It’s Wimbledon and Strawberry Tart Season and whether you win or loose you need an excuse for a treat. Canny bakers have a few tricks up their sleeves to make easy delicious treats at the drop of a ball!


425ml full-fat milk

1 vanilla pod

2-3 strips unwaxed lemon zest

5 free range egg yolks,

100g caster sugar

2 level tablespoons plain flour

1 level tablespoon cornflour


Choose a whisking bowl that will sit over a saucepan of simmering water.

Using a sharp, non serrated knife, split the vanilla pod and scrape out the black seeds.

Add the milk, vanilla pod, seeds and lemon zest to a saucepan and warm to boiling point.

Remove from the heat and allow the flavours to infuse.

(You can use a few drops of vanilla essence instead).

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until they are light and fluffy.

Sift the flour and cornflour and gently fold into the mixture.

Warm the water in the saucepan and set the bowl of whisked egg yolks over it, taking acre that the water does not reach the bottom of the bowl.

Strain the infused milk into the mixture and use a hand whisk to gently stir the mix until it thickens and cooks over the simmering water. Be careful not to let the custard overheat or the egg may curdle.

It will gradually thicken and in no more than 5-10 minutes you will have delicious set custard.

Take off the heat and cover with cling-film.

Leave to set.

The ‘crem pat’ can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days ready to use.


480 g self-raising flour

180 g caster sugar

240g cold butter, cut into cubes

2 free-range egg yolks

2 tablespoons cold water


Add the flour, sugar and butter to a mixer and whizz to get texture of breadcrumbs.

Add the beaten egg yolk and pulse to blend the pastry together.

Add the cold water and give a final pulse to create a pastry ball.

Bring together with your hands and press into a sausage shape.

Wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge for up to 5 days to cut into disks and bake as required.

To bake: pre-heat oven 150C/Gas 2

Cut out disks of pastry and roll into rounds, 2-3 cm thick.

Cut into rounds with 8cm cookie cutter.

Press into a well-greased 12-hole muffin tin, stab the bottoms with a fork.

Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is browned and starts to shrink from the sides of the tin.


Can be stored in a sealed tin for 2-3 weeks.

Mary Contini OBE is a writer and Director of Valvona & Crolla ltd. We are happy to welcome you in our CaffèBar and shop again, open all day. Book and order online: www. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.