Updated: Jun 27
I don't think I have met a Norwegian who isn't a lover of strawberries. And all Norwegians will tell you that Norwegian strawberries are simply the best in the world (verdens beste). The moment strawberries are in season everyone in Norway is eating them and as much as I love strawberries in their most natural state, I also love to help them become the star of their own dish.
Strawberry tart is not at all a Norwegian recipe (tarte aux fraises is a French classic), but it certainly is part of our Nordic life. I've been making this recipe for the last 25 years and now I am in Norway I love the blending of French cuisine and Norwegian ingredients. It's beautiful and delicious in it's simplicity, and a summery fruit tart that features at almost all of our family gatherings in the summer.
Although the recipe looks a little long-winded, it is really just 3 components - a pastry case, custard filling, and strawberries on the top. Of course, if you are short of time or simply don't want to make all three parts of the tart you can use a ready made tart case and some whipped cream in place of the crème patissiere.
Jordbærterte (Strawberry Tart) Serves 6
140g / 5 oz plain, all purpose flour
85g / 3 oz butter
55g / 2 oz sugar
2 egg yolks
25g / 1 oz plain all purpose flour
55g / 2 oz sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240ml / 0.5 pt milk
300g / 10.5 oz fresh strawberries
A few tablespoons of strawberry or apricot jam (optional)
To make the pastry, put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor and blend until it looks like fine crumbs. Add the egg yolks and pulse until it starts to form a ball. Remove from the food processor and gently knead together into a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you want to get ahead with the tart you can make the pastry a good day before and leave it in the fridge until you need it.
If you would rather make the pastry by hand, sift the flour and sugar onto a clean surface into a mound and make a well in the centre. Cut the butter into small pieces and put it in the well in the flour with the egg yolks. Working with your fingertips, rub in the butter and egg yolks into the flour and sugar pulling down the flour gently from the sides of the well. This will take a little time but as you work the dough you will see it beginning to come together. Once you have a nice smooth dough, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
To make the crème patissiere, heat the milk and vanilla extract together until steaming. In a bowl beat together the sugar, flour, egg yolk and whole egg. Once the milk is hot, pour it gently onto the egg mixture and stir as you are doing it. Sieve it back into a clean pan and heat slowly to boiling point. You will need to stir it continuously and it will form some lumps just before it boils. Don't panic as the lumps miraculously disappear. Boil for a couple of minutes stirring all the time until it no longer tastes of flour. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill completely. I like to sieve my crème patissiere into the bowl from the pan to ensure it's nice and smooth.
Preheat your oven to 180C/355F
Remove your pastry from the fridge and roll out to about a 35cm circle. Line a 25cm tart tin with the pastry carefully pushing it into the corners and the edges. Trim off the excess. Using a fork gently prick the base of the tart all over. Take a circular piece of greaseproof paper slightly larger than the tart and scrunch it up. Unscrunch and place it on top of the pastry tart. Now fill the greaseproof paper with either ceramic baking beans or dried beans (I use dried beans and they are just as effective). Bake in the centre of the oven for about 10 minutes until the pastry is set. Remove the paper and the baking beans and return to the oven until it is a nice golden brown all over. Cool for a few minutes in the tart tin before carefully and gently removing onto your serving plate.
To assemble the tart, give the crème patissiere a beat to loosen it up and fill the tart case with it, smoothing the top. Cut the green tops off the strawberries and cut them in half. Arrange the strawberries in a circular pattern on the top of the tart. If you want to add a professional flourish to the top of your tart, warm up some strawberry or apricot jam until a little fluid (not hot!) and using a pastry brush paint the strawberries and tart edges with this glaze to give a lovely shine.
Vær så god!
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