For one 9 inches (23 cm) pie
300~500 g (10~17 ounces) of strawberries depending on the size of the strawberries. The small ones fit better and look better plus they often are tastier. You can substitue strawberries by blueberries raspberries kiwis (In that case would coat with sweet jam as kiwis are sour)
90 g (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
100 g (5oz, or 1 slightly-rounded cup) flour. I use all purpose flour
50 g roasted almond powder
1 tablespoon sugar. I always use brown sugar. Fine powder sugar is best for texture you can put the sugar in the blender and pulse it a few times to make it more powder like.
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons water
Vanilla Pastry Cream
1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 egg yolks if small eggs or 2 yolks if eggs are big. At room temperature.
¼ cup granulated brown sugar. I put only 2 to 3 tablespoons because we don’t like too sweet at home.
1/8 cup (=2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (not the chemical version) you can substitute with 1/3 of vanilla bean.
Preheat the oven to 320º F (160º C).
1. In a bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and salt and flour until flaky then add the almond powder and the water. The dough should hold together but still a bit crumbly. Wrap it and put it in the fridge for 20~30 minutes.
2. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it with your hands. You can also spread it on a working surface first by spreading a little of flour and working the dough flat making a disc like shape and then placing it in the tart mold. But be careful the dough is crumbly.
3. Use a fork to prick the dough all over don’t forget the sides. This will avoid to have a crust with a giant bubbles of air after baking. Put the tart shell to bake in the oven for 15~20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool down.
4. Vanilla pastry cream. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it starts to steam. If you used vanilla bean you should cut it length wise and put it in the milk before heating. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, with two tablespoon of milk, sugar, and flour until the mixture is completely smooth.
5. when the milk is steaming, slowly pour it on the egg mixture, whisking constantly, pouring too fast would cook the egg yolk and create lumps. Once you have poured half of the milk, add the milk and eggs mixture back into the hot milk.
stir slowly, on the stove top at low heat until the custard thickens. It should cover a spoon thickly. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract. Let it chill before filling pastry crust. If in a rush you can cover it with plastic film and place it in the freezer or in the fridge for express of fast cooling.
6. Wash strawberries and cut them in half.
7. Assemble the pie. Carefully remove the tart shell -it brakes easily- and dispose it in a plate or dish of your choice. Spread the vanilla pastry cream -must be cool-. Arrange strawberries on the top of the cream.
8. Enjoy it! I suggest to accompany with a cold sparkling wine or sweet white wine.