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Strawberry Tart

Jun 24, 2014

Strawberry tart

At the ground floor of the building I live, there is my local greengrocer. And the strawberries are displayed in a tray that lay right next to the building's entrance, like a trap. Each day when I'm passing through, my eyes catch a glimpse of the picture-perfect strawberries that have visibly dwindled since the morning. The vendor, seeing my interest hands me one, confident that the taste of his produce won't let me pass empty handed. I thank him, hiding my hesitance to eat unwashed fruit and after some small talk, I'm hopping up the stairs with that strawberry in one hand, to be gobbled after being rinsed and half a kilo in a paper bag in the other.

My brother have, like most brothers, always exploited my share when we were kids. Be it ice cream, chocolate or a round to play The Prince Of Persia. Strawberries too disappeared in a matter of minutes before I could get to eat my share. I don't know if it's that or because they used to be scarcer in those times, they were really precious to me. It was more appropriate to enjoy them exclusively and there was no need to 'waste' them on tarts or cakes.

This summer though, strawberries magically got so sweet and abundant and their source being so close to where I live, it was time to let go of my old-fashioned habit. The first thing to do was to 'waste' them with this classic, handsome tart.  

I used pâte sablée as usual, and crème pâtissière, custard cream. Strawberries don't last long on the tart, passing their color to the custard cream so it's best to assemble the tart right before serving. Both custard cream and the base can be prepared ahead and stay fresh in the fridge for a couple of days and for three to four months in the deep freezer. Sprinkling the tart with roasted nuts gives it a crunchy kick.

Strawberry tart

Strawberry Tart

serves 6

Kitchenware Required:

  • 20-22 cm/8 inch round tart tin with a removable base
  • mixer

Ingredients:

For the topping:

  • 500 g strawberries, pitted, washed and wiped dry
  • 1/2 cup strawberry, cherry or other berry marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cognac or orange liquor

For the tart base:

  • 200 g flour, sifted
  • 100 g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 100 gr powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

For crème pâtissière:

  • 100 g sugar
  • 3 egg yolk
  • 45 g flour
  • 250 ml boiling milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the tart base:

  1. With a hand-held mixer whisk butter until creamy. Add flour and rub it into the butter in between your palms to obtain a crumbly mixture. Make a well in the centre, add egg, powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
  2. With a hand-held mixer or your hand, blend everything together to form a smooth and soft dough. Roll the dough into a ball. Flour your hands if the dough doesn't come off easily. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. On a clean, dusted surface, roll the dough into a 28 cm/11 inch diameter disk. With the help of a spatula, place the dough loosely on the baking tin and press gently into the bottom and the sides.
  4. Pierce a dozen of holes on the surface of the dough with a fork. Line the base with a grease-proof paper and put a handful of dried chickpeas or beans for weight. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until slightly golden. Leave to cool at room temperature.

For crème pâtissière:

  1. Whisk egg yolks with sugar for 2-3 minutes or until creamy and light yellow in color.
  2. Fold in the flour.
  3. Add the boiled milk in a thin stream while whisking.
  4. Transfer the custard to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while whisking continuously. Reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 2-3 minutes and keep stirring.
  5. Remove from heat and fold in the butter. Cover the surface of the crème pâtissière with a cling film to prevent a crust from forming. Let cool at room temperature.

Assembling the tart:

  1. To prepare the glaze, boil marmalade, sugar and liquor in a small sauce pan, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when it comes to a boil. Let cool at room temperature. Heat it up if need be since it hardens when cooled. 
  2. Brush the base of the tart base with the glaze. Pour the custard filling onto the tart and level the surface with the back of a spoon. 
  3. Arrange strawberries on the tart closely together. Put the largest strawberry in the center, their stems ending in the cream. Brush strawberries with the glaze. 
  4. Let the tart cool in the fridge for 1 hour before serving. Consume at once. 
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