The combination of soft, rich brioche dough with velvety smooth tonka bean pastry cream and strawberries is exquisite! It results in refreshing, creamy strawberry brioche tarts that can be enjoyed as a breakfast, snack or a dessert!
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook pour milk and water, add instant dry yeast, sugar and eggs. Combine a little bit using a whisk. Then, add to it sifted flour and salt. Knead on medium-low speed for 10-15 minutes or until it starts pulling from the sides and is elastic-y.
Meanwhile, cut your softened butter into cubes.
With the mixer still running, add the butter one cube at a time and mix until fully incorporated into the dough. Then continue mixing for a further 10-15 minutes or until it's elastic and no longer sticking to the bowl. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a little bit to form a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with cling film and let it rise slowly in the fridge, overnight or up to 48 hours.*
for the tonka bean pastry cream
In a medium sized saucepan, heat the milk with approx. ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated tonka bean and two whole tonka beans (cut in half) until boiling point. Cover with a lid and leave for 45-60 minutes for milk to infuse the flavour. Take out the tonka beans and heat the milk up again.
In the meantime, in a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, egg, cornstarch, sugar and salt using a whisk. Once the milk has reached scalding point, start pouring it SLOWLY to egg mixture, whisking continuously, so you don’t cook the eggs. About half to ⅔ of hot milk will do. Once you tempered the egg mixture, add it to the pot with remaining milk and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until it thickens.
Once it’s done, stir in vanilla extract and butter and whisk until everything is combined. Strain the pastry cream to a clean bowl through a sieve, to get rid of any cooked egg bits and lumps. Cover with cling film touching the surface to prevent skin forming. Leave it to cool at room temperature, then put it in the fridge to cool completely.
Remove the dough from the fridge onto a lightly floured surface, slightly knead it and divide into 10 equal (by weight) sized balls of dough. I use a kitchen scale for this. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out each piece (one at a time) into a circle approx. 11-12 cm in diameter. Depends on the size of your tart pans - mine are 10 cm wide. Line the tins with the rolled out dough as if you were making a pie crust - up the sides as well.
Place tart tins on a baking tray, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise, approx. 45-60 minutes. They have to be puffy and when you press it slightly with your finger it should leave an indent.
Preheat your fan oven to 160°C (325°F) or 175°C (350°F) if you're not using a fan oven.
Take the pastry cream out of the fridge and beat it with a hand mixer until creamy. Slice fresh strawberries into 2-3mm thick slices.
Brush the edges of the risen brioche tarts with whisked egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar. If you don't have belgian pearl sugar, you can use any coarse brown sugar or even almond flakes. Fill the middle of each brioche with pastry cream and top with strawberry slices.
Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden colour. 22 minutes was just right for me. :)
Not all ovens are the same. If you experience browning at the top and are afraid it's too much, put a baking paper sheet over it or cover in aluminium foil. Just be careful when pulling the pan out of the oven - aluminium foil gets really hot!
They are best eaten the same day. I suggest keeping them in an airtight container if you wish to eat them the next day as well. If you don't have an airtight container, tightly wrapped cling film would also do the trick.
If you still don’t own one, I advise you to buy a kitchen scale – they’re cheap and easy to use, and always guarantee the same results in baking!
This recipe is inspired by the amazing Edd Kimber and his breakfast brioche buns from his cookbook Patisserie Made Simple.
You don't need to prove the dough overnight if you're in a hurry, although the dough is more malleable when is cold. You can prove it for approx. an hour at room temperature and then put in the fridge for 1-2h to chill.