This rustic strawberry French tart has just the right amount of strawberry flavor without being cloyingly sweet. If you add in some homemade whipped cream as a garnish, this recipe is the perfect addition to your summer dessert lineup.
It’s no secret that early summer brings a host of fresh berries to local farmer's markets and grocery stores. I fell victim to the two-for-one strawberry deal at the grocery this weekend. With two pints of strawberries on hand, I knew I had to do some baking.
If you've been on a trip to pick strawberries, and you've got a bunch sitting around, be sure to check out my tips for storing your strawberries. You don't want anything to go to waste!
Make strawberry tarts the French way
The last time I was home in Minnesota, my dad shared a strawberry tart recipe from the Chicago Tribune dated March 23, 1978. The article was titled Make Strawberry Tarts the French Way. So exactly what is the French way of making tarts? Consider a pastry rich in butter, a creamy custard filling, and a glazed strawberry topping.
Why you'll love this recipe
Tart recipes are easy to make when you need an elegant dessert. I didn't have a particularly special occasion for this tart, but I will say that it was delicious. It had just the right amount of strawberry flavor without being cloyingly sweet. If you add in some homemade whipped cream as a garnish, this recipe is the perfect addition to your summer dinner or lunch.
Heather's helpful hints
When making pastry for a French tart, remember to use cold butter and ice water. Cold ingredients help prevent the development of gluten in the flour, as does chilling after mixing. Gluten is a protein that causes toughening of the pastry—although needed in yeast bread to form the structure of the loaf, it is not desirable in pastry.
The more you handle the past, the more gluten will develop. Light rolling and light mixing is essential. Also, be careful not to stretch the pastry once you roll it. When placing it in the tart pan, gently coax it into the edges of the pan—don’t stretch it from the center, but pull it in from the edges to make it fit.
Rustic Strawberry French Tart
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- ⅓ cups ice water
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup flour
- 2 cups hot milk
- 2 tablespoons kirsch
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 quart fresh strawberries
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons kirsch
- Combine flour, sugar, and alt. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Stir in just enough water to form ball. Chill dough about 1 hour for ease in handling. Roll dough to ⅛ inch thickness on lightly floured pastry cloth or board. Transfer to 10-inch tart pan by rolling dough on rolling pin. Trim edge by pressing dough against edge of pan. Prick bottom and sides of tart shell. Line with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and fill with uncooked rice or dry beans. Bake at 400 degrees about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove plastic wrap with rice. Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.
- For custard, beat egg yolks with electric mixer. Gradually beat in sugar until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and forms ribbon. Beat in flour. Pour mixture into heavy saucepan; add hot milk in thin stream. Heat and beat until thickened. Beat in kirsch, butter, and vanilla. Cover and chill.
- For glaze, wash and dry strawberries. Slice enough berries to measure 1 ½ cup; mash and pour into small saucepan. Stir in sugar and kirsch. Heat to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Pour glaze into blender; process until smooth; strain and set aside. Slice remaining berries. Pour custard into cooled crust, spreading evenly. Arrange sliced berries in attractive patter over custard. Spoon glaze over. Chill until serving time. Tart may be served with sweetened whipped cream, if you wish.