For the pastry
- 500g/1lb 2oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g/3½oz icing sugar
- 250g/9oz butter, cubed
- 1 free-range egg yolk
- splash ice-cold water, if needed
For the crème pâtissière
- 500ml/18fl oz milk
- 6 free-range egg yolks
- 40g/1½oz plain flour
- 125g/4½oz caster sugar
- a little icing sugar, to dust
For the pastry, sift together the flour and icing sugar in a mixing bowl until well combined. Tip in the butter cubes and rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the beaten egg and work together with your hands until the pastry comes together. You may need to add a splash of ice-cold water if the pastry is too dry. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least ten minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and peel off the cling film. Roll the pastry out on a well-floured surface to a thickness of about 5mm/¼in.
Cut circles of the pastry out with a cutter that’s only slightly bigger than a set of 10cm/4in tart cases. Carefully line the miniature tart cases, ensuring that you overlap the edge a little. Alternatively, lay the pastry on the top of the barquette tins and roll a rolling pin over the tart case to cut them to shape - this should cut the pastry exactly the same size as the case. Then press the pastry into the tart tin with your fingers.
Prick the base of the pastry with a fork. Press a square of aluminium foil bigger than the tin against the bottom to make the shape of the tin. Then place the foil into the pastry case and fill the case with ceramic baking beans. Repeat with the remaining pastry and cases.
Place all the cases in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until cooked and crisp all the way through. Remove the beans and foil lining and set aside the cases to cool on a wire rack. Then remove from the tins and set aside.
For the crème pâtissière, heat the milk in a large pan until it is just boiling.
Thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks, plain flour and sugar in a bowl. Pour the milk into the bowl containing the eggs and whisk to combine. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and cook over a medium heat while stirring constantly. The mixture should thicken as it just comes to the boil.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. At this point sprinkle over a little icing sugar to stop a skin from forming.
Pass the jam through a sieve into a clean bowl to make it smooth. Heat up the apricot jam with two tablespoons of water and leave to cool.
Spoon a little of the cooled crème pâtissière into each one of the tart cases. Top with whatever fruit you wish before brushing lightly with the cooled apricot jam.
You can easily halve this recipe and make fewer tarts.
Use a small ball of excess pastry to press the tart cases into their tins, so you don't leave fingernail marks or poke holes in the pastry.