Gluten-free Strawberry Tart

Prodigal Son

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It is the end of spring and the beginning of summer when fresh, ripe, sweet strawberries are abundant. Just the thing for a cool, fresh strawberry tart. The tart is made by prebaking a pastry shell in a tart ring, or tart pan, covering the base of the pastry shell with a filling (in this case, a pastry cream), and topping it with the fresh strawberries.

Ingredients (pastry shell):
Gluten-free pastry flour mix* 370g
Gum Arabic 2tsp
Salt 1/4tsp
Sugar 55g
Butter 205g (softened, room temp, cut in pieces)
Apple Cider Vinegar 1 1/2tsp (7ml)
Egg (slightly beaten) 100g (approx. 2 large – if necessary, add from another egg to make up weight)
Water (cold, if required) 5 – 10ml (1 – 2tsp)

Pastry cream: (enough to fill the bottom of a 23cm (9in) tart ring)
Gluten-free Flour mix 10g
Cornstarch 10g
Cane Sugar 64g (32g plus 32g)
Eggs 66g (1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk)
Hemp milk 250ml (60ml plus 190ml)
Butter 25g
Vanilla essence 1/2tsp

Strawberries (fresh): 500 - 600g

*Gluten-free pastry flour mix: Brown rice flour 290g; Sweet rice flour 150g; Potato starch 75g; Tapioca starch 210g;
Arrowroot powder; 35g. Total weight: 760g

Method (pastry shell):
Sift flour, add Gum Arabic and mix thoroughly in a bowl.
In a mixer bowl cream butter and salt, at a medium speed for ½ – 1min
Scrape down sides and bottom of mixer bowl; add sugar and combine at low speed for ½min
Add 50g flour, and combine at low speed.
Add Apple cider vinegar; gradually add slightly beaten eggs, and then 50g flour, beating at a low speed until the mixture comes together.
Gradually add rest of the flour, occasionally stopping the machine to scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl, restart and mix until the pastry dough comes together (and if necessary add 1 – 2tsp water, or, more likely, 1 - 3 tbsp of the flour mix (especially during the summer or when it is humid) and allow time to combine) – it may look bitty, will start to come together and clean the sides of the bowl, and will look shiny when handled and pressed together.
Lay a piece of cling film/plastic wrap on a pastry board, place the pastry dough on top of it, press into a ½in (13mm) thick rectangle and cover with cling film/plastic wrap.
Chill pastry dough in a refrigerator for 30mins minimum, or even overnight (if chilling overnight, when you take the dough out the next day, and before you begin to roll it, tap it a few times with the rolling pin, to begin to loosen it up). The pastry dough will keep in the
fridge for a couple of days, or in the freezer for 1 month (if you have frozen it, when you want to use it, take it out and let it rest for 1 hr to come to room temperature).

Place a rectangular piece of parchment paper, at least 4in (10cm) larger than the tart ring, on top of a silmat, worksurface, or pastry board, dust evenly and lightly with flour, along with dusting the rolling pin. The parchment paper serves a couple of functions as will be explained
later.
Cut pastry dough in half (place the other half (covered) back in the refrigerator); cut again into thirds (place two of the thirds (covered) back in the refrigerator); dust hands with flour; roll the dough into a ball and flatten, then roll the pastry three times in one direction, evenly, gently and briskly (i.e., confidently); rotate the pastry a ¼ turn (ensuring that the pastry is not stuck to the board, lift with your hands, turn over and re-flour if necessary); and repeat; and repeat until the pastry forms a rough circle at least 33cm (13in) in diameter and approximately 1/4in (5mm) thick (inevitably the dough will roll into an imperfect circle, and there will be cracks that have a habit of expanding as you roll – just trim off the excess and use to repair any areas short of the required size, press scraps into the gaps and roll in to get the required shape); repeat with the other thirds of dough, and remaining half. The scraps can be rolled up and re-rolled - the pastry is very forgiving – and used for repair work, or saved.

Method (Assembly and baking):
Now come the tricky parts, first, moving the rolled dough to the tart ring and fitting it in. Even with gluten flours this is tricky as the pastry will almost certainly crack – this is OK, it can be repaired. There are a couple of methods that can be used (the choice is up to you, both work). The other tricky part is that tart rings have no base, so whatever you place the dough on inside the ring will become the base – a rectangular piece of parchment paper, at least 3/4in (2cm) wider than the tart ring and at least 33cm (13in) longer so that you can use to move the tart pastry dough around. Or, a much easy means is to use a tart pan with a removeable bottom.

Preheat oven to 200C for 45mins.

Lightly grease, with well-softened butter, the tart rings and bases (if using parchment paper as a base, grease well outside of the ring diameter).
Moving method 1:
First, make sure that the base is central to the tart ring; place a tart ring and its base, upside down, in the centre of the rolled pastry dough; keeping a firm hand on the ring and its base make a quick and confident flip over, and the pastry dough should droop into the centre of the right-side up tart ring; remove the, top parchment paper.

Moving method 2:
First, make sure that the base is central to the tart ring, or tart pan. If using a tart ring, ensure that the parchment paper underneath the pastry dough is well floured and can slide about. Move it, and the rolled pastry dough over to the tart ring and base, holding one edge in your hand pull away the parchment paper with the other hand, and the pastry dough should slide off and droop into the centre of the tart ring, or pan, and make sure that the base is central to the tart ring before pulling away the parchment paper.

Fitting the pastry dough in the ring:
In one hand, gather the edges of pastry dough and move them inwards (to help the pastry dough droop even more into the tart ring, or pan) whilst pressing the dough into the bottom with the other hand; using your fingers move dough into the bottom edges of the ring so that there is a tight fit and work around the ring (inevitably the dough near the rim will begin to tear in some places, just reattach); press the dough to the tart ring sides; using a paring (or narrow bladed) knife trim excess dough to leave a flat edge; where dough is missing, or does not reach the tip of the rim, roll/pinch together some of the excess dough and fit to cover gaps/make up thickness/reinforce the top edge, and smoothing it out (be aware that if the base moves the dough will be pulled with it and tear and need repairing); using the paring knife, or similar, slide the blade between the dough and the tart ring wall so that there is no dough on the edge of the rim (this will make it easier to lift the ring off the baked tart).

If using a tart ring, line a baking tray with parchment paper; move pastry dough filled ring and bases on to it; prick the pastry base a few times (to stop the pastry base lifting it whilst baking).

Place the filled baking tray, or tart pan, in a refrigerator for 30mins before baking (for the butter/pastry to harden).

Baking:
Remove the baking tray from the refrigerator; place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and blind bake the tart shells for 15mins; remove from the oven, and sprinkle a little of the flour mix into the fork holes; lightly brush with water (the resulting paste will seal any holes/cracks); put back in the oven and bake for a further 5mins.
Remove baking tray from the oven; using oven gloves, carefully remove the tart rings; and cool for 20 – 30mins, whilst you make the pastry cream.

Method (pastry cream):
In a bowl (1) add flour, Cornstarch, 32g Cane sugar, and mix. Add 60ml Hemp milk, eggs and whisk together to form a smooth, lemon coloured mixture (the flour and starch are used to bind and stabilize the custard mix).
In a saucepan (2) add 190ml Hemp milk, 32g Cane sugar, butter and vanilla essence. Stir together with a wooden spoon. Place over medium heat and bring to a fast simmer, yet avoid boiling.
Turn off heat. Slowly pour half of the hot milk mixture (2) into the egg mixture (1) and stir constantly with a wire whisk. Pour the resultant mixture (1) back into the saucepan containing the remaining milk mixture (2).
Turn heat back on to medium and stir the pastry cream mixture with a wooden spoon until it is thoroughly blended and smooth. Make sure that wooden spoon reaches everywhere - bottom, sides, and corners, so that the mixture does not burn. Keep the spoon in constant motion. Once you sense that the mixture is slightly thick on the bottom of the saucepan (look at bottom of spoon), remove it from the heat.
Off heat, continue stirring the pastry cream mixture for a further minute, until the mixture is thick, smooth and uniform (this allows a slow and even coagulation of the eggs and will produce a creamy texture).
Return the saucepan to the heat and bring the pastry cream mixture to the boil (to fully incorporate the cornstarch) whilst stirring constantly (this will inactivate the yolk amylase enzyme and will extract starch, and the egg proteins will bond strongly). Cook for a further 1 – 2 mins to overcome any resultant starch flavour.
Pour pastry cream into a cold bowl (3) (otherwise the pastry cream will continue to cook) and place into a larger bowl (4). Fill bowl (4) with cold water to height where pastry cream bowl (3) just begins to float. Initially continue stirring, then stir only occasionally and minimally as the pastry cream cools (as stirring breaks developing starch networks, resulting in a thinner cream).
Once cool, and if not using immediately, cover surface with wax paper, or buttered parchment paper (this will ensure that the pastry cream does not form a skin). Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Pastry cream cannot be frozen, as the starch and protein bonds will break down. Also, in the process of defrosting, the pastry cream will weep, producing moisture, resulting in a runny, rather than stiff, consistency.

Assembly:
Prepare the strawberries by removing any greenery, and washing and drying, if not already done.
Spoon the pastry cream into the base of the tart and spread evenly around; carefully place strawberries flat bottom downwards (pointy end upwards), pressing into the pastry cream around the periphery, then moving inside of that ring and repeating, until finally fitting a strawberry in the middle of the tart.

Time to eat a slice of your strawberry tart dessert. Enjoy on its own, or with cream, or ice cream!!!

View attachment Strwberrytart.jpg
 

Ursus Minor

Jedi Master
(I'm sorry...) :-[

Prodigal son, your tart looks awfully appetizing.

I would actually substitute the 119 grams of cane sugar with roughly 150 grams of xylitol.
That should take care of the sweetness.

I don't know what to make of hemp milk though... ;-)
 

Prodigal Son

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(I'm sorry...) :-[

Prodigal son, your tart looks awfully appetizing.

I would actually substitute the 119 grams of cane sugar with roughly 150 grams of xylitol.
That should take care of the sweetness.

I don't know what to make of hemp milk though... ;-)
Unfortunately, whilst xylitol does do the job of sweetening, it does not behave in the same way as sugar when it is cooked. Sugar has many other useful, and necessary, characterisics in baking that it is difficult to substitute for, especially in custards and creams. Sweetness was only of a secondary consideration here.

Hemp milk is of equivalent thickness to cow’s milk, and it has many health benefits. It also behaves in many ways like cow’s milk. It is a good substitute for cow’s milk.
 

Renaissance

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Thanks @Prodigal Son! I used the basics of your recipe for dessert at Caesarea's reiki night. I did a little variation on the recipe. I made a strawberry sauce/ glaze and mixed with sliced up strawberries for a topping on the pastry cream. I made a few errors along the way, namely by trying to use substitutes for the glaze. FWI, never try and make any type of sauce with coconut sugar and tapioca flour! I tried this with the strawberry sauce and it was a disaster. Coconut sugar is very malleable and combine that with tapioca flour under heat and you've got a think, rubbery, strawberry-flavored substance that you could use to seal drafty windows! In any case, I eventually achieved the desired result with some learning along the way.

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