Flaky crust, rich pastry cream and glazed strawberries - they all come together in this elegant dessert. This dessert does require some prep but I think that makes it perfect for any special occasion, as each step can be completed a day in advance then assembled just before serving!
Classic Strawberry Tart
For the pate brisee (crust):
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb sugar
18 Tb cold unsalted butter, but into tablespoons
1) Whisk together dry ingredients. Add your butter and use your hands to break up the cold butter. I love make pie crust by hand - you get to control the texture. Continue to break up the butter and mix into the flour until mixture is 'sandy' and the butter resembles small pebbles.
2) Add cold water a couple tablespoons at a time, while working the dough by hand. It will slowly come together into a ball - be sure not to add too much water, you don't want sticky dough.
3) Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
4) Once chilled, remove one half from plastic wrap and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Line a tart pan (with a removable bottom) or 10-12" springform pan with dough, and approx. 1/2" up the sides. Cover with parchment paper, then pie weights or dry beans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until edges begin to brown and dough is cooked in the middle. After 20 minutes, I carefully removed my paper and beans and baked the crust another 10 minutes to make sure it baked completely.
5) Let cool in pan 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove crust and finish cooling on a wire rack.
6) Use the other half to make another crust. Because you will want to eat this again. Soon.
Making the pastry cream:
1 1/2 cups milk
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tb corn starch
1 Tb vanilla extra, or 1 vanilla bean
1 Tb butter
1) Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat - do not let it boil! If you are using a vanilla bean: make a slice down the bean and scrap out seeds. Add seeds and bean to simmer with the milk. After a few minutes, you may notice the milk starts to look shimmery- that's a good sign. Heat for about 5 minutes.
2) While milk is heating, beat your eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until they are thick, pale yellow in color and when you lift your mixer 'ribbons' form on the surface. This will take a little while. Reduce speed to low, and add the cornstarch and salt.
3) With mixer still on low speed, slowly drizzle in 1/2 of the hot milk. Take it slow and steady - you are cooking the eggs with the hot milk. If you pour to fast and stir too slow, the eggs will curdle. Slow and steady wins the race and makes for a smoother cream!
4) Remove vanilla bean from remaining milk - pour egg mixture into the milk and whisk like crazy! Keep it creamy! Continue whisking - over medium heat - until cream has thickened. It may start to bubble, this is ok; just keep stirring and don't let it completely boil. You will notice the color start to change as it thickens, this is ok too. Once it is thick like pudding remove from heat and add butter and vanilla extract (if using extract).
5) Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool slightly before putting in fridge. The pastry cream needs to cool completely before using in the tart.
Amount of strawberries depends on design, I used a full pint
3-4 Tb apricot preserves or jelly
3-4 Tb water
1) This apricot with water, until it is a syrup consistency - set aside.
2) Clean and dry strawberries. You may place them whole, or slice to create a design like mine.
1) Spread cooled pastry cream evenly in crust.
2) Place fruit in desired pattern.
3) Using a pastry brush, carefully brush fruit with apricot glaze. Use just enough glaze to make the tart shiny.
4) Keep in fridge till ready to serve. Can be assembled 1-2 hours in advance, at most! Serve cold.
Crust - make 1-2 days in advance. Once completely cooled, keep securely wrapped in plastic wrap to keep dry, fresh and crisp.
Pastry Cream - make 1-2 days in advance. Keep in sealed container in fridge.
Fruit - use your favorite fruit! Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mandarin orange slices, kiwi, peaches, bananas -- all wonderful!
Preserves - I had mixed reviews for using the apricot preserves (which is the traditional glaze choice.) Next time, I may try lemon preserves with strawberries & blueberries. Or strawberry on strawberry.... Or blackberry jam on all berries.... Or thinned honey on peach slices.... So many possibilities!
Cooking everything in casserole dishes!
With busy lives & sometimes quick meals, we mom & daughters team are always looking for healthy, tasty & convenient dishes to serve our family. So, please join us as we share everything from appetizers to main dishes & desserts!