The amazing, classic Tarte aux Fraises (French Strawberry Tart) combines tender shortcrust pastry with rich crème pâtissière and the freshest strawberries. All together it makes for a wholly impressive dessert that everyone will ooh-and-ah over (between mouthfuls, of course)!
There is no other dessert like this strawberry tart that matches just how stunning it is with being equally delicious!!
I adore a dessert that looks almost too pretty to eat. Naturally, no matter how gorgeous my Tarte aux Fraises (French Strawberry Tart) comes out, somehow, I manage to finish off a slice or two.
The beautiful and bright strawberries make this tart so divine, along with the perfect pastry cream and sweet tart crust shell. I love to make a Tarte aux Fraises for holidays, get-togethers, and when I’m asked to bring dessert to a potluck dinner.
All eyes are always on the tempting tart, thanks to its glistening strawberries and inviting aroma. No wonder it's always the first dish to disappear at gatherings!
Leave yourself a good 2 hours to prepare this dessert, as there are a number of steps involved that can’t be rushed. Your resulting tart will be better than bakery-level impressive, with a taste you’ll be thinking about long after the last crumb is gone.
Don't forget that the tart shell and pastry cream can be made a day in advance, for last minute assembly that will make you look brilliant!!
You may have tried my Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe before, as it has been up on my site for a bit. The expanded easy-to-follow instructions are linked above to make the perfect crust for this strawberry tart. Everything else you need to know is below.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Ingredients (pate sucree)
- All-Purpose Flour – The standby bulk for many baking recipes and an important part of making the tender tart shell.
- Unsalted Butter (softened at room temperature) – Real butter is the best to use for making pastries, a rich European butter is an amazing flavor upgrade!
- Sugar – A nice bit of sweetness to compliment the strawberries without being 'too sweet'.
- Egg – Helps the dough form and adds another layer of richness.
- Salt – Just a bit to balance it out the sweet ingredients. Salt also heightens other flavors making them shine as the star of the show best.
- Vanilla Extract – These aromas are intoxicating, and the flavor is fabulous. Be sure to use real vanilla extract, as the flavor difference is noticeable. Other extracts can also be used, but almond extract is my fave to swap out for this tart (or use in combination 50/50 with the vanilla extract).
Pastry Cream Ingredients (crème patissiere)
- Milk – It is best to use whole milk, half & half, or a combination of whole milk + heavy cream (¾ cup whole milk + ¼ cup heavy cream) for the richest, silky smooth pastry cream ever. 2% milk also works in a pinch.
- Vanilla paste (or vanilla bean caviar or vanilla extract) – Rich and robust vanilla flavor that adds a great contrast to the fresh strawberries.
- Egg – Part of what makes a great pastry cream so special.
- Egg yolk – For added richness, texture, and smoothness.
- Sugar – Just a hint of added sweetness to round out the pastry cream perfection.
- All-purpose flour – Gives the pastry cream more body.
- Cornstarch – An all-purpose thickener that rounds out making the pastry cream consistency and texture just right.
Fruit Topping Ingredients
- Strawberries (washed, hulled, and halved) – Super ripe, juicy, and fresh berries is where it's at. Pile on as many fresh strawberries as you can!
- Apricot preserves (warmed and strained) – Amazing for glazing and adding a finishing touch that also enhances the strawberry flavor.
If you love strawberries, be sure to check out all of my fabulous strawberry desserts on my collection page with 30 dessert ideas to choose from!!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
You may have tried my Tarte aux Fruits recipe, which is similar to this strawberry tart. The process is nearly the same, aside from the fruit topping. If you loved that one, you’ll certainly enjoy this French tart loaded with strawberries!
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Instructions (pate sucree)
- Prepare the pastry shell as per my easy-to-follow directions here. The dough doesn’t even need to be rolled out, which makes the process even simpler. Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then remove the weights and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Allow the tart crust to cool down before assembling the rest of the strawberry tart. If it isn’t cool, the pastry cream will melt and make a mess.
- Once my pastry is finishing baking and it is chilling in the fridge, I make the pastry cream and allow it to cool as well. This is why I mentioned you need to leave yourself the time to do this right. Cooling is important.
Pastry Cream Instructions (crème patissiere)
- Heat the milk with vanilla. Bring a medium saucepan with 1 cup milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla paste (or vanilla bean caviar or vanilla extract) to medium heat, stirring the ingredients every so often until some bubbles appear.
- Whisk egg, yolk, and sugar. As the milk heats in the saucepan, whisk 1 large egg and 1 additional egg yolk, and 3 tablespoons of sugar together in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is light in color and frothy in texture.
- Whisk in flour and cornstarch. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch and whisk together until blended.
- Temper the eggs. Once the milk is heated, temper the egg mixture by adding about ¼ cup of the heated milk, whisking vigorously. Repeat again, then add in the remaining milk and vanilla. This prevents the eggs from scrambling.
- Heat the combined pastry cream. Transfer the combined mixture back into the medium saucepan and set to medium-low heat. Whisk the mixture occasionally.
- Whisk until smooth and thickened. Once the pastry cream thickens up, remove it from the heat, and whisk vigorously until the texture is silky smooth.
- Transfer and cover with cling film. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl and cover with plastic film, allowing it to settle delicately onto the surface of the pastry cream. Press down on the plastic film lightly to adhere it to the entire surface of the pastry cream so a “skin” does not form. *You may have had this experience when making homemade pudding.
- Cool the pastry cream. Set the bowl aside to allow the pastry cream to cool. You can stick it in the fridge for a bit to speed up the chilling process.
Assemble the Strawberry Tart Instructions
- Fill the tart shell. Place the baked pastry shell (cooled) onto a serving plate and spread the pastry cream to the edges in an even layer. *I usually make my apricot glaze at this time and brush some onto the tart shell as well as the strawberries, prior to filling the tart shell with crème. This adds a nice touch and more flavor.
- Prepare and place strawberries. Prep the strawberries by washing, de-hulling, and slicing in half. Arrange the berries in a circular pattern working from the inside outward to the edges. Fit as many halves as you can on top of the pastry cream.
- Heat the preserves and strain. Warm ⅛ cup of apricot preserves (jam or jelly) in a microwave-safe dish for about 15 seconds on high power. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t bubble over. Strain the preserves through a fine mesh sieve to remove any chunks (if desired), then brush your strawberries with the glaze for a shiny appearance.
- Chill and serve. Transfer the filled Tarte aux Fraises to your refrigerator to chill the for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.
I like to serve my tart with some whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Sometimes I go for strawberry ice cream for the full strawberry effect. On the other hind, it is simply divine all on its own!
Store leftovers of your Tarte aux Fraises in the fridge covered securely with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for about 3 days and enjoy anytime. Chances are, there will be no leftovers to speak of!
Tarte aux Fraises (French Strawberry Tart)
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (pate sucree)
- 1 sweet shortcrust pastry dough (blind baked per instructions)
Pastry Cream (creme patissiere)
- 1 cup milk (whole milk or 2% milk)
- ½ tsp vanilla paste (or vanilla bean caviar, or vanilla extract)
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
- 5-6 cups strawberries (washed, hulled, and halved)
- ⅛ cup apricot preserves (warmed and strained)
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (pate sucree)
- Make the single shortcrust pastry recipe as directed and blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove the weights and bake an additional 10 minutes. Allow the crust to cool completely before assembling the tart.
Pastry Cream (creme patissiere)
- Bring a medium saucepan with the 1 cup milk and ½ teaspoon of vanilla paste (or vanilla bean caviar, or pure vanilla extract) to medium heat. Stir occasionally and heat until the first bubbles appear.
- While the milk is heating: In a large mixing bowl whisk the egg, egg yolk, and 3 tablespoons sugar together until light in color and frothy in appearance. Add the 2 tablespoons flour and 1 ½ tablespoon of cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
- Once the milk is heated: Temper the egg mixture by adding a ladle-full amount (approximately ¼ cup) of the heated milk, whisking vigorously. Repeat once, then whisk in the remaining heated milk and vanilla.
- Transfer the combined mixture back into your saucepan and return to medium-low heat, whisking occasionally. As soon as your pastry cream thickens, remove it from heat and whisk vigorously until you have a smooth creamy texture.
- Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl and cover with cling film, allowing the plastic wrap to settle onto the surface. Press down on the plastic wrap to adhere it to the entire surface of the pastry cream. This will prevent a 'skin' from forming on the creme. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
Assemble the Tart with the Fruit Topping
- Place your baked tart shell onto a serving plate and fill it with your pastry cream, spreading the cream to the edges. *I usually make my apricot glaze and brush some onto the tart shell as well as the fruit, prior to filling the tart shell with creme.
- Prepare your strawberries by cleaning, de-hulling, and slicing into halves. Arrange the fruit in a circular pattern working from the inside outward, fitting as many berries as you can into the tart.
- Warm the apricot preserves (jam or jelly) in a microwave-safe dish in a short 15-second heating on high power. Strain the preserves through a fine mesh sieve to remove any chunks (if desired), then brush your strawberries with the glaze to give the berry topping a nice shiny appearance.
- Chill the assembled tart for at least an hour before slicing and serving.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!