I had the hardest time deciding which pictures to use for this recipe. I’ve been getting home just in time to take advantage of the late afternoon light, and took photos in two different settings: outside on our back porch, and inside next to a window. I took to Facebook and Instagram to get opinions, and the overwhelming choice was for the above picture. Just for a comparison, here’s an example of the other set of photos:
Thanks to everyone who offered an opinion! Made my decision much easier. I really hope the pictures do justice to how wonderfully these tarts tasted. The strawberries were hand picked by yours truly, as it is the height of strawberry season here. They were the perfect finish to a much needed girls-night out with friends.
- For the pastry cream: Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and whisk in the milk. Place egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk constantly until mixture begins to boil. Keep whisking as the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. Begin whisking the egg yolks. Still whisking, slowly add about ½ c of the milk mixture and beat until smooth. Add the egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan and stir to combine. Return saucepan to the heat and cook another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour custard into a bowl and stir in the butter, vanilla bean seeds, and orange zest. Cover and chill until room temperature, about 2 hours.
- While the pastry cream is chilling, make the tart shells. Place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Cut up butter and lard into small chunks and add to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks coarse and sandy. Sprinkle in the water and pulse the mixture until the dough begins to bunch up into a ball (about 1-2 minutes of pulsing.) Remove dough from food processor and flatten into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Divide dough into five equal sections. On a lightly floured surface, roll each section out to a circle roughly 6 inches in diameter. Press dough into tart pans, trimming off the edges. Save scraps. Knead the scraps together and roll out for the fifth tart pan. Prick holes into the bottom of the dough. Line tart pans with foil. Place dried beans in foil-lined pans to keep dough from sliding.
- Bake tarts for 10 minutes. Remove foil lining with the beans. Bake until golden brown, about another 7-10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
- To finish the tarts: divide pastry cream evenly among the tart shells. Arrange the strawberries, cut side down, on top of the pastry cream (seven per tart worked for me.) Chill until ready to serve.