This delightful Sablé Breton Tart combines a beautiful rich pastry base with lighted pastry cream and fresh strawberries. The separate components can be made in advance, making this tart perfect for entertaining.
The French have several classic pastries perfect for making their famous fruit tarts. Pastries such as Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Short Crust Pastry) and Pâte Brissée (All Butter Pie Dough) are the more well-known ones.
However, Pâte Sablée (Rich Sweet Pastry) Dough is another fantastic alternative. We're using it in this recipe as it's easy to prepare and utterly delicious. Once baked, it's decorated with velvety, smooth, vanilla Crème Légère (a lightened pastry cream) and freshly macerated strawberries.
If you love making tarts, then my Plum Frangipane Tart and my Apple Caramel Tart are delicious!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Uses basic ingredients. All the ingredients needed for this recipe can be found at your local supermarket, making this extremely accessible.
- Components can be made ahead of time. The tart base and lightened pastry cream can be made the day before making assembly of this tart quick and easy. A dream for entertaining!
- The taste is sublime. What's not to love with strawberries and cream? Take these basic flavours up a notch with this elevated dessert. The combination is divine!
❓ What is Pâte Sablé?
Pronounced 'pat sah-blay', this may be the easiest French pastry to make. Sablée translates to 'sandy', describing the texture of the dough, which is crumbly and short. The tart dough is like my Classic Shortbread but with a richer, sweet/salty flavour as it's made with salted butter and egg yolks.
It can be rolled and stamped out to form French Butter Cookies (Sablé Breton Cookies).
Also, this pâtissérie-style dough can be lined in a tart tin and blind-baked for a more refined application. Or it can be baked as a flat round for simplicity and ease.
❓ What is Crème Légère?
This is another French term that I don't want you to be intimidated by. The French have a multitude of pastry creams stemming from a custard base, and Crème Légère is one type.
Crème Légère, pronounced 'cre-m lay-jair', literally translates to 'lightened cream'. It's Crème Pâtissière (French Pastry Cream) which is a thickened custard that's lightened by folding through whipped cream. That's it!
It's used to either fill pastries such as choux buns, profiteroles and éclairs or to fill a tart base and top it with fruit, just like I'm going to show you today.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
All ingredients are easily found in your local supermarket. There are a few points to note regarding individual ingredients that I've listed below.
- Butter - The traditional way of making this tart dough is with European-style salted butter. European butter has a higher butter fat content and a lower water content, making it richer in flavour. If you can't find salted, then use unsalted and add in an extra ½ teaspoon of flaked sea salt.
- Eggs - Use two large egg yolks. Save the egg whites to make meringue nests or simple Lingue di Gatto Cookies.
- Salt - it may seem odd to add even more salt when also using salted butter. But this slight salt taste is what 'makes' this dough when cooked. It balances the sweet pastry cream and strawberries perfectly.
- Eggs - Large egg yolks provide flavour and structure when cooked to the right consistency.
- Milk - Whole milk is best over skim or half-half, as it provides a richer, more well-rounded flavour due to its high-fat content. Don't substitute for heavy cream or double cream, as we are already folding in whipped double cream later in the recipe.
- Corn flour - (cornstarch) is needed to thicken the pastry cream. It's perfect as it doesn't alter the flavour, which plain flour tends to do. The pastry cream is a little thicker than I would normally make it, and this is because whipped cream is being folded through, and we don't want it too 'loose'.
- Cream - Go for double (heavy) rather than whipping cream as it has a better structure when whipped.
- Vanilla - this is the flavour that we want to taste predominantly. So use the caviar from a vanilla pod for a maximum, well-rounded flavour. You can use vanilla bean paste as a substitute or vanilla extract at a push.
- Strawberries - try and buy sweet, juicy ripe strawberries for maximum flavour.
- Sugar - just a little is enough to help draw out the juices and sweeten the strawberries. You can use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar as an alternative for a different flavour profile.
- Add citrus zest, herbs or spices into the tart base for added variation. Orange or lemon zest, thyme or ground ginger are such examples.
- Flavour the pastry cream: Flavour with a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder, maple syrup or espresso.
- Use any fresh fruit you like: Cherries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries would all be fantastic on top of this dessert.
👩🏻🍳 How To Make Sablé Breton Tart
This Breton Tart is made in three parts:
- Make Sablé dough and bake - the simple Breton shortbread is made with creaming butter, sugar and then egg yolks together. The flour is added to form a rough dough. After resting in the fridge, it's formed into a round and baked to perfection.
- Create the créme légère - a simple vanilla pastry cream is made by cooking the eggs, sugar, flour and milk until a thick custard-like mixture is achieved. Once cooled, whipped cream is folded through.
- Macerate the Strawberries - this is the easiest way of drawing out maximum flavour from your strawberries in 15 minutes.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Make the Sablé Dough
STEP 1. Cream together butter and sugar until pale. The butter has to be at room temperature for a good amount of air to be incorporated into the mixture. Cream for about 2-3 minutes until pale and thickened (Images 1 & 2).
NOTE: You can use a stand mixer or hand-held electric beaters for making the dough.
STEP 2. Add yolks and mix. The yolks should also be at room temperature to emulsify with the creamed butter (Images 3 & 4). Mix for a minute until well combined.
STEP 3. Add in dry ingredients. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add in the salt. Then beat on low until the dough just starts to come together. You don't want to overbeat at this point; otherwise, the dough will be tough (Images 5 & 6).
STEP 4. Bring the dough together and refrigerate. Use your hands to squeeze the dough together, catching any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl (Image 7).
Form the dough into a rough ball and shape it into a disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the gluten rest (Image 8).
STEP 5. Roll out dough on a piece of parchment paper to a little larger than 20cm (8-inches) in diameter (Image 9).
The process of baking this base is super easy. No setting in a luted tart tin or blind baking is needed. All you need is a springform cake tin - and just the outside ring! It helps maintain the shape giving you a perfectly round base.
Place the ring over the dough and use a knife to run against the inside of the ring and cut the dough (Image 10). Or push the ring down to 'stamp' out the dough. Remove the excess scraps from around the edge.
STEP 6. Bake. The Breton dough can now be baked at 180C (350F) for 25 minutes until golden; the sides are set, but the centre is still soft. Let it cool for 20 minutes in the tin before transferring, releasing the springform clasp and gently lifting off the springform tin (Images 11 & 12). Transfer the base to a wire rack carefully. It can be quite fragile when warm. Cool completely.
Make the Crème Légère
This is split into two parts - making the pastry cream, followed by folding in the whipped cream.
STEP 1. Heat the milk. Heat the milk with the vanilla bean pod and half of the caviar in a small heavy-based saucepan set over medium heat on the stovetop. Heat the mixture until it's steaming, and some bubbles appear around the edges of the saucepan.
Whatever you do, don't boil it!!! Once warmed sufficiently then, turn the stovetop off. (Images 13 & 14). Set the milk aside for ten minutes to infuse further, then remove the vanilla pod.
STEP 2. Whisk eggs and sugar. In a separate bowl, add your egg yolks and sugar and whisk them together until thickened and pale. This takes about a minute, a little longer if done by hand (Images 15).
NOTE: Did you know that the sugar can dry out and 'burn' the egg yolks? So don't leave them in the bowl together for too long before whisking them.
Add in the cornflour and whisk until combined (Image 16).
STEP 3: Temper the eggs. What does that mean? The milk mixture is warm, and if you add it to the eggs directly, it will scramble them. Disaster! So, we temper by adding the warm milk mixture to the eggs whilst continuously whisking, which brings the temperature down (Image 17).
STEP 4: Heat the custard cream. Pour the mixture into the saucepan (Image 18) and set on low heat.
Carry on whisking whilst the custard heats and thickens (Images 19 & 20). This can take a couple of minutes. As soon as you see a bubble in the custard, you should heat it for another minute to ensure the yolks are cooked sufficiently, and then it's done.
NOTE: Don't be impatient and turn the heat up, hoping the thickening will happen quicker. All you'll get is a split custard and bits of cooked egg.
STEP 5. Add in butter and cool custard. I recommend passing the mixture through a sieve to remove any possible lumps (Image 21). Then add the cubed butter (Image 22) and whisk it in until fully melted and combined. The butter adds a beautiful sheen to the cream but also richness and helps the cream thicken (Image 23).
STEP 6. Chill the pastry cream. Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap that touches the surface (Image 24). This inhibits the formation of skin over the top. Let it come to room temperature, and then refrigerate the cream until it's cold.
STEP 7. Whip the cream and fold through pastry cream.
Add the double cream to a bowl and whisk until firm peaks. You can do this by hand or with hand-held beaters. Careful not to over whisk otherwise, it will become grainy.
Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and give it a whisk to loosen up. Add the whipped cream into the pastry cream in two parts. Add a quarter of whipped cream and whisk until well combined (Image 25). It helps lighten up the cream ahead of the next addition.
Add in the remaining whipped cream and fold through with a rubber spatula, being careful not to knock out any air from the whipped cream (Image 26). Mix until you can no longer see the whipped cream. And that's it- you've made Crème Légère for the tart- fantastic.
Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with your favourite piping nozzle (open French star tip is mine!) and refrigerate until ready to use.
Macerate the Strawberries
STEP 1. This step is incredibly simple. Slice the strawberries in half or quarters, depending on their size. Sprinkle over the sugar and add in the remaining vanilla bean caviar and one teaspoon of water (Image 27). Toss the strawberries together and set them on one side for 15 minutes.
The sugar will dissolve, and the juices will gradually extract from the strawberries. The result is sweet strawberries with the most divine juice (Image 28).
TIP: Buy the freshest strawberries that you can. Under ripe strawberries will yield very little natural juice.
Assemble The Tart
The assembling of the Sable Breton Tart is incredibly quick. You can decorate it however you like. Channel Great British Bake Off Vibes (where this tart gained my popularity) and pipe the cream neatly or swirl it over with the back of the spoon. Place the strawberries neatly or pile them up on top of the cream. You choose!
Place the tart base onto a serving plate, then pipe the lightened pastry cream over the tart base (Image 29).
Top with macerated strawberries (Image 30), reserving strawberry juice.
Slice and serve the Strawberry Sablé Breton Tart immediately. With each slice, drizzle a little of the strawberry juice over the top.
⭐ Recipe Pro Tips
For the Pâte Sablée: Use European-style butter for maximum flavour & don't omit the extra salt; it's a key flavour component. Bake until just golden and set around the edges.
For the Crème Légère: Cook custard over low heat, whisking all the time to prevent it from catching. Cover cream with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming.
For the macerated strawberries: Pick the freshest strawberries you can find for maximum flavour.
📋 Recipe FAQs
Both these classic French creams are made with crème pâtissière (vanilla pastry cream) as the base.
Crème Légère is a combination of crème pâtissière and whipped cream, which helps lighten it.
Crème Diplomat, on the other hand, is crème pâtissière folded through with whipped cream and gelatin, which creates a more stable cream.
Both are classic, popular French doughs used to make tart crusts.
Pâte Sucrée is made by rubbing cold butter into the flour. It has only one egg yolk and is lightly sweetened, producing a light and crisp crust.
Pâte Sablé is made by creaming the butter and sugar together before adding the yolk and flour. The crust is crumbly and rich and can be eaten in cookie form.
Yes. The tart base can be made and wrapped well in plastic wrap once cooled. The Crème Légère can also be made in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to assemble.
I would not recommend assembling the tart until just before serving. The tart base will start to soften with the moisture of the cream over time.
TIP: create a barrier between the cream and base by brushing a layer of melted chocolate so the base won't go soften.
Yes, absolutely. This recipe is customisable to suit the size of mini tarts you want. Use whatever equipment you have on hand. Just be aware of the bake time for the bases of the tarts- it will have to be reduced.
❄️ Storage and Freezer Instructions
To store: The tart is best eaten within a few hours as the tart base will start to soften. Any leftovers should be wrapped well with plastic wrap and refrigerated for no more than two days.
To freeze: I do not recommend freezing this tart. It's best eaten fresh.
🇫🇷 More French Recipes You'll Love
If you've tried this Strawberry Sablé Breton Tart, please let me know how you go in the comments below and leave a 🌟 star rating whilst you're there! I love hearing from you.
Strawberry Sablé Breton Tart Recipe
- 20cm (8-inch) springform pan
Sablé Breton Pastry
- 130 g salted butter, preferable European-style butter. Room temperature
- 65 g granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 220 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon flaked sea salt, or 'fleur de sel'
- 220 ml whole milk
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 45 g granulated sugar
- 12 g cornflour (corn starch)
- 1 vanilla bean pod, cut in half with the seeds scraped out, seeds divided
- 15 g unsalted butter, chopped, room temperature
- 120 ml double cream (heavy cream), cold
- 300 g fresh strawberries, washed, hulled & halved.
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 tablespoon pistachios, chopped (optional)
Make Sable Tart Base
- Cream butter and sugar together. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until pale and creamy.Incorporate egg yolks. Add in the egg yolks and mix for 1 minute until well combined.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt to form a dough. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl and add in the salt. Mix on low speed until just incorporated and the dough starts to clump. Bring the dough together by gently squeezing it together.Refrigerate dough. Form dough into a rough ball, then shape into a disc and wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Roll out disc. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). On lightly floured parchment paper, roll the dough out to a little larger than 20cm (8-inches) in diameter. Transfer parchment paper with the dough, onto a baking tray.Place a 20cm (8-inches) springform pan ring, and press down onto the dough, stamping out one large round. Use a knife if necessary to cut the dough on the inside of the pan ring. Remove any dough scraps. Leave the pan ring on the baking tray surrounding the dough.
- Bake. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the dough turns golden brown; the sides are set, but the centre is still soft. Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes on the tray.Release the spring form ring and lift off the tart base. Carefully transfer the pastry on the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool completely. The base is fragile when warm and can crumble easily. Remove from the parchment paper only when fully cooled.
Make Crème Légère
- Heat the milk. Combine milk, vanilla bean pod and half of the vanilla caviar into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer and bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan. Set pan aside for ten minutes then remove the vanilla bean pod. Whisk eggs and sugar. Whilst the milk is infusing, place the yolks and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk until thickened and pale. Add in cornflour and whisk until combined.
- Temper the eggs. While whisking the yolks, pour in the milk mixture in thin stream. And whisk until thoroughly combined. TIP: place the bowl on a tea towel to stop it from sliding around. Pour the mixture straight back into the saucepan and return to the stovetop.Heat the custard. Heat the custard on low, whilst continuously whisking, until it thickens. Once the custard starts to bubble, heat for a further minute and remove from the stovetop.
- Add in butter and cool pastry cream. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium-sized bowl. This will remove any egg lumps. Add the butter to the custard and whisk until melted and combined. Cool the pastry cream. Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.
- Whip the cream and fold through pastry cream. In a medium-sized bowl, add in the cream and whip until firm peaks form. Careful not to over-whip.Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and give it a whisk to loosen up. Add in a ¼ of the whipped cream to the pastry cream and whisk until combined and the pastry cream is of a looser consistency. Then add the remaining whipped cream and fold through with a rubber spatula.Once no cream is visible, spoon Crème Légère into a piping bag fitted with your favourite piping tip, and refrigerate until needed.
Macerate the strawberries
- Cut the strawberries. Slice the strawberries into half, quaters or slices.Sprinkle the sugar over the strawberries, add in the remaining vanilla caviar and 1 teaspoon of water and toss until the strawberries are coated. Set aside for 15-30 minutes, until the strawberries are juicy.
- Pipe cream then decorate with strawberries. Place the tart base onto a serving plate, then pipe the lightened pastry cream over the tart base. Start with a ring of large piped cream mounds on the outside edge. Pipe smaller mounds on the inside as this is where the strawberries will be placed.Top with macerated strawberries reserving strawberry juice. Either fan them around in a neat rosette or pile them over the centre. Sprinkle over chopped pistachios. Slice and serve immediately. With each slice, drizzle a little of the strawberry juice over the top.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
This looks absolutely beautiful Emma. What a stunning dessert. Can't wait to try ut.
Aw, Thanks so much Lena- - its well worth the effort- and if you don't fancy making the Creme Legere - then a simple Chantilly Cream is a fab alternative. x
I have not tried this recipe however I wanted to comment, I'm no Mrs. Berry but I feel I could have a good crack at it. I received your email and I have already sent links to my friends and family in hopes they will also be as obsessed with your recipes and your website as I am.
P.s your website is a true work of art, being a Cancerian aesthetic is something I seek everywhere I go and I'm so grateful to have found a gorgeous website with gorgeous recipes! <3 Let's celebrate .com!!!
With love from sunny Scotland x
Hi Savanna- Oh your words brought a smile to my face. Thank you so much for them and for your support. I've worked so hard on the website this past year and glad that you love it too!