The famous strawberry tart

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This past summer, I decided that I was going to use my post-grad free time to tackle some of the more complicated recipes that had been trying to claw their way out of Pinterest for way too long. The first of these recipes was a strawberry tart with a custard filling and chocolates inked shell. I admit it here and now, I love a challenge…especially when it comes to cooking. Does the recipe call for a double boiler and caramelizing torch? Excellent! Challenge accepted.

I initially made this tart as a practice run for a sorority alum function to which I needed to bring a strawberry dessert (ever the Zeta!). A little too time consuming for a mid-week event, I opted for a cake instead. Regardless, my parents and boyfriend positively devoured this tart. It was such a hit that the boyfriend requested it for his birthday in place of a cake.

This tart recipe is really not half as complicated as it looks or sounds. The toughest part is getting the semi-fragile dough into the pan without destroying it completely. Be warned, however, THIS IS A VERY TIME CONSUMING RECIPE! Unfortunately, I do not have pictures to go along with each step, so I hope my description will do the trick!

Strawberry tart
Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half-and-half
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon rose water or orange-flower water (optional)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced

1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together half-and-half, egg yolks, and, if desired, rose
3. Gradually whisk half-and-half mixture into sugar mixture in saucepan over medium heat.
Bring almost to a boil, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Remove mixture from heat.
4. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter and vanilla; cover and chill at least 4 hours.

Shell
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cold butter or margarine, cut up
2 tablespoons cold shortening
3 tablespoons cold water
3oz German sweet chocolate, melted (I use 1/2 cup of Ghirardelli chocolate chips/morsels)

Start shell when filling has been refrigerating for 1 hour.
1. Pulse first 3 ingredients in a blender or food processor 3 or 4 times or until combined.
2. Add 1/3 cup butter and shortening; pulse 5 or 6 times or until crumbly.
3. With blender or processor running, gradually add 3 tablespoons water, and process until dough forms a ball and leaves sides of bowl, adding more water if necessary.
4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour.
5. Spread water on the table. Place 2 sheets of overlapped wax paper onto the water (so it sticks to the table).
6. Pat dough into a small circle. DO NOT PUT ON THE PAPER YET!
7. Sprinkle flour onto both top and under side of the dough ball. Place the dough onto the wax paper. Put another sheet of wax paper over the dough. The dough should be squished between the paper stuck to the table and the piece you placed on top. This is to prevent your rolling pin from sticking!
8. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness, periodically pulling the top sheet of wax paper off and replace it so that the dough does not stick.
9. Once dough is the right size, remove top sheet of wax paper and gently turn empty tart pan upside down onto the dough. Flip the dough and pan over.
10. Press dough into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Line dough with parchment paper; fill with pie weights or dried beans (1 lb of dried black beans works best). I used beans because they fit into all of the crevices of the shell and prevent it from bubbling.
11. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment paper, and bake 3.5 more minutes.
Cool.

While shell cools, slice strawberries.

Once shell is cooled, melt chocolate in microwave.
Spread melted chocolate over bottom of cooled crust.
Chill covered for 5-10 minutes until almost set.

Citrus Glaze
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour)
1 cup fruit juice (orange juice)
2 tablespoons corn syrup

While chocolate is cooling in the shell, make glaze.
1. Bring the sugar and 1/2 cup juice to a boil.
2. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining juice. Add to the boiling juice and cook till thick.
3. Stir in the corn syrup. Bring back to a boil and remove from heat.
4. Cool.

Spoon custard filling into prepared pastry shell; top with strawberry slices.
Using a pastry brush, brush cooled glaze onto berries only.
Chill for 10-15 minutes and serve!

Happy baking!

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