post65 // strawberry tart

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it’s officially strawberry season !!! well maybe not “officially,” but the strawberries are out and about here in paris and i’ve received news that they are springing up stateside as well.

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the dutiful strawberry happens to be one of my favorite fruits to use in desserts. watch out if you’re baking with me in the summertime, i sneak them into everything! (example a and example b.) last week, i decided to use them in a cake i baked for one of my first “clients” — yes, i got paid! i made a fraisier, a french cake with strawberry layers on the outside, genoise sponge cake as the base and pastry cream and more strawberries filling the middle. it’s called a fraisier because “fraise” means strawberry in french. the fraisier is usually topped with a thick layer of marzipan (almond paste) on top but i decided to forego this in order to let the strawberries truly shine.

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in this week’s recipe, i adapted the fraisier to a tart base and added in a thick layer of strawberry jam to the bottom of the tart. one thing i’ve learned in pastry school is that a surprise layer inside a cake or tart is a really fun way to jazz up a dessert. also when someone cuts into the dessert, they’ll see these different layers and colors, which can be super appealing to a customer.

if you’re like me and keep leftover pie crust in the freezer, go ahead and defrost it straight away! if not, i’ve listed my classic pie crust in the bottom for you to start on. it’s easy peasy!

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the actual assembly of this tart was super fun and i bounced around a lot of ideas for layering the strawberries before i landed on this one. it’s simple and makes a statement — that’s a twofer i’m always a fan of.

i opted for a “rustic” pie crust but if you’d like to shape or microplane your crust to make it perfect, go for it! i just liked the look of something not too fussy.

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and in this week’s other stuff! 


strawberry tart

fixings

pie crust (for a 9-inch tart ring, you will have leftover):

2½ cups ap (all-purpose) flour // 320 grams

1 teaspoon salt // 6 grams

1 tablespoon sugar // 12 grams

1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter // 225 grams

extra butter or oil to prep pan

pastry cream

1½ cups milk // 360 grams

4 medium-sized or 3 large-sized egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar // 120 grams

2 tablespoons cornstarch // 24 grams

2 tablespoons flour // 24 grams

1/3 cup butter // 80 grams

1 cup beans for blind bake

assembly

1/4 cup good-quality strawberry jam // 80 grams

basket of strawberries (at least 20 small to medium-sized)

directions

crust (adapted from Kate Lebo’s, Pie School):

  1. preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 3/4 cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prep the following steps.
  3. in a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. drop 1-tablespoon pieces of butter into the flour and toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
  4. place your palms up and curl your fingers back to scoop up the flour and fat. rub, rub, rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. make sure you reach into the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. it should be chunky—mostly cherry-size pieces, the smaller bits resembling coarse cornmeal.
  5. take the water out of the freezer. pour it (slowly!) in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. toss to distribute the moisture. as you add a bit more water and toss, the dough will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. if it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. if the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done.
  6. split the dough into 2 and form each ball into a thick disk using your palms and thumbs. wrap both disks in plastic wrap. refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 days before rolling.
  7. butter or oil the tart pan. once rested, take the crust out of the fridge and roll to fit your tart or pie pan. use the rolling pin to run along the top of the tart pan in order to remove excess dough from the sides.
  8. layer a sheet of tin foil on the crust. pour the beans or rice onto the tin foil to prep the crust for par-baking.
  9. bake the crust for 5 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes. warning: these cooking times may vary from oven to oven so just keep watch on your tart!

pastry cream (while your crust is baking!):

  1. whisk together egg yolks and sugar while putting milk onto boil. combine egg yolks with dry components: cornstarch, flour, sugar.
  2. once milk reaches a boil, pour gently over the other ingredients while whisking. transfer all ingredients back to pot and heat together until thickened and bloopy. take off heat and add the butter. mix well and transfer to the fridge to cool down. (this can be done up to 3 days ahead of time.)

assembly:

  1. while tart is cooling (in fridge, freezer, or just at room-temp), hull strawberries and cut to ~1/2cm thick slices. for reference, i got about 4 slices out of each medium-sized strawberry.
  2. once tart is cool, fill bottom with a thin layer of strawberry jam. follow with a thick layer of pastry cream, spiraling from the inside out. make sure to fill any gaps with extra pastry cream.
  3. layering the strawbs: organize your strawberries from large to small before putting them on the tart. start by placing strawberries along edge of the tart. once the first row is complete around the tart, add a second layer that staggers the first. repeat until you fill the entire tart, leaving just a small hole in the middle to plop three strawberries in for garnish. voilà!
  4. store tart in a sealed container in fridge. it should keep for up to 3 days depending on when you made your pastry cream.

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