Strawberry and White Chocolate Tart in Almond Pastry

Ingredients

  • 300 g (10 oz) plain flour
  • 100 g (4 oz) ground almonds
  • 175 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 50 g (2 oz) icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
  • 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • iced water, as necessary
  • 200 g (7 oz) white chocolate
  • 1 kg (2lbs) strawberries
  • 5 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
  • 600 mls (1 pint) whipping cream – optional

Method

Sift the flour and ground almonds. Rub in the butter, stir in the sugar and add the vanilla essence, egg and enough water to bind to a smooth dough. Cover and chill for half an hour or so. Roll out the pastry and line a greased and floured 25 cm (10 inch) loose-bottomed flan tin or ring set on a prepared baking sheet. The ground almonds make this quite a fragile pastry, and if you find it difficult to roll out, press it over the base and up the side of the prepared tin. Trim off the edges of pastry, and prick all over with a fork. Line with foil or greaseproof and cover the base with ceramic baking ‘beans’ or dried beans.

Bake ‘blind’ (empty) in a preheated oven at 180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4, for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and lining paper and return the pastry to the oven for 5 to 8 minutes more to complete the cooking, pricking it again if it has puffed up. Remove from the ring and cool on a wire rack.

Melt the white chocolate gently in a bowl set over hot water and brush all over the inside of the cold pastry case. Once it has set, you can fill the tart. If you wish you can crush most of the strawberries, once hulled, with the whipped cream and pile into the tart, decorating the top with the best whole strawberries, in which case you will not need the redcurrant glaze. Alternatively, pack the strawberries in the pastry, pointing skywards. Melt the redcurrant jelly, allow to cool slightly but not set. Brush it over the strawberries. Serve the whipped cream separately, or, if you prefer, pouring cream, crème fraiche, vanilla ice cream or Greek yoghurt.

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