***Note: I started this prior to leaving, but did not have it finished by the time I boarded the airplane. Here it is, in its original format, for your drooling pleasure.
I’m leaving for Norway tomorrow for a 10-day study abroad opportunity. I really can’t believe this moment has come, because it was January when all of the plans were made. Time moved quite quickly this semester, and here we are, less than a day before I’ll be leaving on a jet plane.
I’ve been slacking hardcore on the blogging, and for that, I deeply apologize. I had no idea how much of a time suck planning for a trip, a wedding, and studying for finals would be (btw, I received all A’s this semester!). But I’m back and I want to share with you a lovely strawberry tart I made for our regular Sunday night dinner party we have with friends.
I usually bring dessert, while the hosts make dinner. We eat, drink, talk, then eventually end up in front of the television, watching whichever HBO drama is being shown, right now, it’s Game of Thrones. A French strawberry tart isn’t exactly the dessert one thinks of eating while watching sword battles, dragons, and gratuitous nudity – but I’m not in the business of creating themed desserts. So strawberry tart it is!
I’m also trying out taking photos with my Hipstamatic app for my phone. Not sure yet how I feel about the look of them, but here you go. The strawberry tart
This could quite easily be the simplest sweet tart shell I’ve ever made. I’ve remarked on sweet tart pastry before, and the other recipe I use is good as well, but this one comes together in a flash!
Once the pastry is shaped into the tart pan, it chills in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but it can hang out for even up to an hour before baking.
The beginnings of a good pastry cream.
Orange and lemon zest seemed to be the perfect addition for this tart.
Strawberry Tart with Citrus Pastry Cream
Adapted from chow.com
For tart dough:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
For citrus pastry cream:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds and pod reserved
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), cut into small pieces and at room temp
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 pound medium strawberries
For tart dough:
Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir until evenly incorporated. Add the measured flour and stir until just combined and a soft dough forms.
Sprinkle the dough over the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your fingers, evenly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Cover the tart shell with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the citrus pastry cream.
For the pastry cream:
Combine milk, vanilla pod, and vanilla seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the milk just comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, place the sugar and egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl and mix until incorporated. Set a fine-mesh strainer over the egg mixture. Place the cornstarch and flour in the strainer and sift them into the egg mixture. Stir to combine. Wash and dry the strainer and place it over a second medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
Remove and discard the vanilla pod from the milk. While whisking constantly, slowly add all of the milk to the egg mixture.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. While whisking constantly, cook until the mixture thickens and when the whisk is scraped across the bottom of the pan, it leaves a clear line.
This took me a lot longer than I had originally expected, but be patient. You want it to be almost the consistency of pudding. If you must, turn the heat up slightly, but do not stop whisking and do not take your eyes off of it. It will scorch and you will be sad.
Using rubber spatula, transfer the pastry cream to the strainer and stir until completely strained, leaving any solids behind. Scrape the cream clinging to the underside of the strainer into the bowl. Add the butter a little at a time and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the zest and salt.
To prevent a skin from forming, press a sheet of cling film directly on the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours (or overnight). Meanwhile, finish the crust.
Bake the crust and assemble:
Heat the oven to 350ºF.
Prick the shell all over with a fork and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove and place on cooling rack and let cool completely before filling.
Meanwhile, wash and dry the strawberries thoroughly. Just before assembling, hull the strawberries and slice them 1/4-inch thick. Remove the cream from the fridge, whisk until smooth, and spread into an even layer in the cooled crust.
Starting from the outside and working your way to the center, evenly shingle the strawberries, pointed ends angling slightly up, in an overlapping circular pattern.
Slice and serve immediately. If you want to go nuts, serve with freshly whipped cream.