This delicious tart is made with a flaky shortcrust pastry, a creamy custard filling and topped with fresh seasonal strawberries. This light and refreshing tart makes the perfect plant-based treat for any occasion!
The strawberry season begins in the UK, which means supermarkets have started selling fresh British strawberries. I don’t know about you, but when fruits are in season, I like to make the most of them, so when I came across a big crate of juicy looking strawberries during my last trip to the supermarket, I had to get them! Strawberries taste great just as they are, so you don’t really need to do much to them to enjoy them, but one of my favourite ways to incorporate them into my baking is to use them fresh as tart toppings. The combination of flaky shortcrust pastry, creamy custard and fresh strawberries makes a combination that’s hard to resist!
How does this tart taste?
A flaky shortcrust pastry case is filled with a thick and creamy custard and topped with juicy strawberries. This tart tastes light and refreshing, so perfect for the warmer months!
You can either make one large tart for multiple servings or 4 individual tartlets. Other fruit toppings such as blueberries or raspberries can also be used. The shortcrust pastry and custard make the perfect base, so you can experiment with adding different toppings of your choice.
How to store Custard and Strawberry Tart
This tart is best eaten on the day its baked, as the crust will lose its crispness the longer it’s left to wait. If you’re not serving it right away, you can store it for 2-3 days in an airtight container at room temperature. I wouldn’t suggest storing it in the fridge as this case cause the crust to become too hard.
Can this tart be frozen?
I wouldn't recommend freezing this tart as the texture of the custard will become too firm and the crust will lose it's flakiness.
Can I use store-bought shortcrust pastry for this tart?
Yes, ready-to-roll shortcrust pastry can be used instead of making your own. If you want to save even more time, you could use a ready baked pastry crust, but I promise you it won’t taste as good as a homemade pie crust.
What tins to use
I'd recommend using a 8-9 inch tart tin with a removable bottom. The removable bottom makes it much easier to remove the crust from the tin once it's been baked.
Custard and Strawberry Tart ingredients
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – consider it your shopping list!
For the shortcrust pastry:
Plain flour: Make sure to use white all-purpose flour and not self raising flour.
Sugar: You'll need about 2 tbsp granulated sugar to give the shortcrust pastry a subtle sweetness. I would not recommend using a fruit syrup or a sweetener.
Vegan block butter: I've used the Flora vegan butter block, but any plant-based butter will do. The butter will help to give the shortcrust pastry a light and flaky texture. I wouldn’t recommend using margarine as it won’t create the same outcome.
Sunflower or Vegetable oil: I find that adding a bit of oil to the dough helps to give to shortcrust pastry a flakier texture.
For the filling:
Sugar: I've used caster sugar as it dissolves faster than granulated sugar. I wouldn't recommend using fruit syrups as they'll darken the colour of the filling.
Coconut cream: I'd recommend using a thick coconut cream, but if you're using coconut milk instead, make sure to put the can of coconut milk in the fringe at least one hour before using it; the solids will separate from the liquid, so drain away the liquid and use only the thick coconut milk for making the custard.
Lemon juice: A bit of lemon juice will help to balance out the sweetness.
Turmeric: I've used a pinch of turmeric to colour the custard; the amount used is not enough to add any flavour, but if you'd prefer not to use turmeric, you could use a 1/4 teaspoon of yellow food colouring instead, or you could just leave it out.
Vanilla extract: The vanilla extract gives the custard a lovely flavour and aroma.
Almond milk: I've used almond milk, but any plant-based milk will do.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used to thicken the custard and to set the filling.
For the topping:
Strawberries: Make sure to use fresh strawberries for this recipe as frozen berries tend to become too soft once thawed.
How to make custard and strawberry tart
To make the shortcrust pastry, place the flour, sugar, salt, vegan butter, sunflower oil and 3-4 tbsp cold water in a large bowl & mix until the ingredients start to come together. Knead the dough for a few minutes until a smooth dough has formed. Cover the dough with cling film and place in fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/gas mark 4. Sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about ½ cm thickness and create a round shape big enough to fit a 8-9 inch tart tin. Lift the dough away and place into the tart tin. If the dough breaks apart, just cover the cracks with the scrap pieces of dough. Press the edges down, trim away the excess dough and prick the base of the pastry case with a fork.
Line the pastry case with a piece of baking paper. To make it easier to remove the baking beans, make sure that the baking paper is large enough to extend out from the sides of the pastry case. Fill the lined pastry case with baking beans, and then place it in the oven to bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the baking paper and baking beans, and bake for 5 more minutes until lightly golden. Remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling, mix the cornstarch with the almond milk and add it to a saucepan along with the coconut cream, lemon juice, vanilla extract, sugar and turmeric. Let it simmer on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the filling starts to thicken to resemble the consistency of a thick custard. Make sure to stir continually to prevent any lumps from forming.
Pour the filling into the cooked pastry case, and arrange the halved strawberries on top. Leave it to cool down at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then place the tart in the fridge for around 1 hour until the filling has set. Carefully lift away from the tart tin, and place the tart on a serving plate.
Notes and Tips
I’d recommend you use a tart tin with a removable bottom so that the tart is easier to take out of the tin once it’s been baked.
I recommend using the gram measurements rather than the cup conversions. When it comes to baking, accuracy is key, and cup conversions are never as accurate as grams.
For the best, crispy pastry, make sure that you don’t overwork the dough. Before rolling the dough out, place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
When rolling out the dough, make sure to keep it about ½ cm thick – if the pastry is too thick, it won’t cook through, and it’ll be hard to slice.
Make sure your vegan butter and milk are chilled when preparing the shortcrust pastry as it’ll give it a crisper texture when baked.