Sunday, December 12, 2010

Strawberry Mousse Tarts

In my previous post on ToTT, I vaguely mentioned my interest in baking tarts and getting tart rings was a headache for me so for those who are looking for 3-inch tarts rings with a height of 1-inch, ToTT does carry these tart rings (8cm x 2cm). Alternatively, Lau Choy Seng do have the copper ones (Cat. # 26-35S-CR71) of the same dimension.

Do note that the recipe is taken from Tartlette’s Strawberry Lime Tartelettes and Raspberry Mousse Tartelettes ; and I have made some amendments and mix & match the components. There are a few things which we have observed after baking 3 batches of tarts.

- Short notes on the almond short dough -
I have difficulty rolling the dough proper after chilling it for 1 hour, overnight and 2 nights respectively. After chilling for 1 hour, the butter was still very soft and hence, I spread the dough onto the pastry cutters. For my second attempt, the overnight chilling helps but after rolling the dough, it became soft and (without dusting of flour) I end up pressing in the dough. Finally, decided to chill the dough overnight, roll the dough and then chill again for one more night. With some dusting of flour (which helps a lot), I managed to cut out 3-inch rounds and fit them at the bottom of six 3-inch tart rings; and press in the dough to form the sides of the tart shells.


Other mistakes I have made was not to blind bake and over bake it for an additional 10min. Together with the use of cake flour (not sure), I end up with an extremely hard tart crust.

I used cake flour in my first two attempts and plain flour in my third attempt; and I am not sure how important gluten is in the context of making tart shells. After experiencing problems of rolling and molding the dough onto the tart rings, I realize it might be due to the type of flour used. Apparently, all-purpose flour has moderate gluten content while cake flour has little gluten content. To cut things short, gluten is formed when wheat flour is mixed with water and this forms a network of elastic strands which traps and holds air bubbles. During baking, these air bubbles expand and as the moisture evaporates, it coagulates and stabilizes the structure. On the other hand, chilling relaxes the gluten and helps the dough to roll out better and not becoming tough.

For those who are keen to read more, here is the link that talks about the chemistry of baking.


Blind baking firms up the pastry base, making it a little crustier and stronger; it also prevents the crust from puffing while cooking. I did experience huge air pockets when I didn’t blind baked, leaving less room for the tart filling.

- Short notes on almond cream -


This is pretty foul-proof, just mixing all the ingredients in order. The only thing we notice is that, the tart shells cannot be filled to the brim as the core remains molten after baking for 20min.

So the morale of the story is not be to greedy.


- Short notes on Strawberry Diplomat Cream Mousse
Note that the original recipe calls for Lime Curd Whipped Cream .

Since we wanted to have some experience in making mousse, we replaced this component with the diplomat cream mousse (recipe from Raspberry Mousse Tartelettes ). As the tart is topped with sliced strawberries, we replaced raspberry jam with strawberry jam.


On our second attempt, Yuan poured the sugar, egg and egg yolk mixture directly to a saucepan and end up with scrambled eggs. At that time, we didn’t have any jam and hence we replace the vanilla extract and strawberry jam with 1 tablespoon of rose water. Somehow or rather, after stirring continuously and folding in the cream, we ended up with a rose flavoured egg custard, which goes pretty ok with the tart crust and almond cream.


On our third attempt, we whisked the mixture over a water bath and added the jam. The original recipe requires to whip heavy cream to stiff peak but for convenience, we skipped the whipping and folded in Sweetened Whipped Light Cream and the resulting factor is acceptable.

Recipe (For 6 -7 8-cm tarts)
Almond Short Dough: (half of Tartlette’s original recipe)
Ingredients needed:
95 gm plain flour
10 gm cornstarch
45 gm icing sugar
65 gm unsalted butter
18 gm almond powder
A pinch of salt
1 egg

1. Sift the flour with the cornstarch and icing sugar
2. Add the almond powder and rub in butter with fingertips until coarse crumbs is achieved
3. Add the egg and the salt
4. Mix using a spatula (do not over mix as texture will toughen)
5. Wrap the dough using a cling wrap and refrigerate overnight
6. Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic or parchment papers
7. Preheat oven to 175°C
8. Dust some flour and cut out six 3-inch rounds
9. Fit in the cut dough inside six 3-inch tart rings to form the base of the tart crust
9. Press in some dough at the side of the tart rings, patting the dough with fingertips
10. Blind bake for 10 minutes and allow it to cool completely


Almond Cream: (quarter of Tartlette’s original recipe)
25gm softened butter
25gm sugar
25gm almond powder
1/2 egg
12.5ml heavy cream

1. Place the butter, sugar, almond powder and egg in a large bowl and whisk until smooth
2. Fold in the cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Divide the cream evenly among the rings and bake it for 20 minutes at 175°C
4. Allow it to cool completely


Strawberry Diplomat Cream Mousse: (half of Tartlette’s original recipe)
3/4 teaspoons of gelatin
1/2 tablespoon of cold water
125ml of full cream milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla bean extract
1/2 egg + 1/2 egg yolk
25gm sugar
13 gm cornstarch
1/6 cup St. Dalfour strawberry jam
1/2 cup Qwip Pasteurized Sweetened Whipped Light Cream

1. Add gelatin to the water and set aside
2. Whisk sugar, egg and egg yolk together
3. Add the cornstarch and vanilla extract and continue mixing till it becomes a smooth paste
3. In a saucepan, heat the milk on medium heat until boiling
4. Add the heated milk slowly to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling
5. Place the egg mixture back over a water bath and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly
6. Once the mixture has thickened, add the jam and cook for another 30 sec
7. Remove the mixture from the heat and add in the gelatin, stir until it dissolved
8. Cling wrap the bowl to prevent the formation of a skin as it cools to room temperature
9. Fold in the whipped cream into the mixture and spoon the mousse immediately onto the tart crust (baked with almond cream)

- Ending Note –
I have to admit that I like the tart crust and almond cream and that this recipe is foul-proof and easy to follow. For the remaining almond short dough, we put it in a waffle maker and it turned out to be crisp biscuits so do bake the remaining dough and it is good on its own.

Although Tartlette’s recipe did call to “seal” the crust by spreading a thin layer of jam to prevent the pastry cream from softening the crust over time. We skipped this step as we didn’t want it too sweet and our guinea pigs were ok with the slight softening of the almond cream. Nevertheless, the tarts remain delicious despite being in the chiller for 2 days.



ice said...

Wow wow wow! Looks absolutely delicious fen! I want to your guinea pig! (: (: (:

taster said...

You can get a stiffer dough if you use unsalted butter that is not modified to be soft and spreadable.

You can try using unsalted butter imported from Australia that looks very white and is very stiff, even stiffer than the SCS butter. It can give you a whiter baked texture that looks and tastes more 'French'. I believe it is the type hotels use. I last saw it at the Phoon Huat shophouse near Sim Lim Square. The branch at HV might have it too.

Bakertan said...


I have been reading your blog recently. It is refreshing to see you guys try making sweets since you are sweets lovers.

For the short dough, did you use chilled butter to rub into the dough? this step is very important.

I believe the hard crust was not caused by the cake flour (since it has lower gluten content) but rather over handling over the dough or excessive flouring. When gathering the dough, there is no need to knead the dough. The dough is ready once the crumbs are gathered and do not fall apart.

if possible, after pressing/lining the tart tins/rings, let the dough rest again for at least 30 minutes before baking to allow the gluten to relax.

just my two cents worth. cheers and hope to see more baked goods here =]

Fen said...

Ice: If you don't mind our novice attempt, why not? I have been baking for the past 3 weekends. >.<

Might be trying sable crust with peach almond filling soon since I have leftover cream and grounded almond. =)

Hooked onto eating tarts...

Taster: Are you referring to the Goldtree Australian butter? My dad happens to stock some at home, perhaps I can give it a shot.

Thanks for the pointer.

Bakertan: Thank you so much for dropping by our blog and many thanks for the compliment.

I did use chilled butter to rub into the dough and I make sure that the dough rest sufficient time in the chiller to facilitate rolling.

After rubbing in the butter into the dry ingredients, I end up with coarse crumbs and I quickly mix in the egg before chilling (just a few mixes). Before chilling, the dough is not knead-able and is relatively moist so I am not sure if the dough is meant to be press in. But sufficient chilling and dusting do allow me to cut into rounds and place it into the tart rings.

Ok, I will take your suggestion to rest the dough again after lining the tart rings, but do I rest them in the chill or at room temperature?

Thank you so much for the tips. Will definitely put our oven to good use. =)

Bakertan said...


rest the dough in the refrigerator. I read in some books that pie pastries are best made in advance to give the dough a good rest. usually I like to make my pastries on the day itself and give it 30-45 mins of chilling after rolling out. cheers

Fen said...

Arh, I pretty much agree with you. The overnight chilling does help alot in handling the dough and to ensure that I have nice pieces of rounds, I did chill the dough after rolling out.

Thank you for the information. =)

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