Friday, June 04, 2010

Strawberry Tart

This tart was actually made last weekend for a dinner party but this week has been full to the brim with the bath project so it had to wait to be posted here.

Strawberry season has arrived meaning that our local strawberry farm has lots of these gorgeous red beauties for sale at reasonable prices. They are juicy and very sweet since they are grown a stones throw away from the farm stand and picked a number of times a day in response to demand.

Contrast that to the ones in grocery stores that are picked when almost green and shipped long distances, being out for sale days later in some cases. The berries look pretty most of the time but are rarely juicy, often woody and even hollow inside. Sweetness varies, too. If you can find local strawberries, do use makes a difference! Often farmers markets will have local berries and other fruits in season.

Last month the Daring Baker challenge allowed me to produce a nice stack of cream filled cream puffs liberally coated with dark caramelized sugar. There was plenty of pastry cream left, so I used it as the filling for the tart with that pastry cream as a base. The strawberries were sliced in half and arrayed around the tart in a nice pattern. Some seedless raspberry jam, melted in the microwave and then brush over the berries, gave a nice finishing sheen. A little time in the fridge firmed it all up. For the tart base I chose Dorie Greenspan's cookie like Sweet Tart Dough from her book Baking:from my home to yours.

This tart was heavenly! The crust provided some crispness, the juicy berries went perfectly with the smooth, rich cream filling. Every mouthful was a delight. Do try this while berry season is here. You could easily substitute blueberries or raspberries for the strawberries...or use all three and you have the perfect tart for the 4th of July.

Have a slice!

Quick Chiboust Cream Filling for the Tart

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (7 gr.)
1/4 cup cold water (60 ml)
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar (130 gr)
½ cup all-purpose flour (70 gr)
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk (500ml)
1 Tb. rum
¼ cup whipping cream (57 gr)
3 egg whites
dash of salt
1/2 cup sugar (105 gr)

Soak the gelatin in the 1/4 cup of cold water.

Put the sugar, flour, and salt into a saucepan and stir together with a whisk. Add the yolks and enough milk to make a paste. Whisk in the remainder of the milk.

Place over low heat and stirring constantly, cook until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Stir in the whipping cream.Set the mixing bowl in cold water and stir until the cream is cool. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and using clean beaters, whip them with the dash of salt. As soon as the whites begin to stiffen, gradually add the 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until they are very stiff. Fold the egg whites into the cooled cream.

The above recipe is from the May 2007 Daring Baker's challenge...Gateau St. Honore'.
You will need about 2/3 of it as filling for the tart. Since it has gelatin in it, a bit of time in the fridge after putting the tart together is a good will firm the cream up nicely for tart slicing.

Almond Sweet Tart Dough - fully baked
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground almonds
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold butter (frozen is great), cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put first four ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in - you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough (which you save in the fridge to patch any cracks after baking the crust). Press gently. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and center a rack in the oven.
Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the frozen crust. (Since you froze the crust you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press down gently with the back of a spoon where puffed. If there are cracks, patch now with that piece of dough you saved, moistening it slightly before pressing on the cracked area.

Return the tart pan to the oven and bake another 8 - 10 minutes or until it is firm and golden brown. Watch it closely so it doesn't burn or turn too dark a brown. Cool the crust to room temperature before filling.


  1. Beautiful. I think I could tell these from the store strawberries by just looking.
    Save me a slice!

    Bath room ... so wonderful when done.

  2. Oh wow, your strawberries look really good. Ours aren't quite there yet. But when they are, I will have to give this recipe a go.

  3. Looks delicious! Am envious of your produce, always!

  4. Gorgeous tart! I think strawberries are just starting to come in to the farmer's markets. My family would adore this tart!