These beauties will be met with oohs, aahs and ooh-la-las – and they taste every bit as good as the ones that grace the windows of Parisian patisseries.
250ml whole milk
200ml double cream
80g caster sugar
2 medium free-range eggs
2 tbsp Cointreau orange liqueur (or other similar triple sec liqueur)
Grated zest 1 orange
175g strawberry jam
1kg strawberries, hulled
Lemon juice to taste
For the pastry cases
250g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
175g icing sugar, sifted
2 medium free-range eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
Grated zest 2 oranges
500g plain flour, plus extra to dust
Pour the milk and cream into a pan and heat until just boiling, then remove from the heat. Meanwhile, put the cornflour and sugar in a mixing bowl, whisk to remove any lumps, then whisk in the eggs until smooth. Pour half the hot milk mixture over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the remaining milk mixture and put the pan over a low-medium heat. Whisk until thickened, smooth and glossy (about 3 minutes), then remove from the heat and beat in the Cointreau and orange zest. Pour into a bowl, cover with cling film touching the surface (to prevent a skin forming) and leave to cool, then chill for 2-3 hours (see Make Ahead).
For the pastry, put the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer fitted with
a paddle attachment and mix on a low speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula, then mix again, adding the eggs gradually until combined. Add the orange zest and flour and mix until just combined, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, ensuring there are no lumps of butter left. Shape the dough into a rectangle, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, cream the butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or electric hand mixer, then beat in the ingredients as above.)
Lightly flour a work surface, halve the chilled dough and roll each piece to a 20cm x 30cm x 3mm thick oblong. Put on a baking sheet, stack between sheets of baking paper and chill for 30 minutes.
Once chilled and still on baking paper, use a saucer or cup as a guide and cut out 6 x 15cm discs from each sheet. Carefully line each tart case with a disc of pastry and trim off any excess (see tip). Chill for an hour.
Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. Line the tart cases with baking paper and ceramic baking beans (or uncooked rice), put on baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes. Remove baking beans/rice and paper and bake for 5 minutes until the pastry feels sandy. Cool in the tins.
Set aside 100g strawberry jam for the glaze and divide the remaining jam equally among the cooled cases. When the pastry cream is chilled, transfer to the piping bag and pipe the tarts three-quarters full, covering the jam.
Pick the best (and similar in size) strawberries to decorate the tarts. Put a whole strawberry, tip upwards, in the centre of each tart, then halve the remaining ones and arrange around the central strawberry.
Melt the reserved 100g strawberry jam in a small pan with a splash of water and a squeeze of lemon juice and stir until smooth. Brush over the strawberries to glaze. Serve as dessert or as part of an afternoon tea.