevate its flavour to another level by adding dark chocolates. Normally, fresh strawberry tart is filled with vanilla pastry cream, but I think chocolate would turn it into a much richer decadent treat.

A classic French strawberry tart, or tarte aux fraises in French, consists of three major components — the buttery tart crust, filled with velvety pastry cream and, of course, juicy refreshing strawberries elegantly arranged on top. To make a chocolate version, cocoa powder is added to the tart dough. In addition, the pastry cream is enriched with dark chocolate. If you would like to make an original strawberry tart, just follow the same recipe but omit the cocoa powder and dark chocolate.

I hope you enjoy this strawberry chocolate tart as much as I do, and I believe you will surely wow your guest with this treat.

So, get your ingredients and tools ready, and let’s BAKE!

Ingredients: (one 18cm round tart)

(A) Tart dough

  • Cake flour 100g
  • Cocoa powder 15g
  • Butter (cold) 55g
  • Icing sugar 25g
  • Whipping cream (or milk) 15 – 20g

(B) Creme patissiere (Pastry cream)

  • Milk 250g
  • Sugar 60g
  • Egg yolk 4 no.
  • Corn flour 22g
  • Dark chocolate 100g

(C) Toppings: Fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and neutral gel

Methods:

  1. To make chocolate tart crust: In a mixing bowl, put in cake flour, cocoa powder and icing sugar, and give it a mix.
  2. Add cold butter cubes. Use a scrapper to cut the butter into smaller pea size pieces, and at the same time, toss and coat the butter with the dry ingredients. Then, use finger tips to rub in the butter until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add whipping cream to the mixture and mix to form a dough. Do not knead the dough or over-mix.
  4. Flatten the tart dough. Cover and chill it in refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  5. Then, roll out the chilled tart dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper until you get an even thickness of 3mm. Return the tart dough to refrigerator and chill for another 30 minutes. (Note: Lightly flour your fingers and the working surface with bread flour to prevent sticking.)
  6. Prepare a 18cm round tart mould. Transfer the dough onto the mould. Press the dough gently against the sides of tart mould. By using a knife, trim the edges to fit the tart mould. The trimmings and remaining dough can be used to make smaller tarts.
  7. Use a fork to pierce some holes at the bottom of the tart crust. Freeze and rest the tart crust for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat oven at 180 degree Celsius.
  9. Press parchment paper against the tart crust. Fill with baking beans/ pie weight/ dried beans/ uncooked rice, making sure they are fully distributed over the entire surface.
  10. Bake at lower rack for 15 minutes. Then, remove parchment paper and baking weight.
  11. Return tart crust to oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the bottom of tart shells are golden brown and cooked. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
  12. To make chocolate pastry cream: Bring milk to a gentle simmer.
  13. Meanwhile, mix egg yolk with sugar until most of the sugar is dissolved. Add corn starch and mix well.
  14. Once the milk is simmering, remove it from heat. Slowly add hot milk to the egg mixture while whisking continuously.
  15. Return the custard mixture to the saucepan, and cook at medium heat. Whisk constantly until the pastry cream thickens, taking care to reach all parts of the saucepan to avoid burning.
  16. Once the cream thickens and boils, whisk vigorously for one more minute.
  17. Remove pastry cream from heat. Add chocolate to the hot pastry cream, and mix well.
  18. Pour chocolate pastry cream onto a tray and cover with cling film. Let cool completely in the refrigerator.
  19. To assemble: Rinse the strawberries with water and pat dry. Remove stems and leaves. Cut straight down from the tip through the middle to part it in half.
  20. Next, take chocolate pastry cream out from refrigerator, and mix to loosen the cream. Transfer pastry cream to a piping bag.
  21. Pipe a layer of chocolate pastry cream into the tart crust, filling about 80% to the edge.
  22. Arrange strawberries on top, covering the chocolate pastry cream. Decorate with a few blueberries and blackberries. Brush fruits with a thin layer of neutral gel.
  23. Chill the whole tart for about an hour to set. Slice and serve.
The brushing of neutral glaze gives the strawberries a pretty sheen. If you couldn’t get hold of neutral glaze, apricot jam or strawberry jam would work just as well.

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