Graham Hornigold gives an interesting twist to a classic crème brûlée by encasing it in pastry, and topping with strawberries for a deliciously rich dessert that will make a stunning dish at a dinner party. White chocolate decorations can be bought from pâtisserie stores or online.
For the Sablé Breton, divide the caster sugar evenly between two bowls (60g per bowl). Add the butter and salt to one of the bowls and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks to the other bowl and, using a whisk, combine thoroughly with the sugar.
Add the whisked egg yolks to the butter mixture and gently incorporate using a folding action.
Sieve together the flour and baking powder and stir into the butter and egg yolk mixture, producing a smooth dough.
Transfer the dough from the bowl to a sheet of baking parchment. Place another sheet on top and roll with a rolling pin until the dough is 1cm thick, then leave it to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Put the oven on to preheat to 170⁰C/gas mark 3.
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut out a circle 16cm in diameter. Place the circle of dough in the oven on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, then set aside to cool on a cooling rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 150⁰C/gas mark 2.
For the vanilla crème brûlée, place the cream in a saucepan, add the seeds from the vanilla pods and heat to a temperature of 60⁰C.
While the cream is heating, place the egg yolks in a separate bowl and, using a whisk, mix in the sugar. Line a 14cm spring-form tin with cling film.
When the cream has reached 60⁰C, remove from the heat and beat into the egg yolks. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and pour into the tin. Stretch cling film over the top and cook in a bain marie for 25-30 minutes until softly set. Remove from the oven and place in the freezer.
To make the caramelised puff pastry, create a thin sheet of pastry by rolling out the scraps to a thickness of 3mm. Give the pastry a generous dusting of icing sugar and chill in the fridge between two sheets of baking parchment for 15 minutes. Take out of the fridge and, without removing the baking parchment, toast in a sandwich press until golden.
To finish the dish, transfer the frozen brûlée from the tin to the Sablé Breton base. Leave in the fridge for 45 minutes to defrost.
Take the defrosted brûlée tart out of the fridge and cover the top with a liberal dusting of icing sugar. Heat with a blowtorch until the sugar caramelises. Dust again with icing sugar and reapply the blowtorch. Continue to add more sugar, caramelising each new layer with the blowtorch, until a crispy top has formed.
Arrange the strawberries and shards of the caramelised puff pastry around the edge of the tart. If desired, garnish with edible flowers and white chocolate decorations.