Flemish Yeast Dough Tart with Summer Strawberries

Ruby red goodness.  What a way to celebrate summer fruits!
Ruby red goodness. What a way to celebrate summer fruits!

Today’s recipe showcases a traditional Flemish Yeast Dough in a Summer Berry Tart courtesy of Ruth Van Waerebeek and her cookbook ‘Everybody Eats Well in Belgium’.  I’ve made a few adaptations – used a food processor for example – but otherwise have remained true to her traditional Flemish yeast dough.  I must admit that leaving a tart case to ‘rise’  was a new experience, but the result was a lovely, almost cakey cradle for the summer fruit and red currant glaze.  Well worth the extra hour proving time, as they say the proof is in the pudding …let’s see how long this tart lasts in the office tomorrow!


For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain (all purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup of milk at blood temperature
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 sachet) dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • Approximately 1 kg of fruit of your liking (strawberries, raspberries blueberries, or for a winter version try the oven roasted rhubarb and apple from last year’s Rhubarb Crumble recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cup of caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or dash of vanilla extract)
  • 1 large egg beaten together with 1 tablespoon of sugar (eggwash)

For the glaze:

  • reserved juices from fruit
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red currant jelly
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

How to do it:

Activating the yeast...
Activating the yeast…

1. Place your dry ingredients for the dough (except for the yeast) into the bowl of a food processor.   Gently warm your milk to blood temperature (microwave or stove top) and stir in the yeast.  Leave it for 5 minutes or so to activate.  You’ll know that it is working when it looks puffy and full of air bubbles.  Note: if it does not get puffy and bubbly your yeast may be old – it wont work, so you’ll have to buy some more.  But the good news is you have not wasted your dough!



Just coming together...
Just coming together…

2. Pulse the food processor a few times to blend the flour, sugar and salt. then, with the motor running add the egg, melted butter and yeast mixture.  Mix just until the mixture comes together – be careful not over work!  This dough needs to be soft and pliable.



Set to rise for the first time...
Set to rise for the first time…

3. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work bench, don’t knead, just shape gently into a ball.  The dough will be quite soft and sticky.  Do not be tempted to add more flour to it, just use enough to stop the dough sticking to your hands while you shape it.  Put the ball of dough into and oiled bowl, cover with gladwrap and leave to rise for an hour or so.



Mmmm, the combinations are endless!
Mmmm, the combinations are endless!

4.  While your dough is proving, you can prepare your fruit.  In a large bowl mix the fruit, sugar, flour and vanilla or cinnamon. Pour the fruit into a colander and drain the juices for about 30 minutes or so (reserve these for later use).  Mine gave up a lot of juice, but there was still juice in my tart – drain for longer rather than shorter!



5.  Preheat your oven to about 190 degrees celsius and grease two 8 inch tart pans (with removable bottoms) –  or one 10-12 inch tart pan (you’ll have a bit dough left over so let your kids go crazy making dough monsters with the sweet dough).  Remember to reduce the amount of fruit a little as well…



Gently, gently ... this dough is really soft - but very forgiving.  Easy to patch if you tear.
Gently, gently … this dough is really soft – but very forgiving. Easy to patch if you tear.

6. If making two bases, divide your dough and roll out each half into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.  Roll one piece of dough up over a rolling-pin and gentle unroll over the tart case.  Press it gently into place, and trim the edges, crimping to the edges before pricking holes in the bottom with a fork. Leave the tart base to rise again for another 20 minutes or so.



Some cinnamon eggwash for extra flavour...
Some cinnamon eggwash for extra flavour…

7.  When the base looks light and fluffy, prepare your eggwash and lightly paint the base and sides.  I happened to have some cinnamon sugar handy, so I used this in my eggwash for an added flavour kick!




Doesn't this look beautiful?
Doesn’t this look beautiful?

8.  Add the fruit to the base (gently – this dough is really soft) and place the tart in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the shell top is nicely browned.  Leave the tart to cool for 15 minutes or so before removing the base from the pan.



Ready yo glaze it up!
Ready yo glaze it up!

9.  Lastly, make your glaze by simmering all the ingredients except the cornstarch and water in a pan over medium heat.  When bubbling, mix the cornstarch and cold water and add to the sauce pan, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and then remove from the heat (about a minute).




11.  Spoon the glaze over the tart and enjoy warm or at room temperature (I think with some lovely double cream or vanilla bean custard!).



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