Cut the cold butter into cubes and crumble into the flour until fine breadcrumbs are formed. Now mix the seeds from the vanilla and the sugar. Mix well. Add the cold water and carfully bring the mix together until a dough is just formed. Cover in cling film and rest in the fridge.
Remove dough from the fridge. Lightly flour your work surface, using a rolling pin roll out. Roll one way, then twist the dough round on the floured surface by 90" and continue rolling. Keep turning the dough round and rolling only forwards and backwards until it is 3mm thick. Line your tart case with the pastry, using a little excess pastry to press down into the corners all around the tart shell. Prick with a fork all over.
Cover with a double layer of clingfilm twice the size of the pastry tarts. Fill with baking beans and wrap the clingfilm over so the baking beans are locked in.
Blind bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Remove the baking beans. Lightly egg wash and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes to finish cooking the tart shell.
When cool trim up the edges with a serrated knife and use a pastry brush to clean any unwanted crumbs away.
Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add both the seeds and pod to a pan along with the milk and cream. Bring to the boil and take of the heat.
Whisk the 4 egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour until pale in colour. Slowly pour over the infused liquid whilst whisking and return the mix to the saucepan. Cook on over a medium heat until it begins to thicken, When this happens turn the heat down to a low and whisk for a further 2 minutes.
Take of the heat, scrape into a bowl and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Cut the top of the strawberries and place in a bowl along with the sugar and creme de fraises. Cling film very tightly, twice and place over a bain marie. Cook for 1 hour gently. Pass through a fine sieve and reduce down to a syrup. Allow to cool.
Simply slice the strawberries neatly
When removing the creme patisserie from the fridge be sure to give it another whisk before transferring it to a piping bag. Pipe into the tart shell and top with sliced strawberries neatly fanned around. Finish with the syrup by using a pastry brush to act as a glaze,.
«Any fruit tart can be made using this technique. Ie, raspberries, blackcurrants, or even roasted plums would work very well on top of the creme patisserie »