Monday, June 11, 2012

Cupcakes à la Tarte aux Fraises

Gosh it's been a while! Sorry about that. The past few weeks have been very hectic and full of visitors, because I'm making the most of my final month in Aix. I can't believe I leave in 14 DAYS!! In fact, this time in 2 weeks I'll be back home. Scary. So anyway, I've not really had much time for baking because I've been swanning around absorbing every little bit of Provence to make it last until the next time I'm in France. As much as I love baking, slaving over a hot stove when it's ridiculously warm outside is not always my idea of a fun afternoon, as I've come to realise that I don't cope particularly well with the heat! But today I braved the kitchen for what may be one of my last times actually, because before I know it, I'll be back in rainy England. Great...

It was also much more of a plesant experience than usual actually. I have recently had a new flatmate move in who I can certainly say has put his stamp on the place! But actually, it's been a good thing in some ways because he bought this for the kitchen...


...which makes baking and just cooking in general a lot easier and more practical. So merci, David!
As I'm sure I may have mentioned before, une tarte aux fraises has to be one of my favourite French patisseries. Mainly because it contains crème patissière, which is basically like custard, so if a cake has some in, you can guarantee I'll choose it! But also because strawberries always look so appealing. They're definitely in season at the moment here and whenever I see them on a market stall or at the supermarché I am always tempted to buy some. As I know that I won't be able to have a tarte aux fraises that's quite as good as I'm used to when I'm back home, I thought why not take the idea of this French treat and put it into a cupcake. That way one mouthful will remind me of being in France, but I won't be disappointed that it doesn't reach French standards, because there's a little bit of a twist to it. And I have to say, I'm pretty impressed! Perhaps only for those who have a very sweet tooth, but deliciously strawberry-flavoured too. So hopefully in one bite I'll be transported back to France when I recreate these little beauties back at home. Which I shall certainly be doing!


Strawberry Tart Cupcakes      makes 12

For the crème patissière (taken from Rachel Allen's recipe here):
2 Egg Yolks
1/4 cup Caster Sugar
1tbsp Plain Flour, Sifted
1/4tsp Vanilla Essence 
175ml Milk
For the cupcakes:
1 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 cups Plain Flour
10 Strawberries (medium-sized)
6 Strawberries (small, for decorating)

  1. Start by making the crème patissière. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light and thick, then stir in the flour.
  2. Put the milk in a pan and bring it slowly to the boil.
  3. Pour the milk onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Put the mixture back in the pan and bring to a gentle boil once more.
  5. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring all the time, until it has thickened. Use a whisk to get rid of any lumps that may form.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla essence. If the mixture is still lumpy at this stage, you can push it through a sieve.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and cover (touching) with cling film to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool. 
  8. Next make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and flour the cupcake holders or line a bun tin with bun cases.
  9. Melt the butter over a low heat.
  10. Remove from the heat and beat in the sugar until combined.
  11. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, until it is lukewarm.
  12. Whisk in the eggs.
  13. Add the milk, vanilla essence and baking powder, then beat again to combine.
  14. Stir in the flour until just combined.
  15. Fold in the strawberries.
  16. Fill each cupcake holder with mixture and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  17. Allow to cool.
  18. To assemble the cupcakes, cut a small circle into each cupcake and spoon it out carefully. Cut this circle in half.
  19. Place a spoonful of the crème patissière in the hole.
  20. Put each half of the circle into the crème patissière like wings and place half a strawberry in the middle.
  21. Repeat with each cupcake and voilà...your cupcake is ready to enjoy! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Rach. Very impressive! Can't wait til you come home and bake for us. The new kitchen unit is equally impressive!