Strawberries, like cherries, peaches, and plums, only ever enter my kitchen in summer. By now I have so many different recipes for them, each more delicious than the next, that I often forget about this grand original, the strawberry tart. I have farmer friends who live nearby and they grow the finest strawberries I’ve ever had, but they’re fragile and don’t travel well. Nor do they last very long, so we try to eat them all in one day. In season we eat the first batches straight out of the box, and then I soon turn to my strawberry repertoire. Every single time I make this tart I am surprised at how good it is, which is undoubtedly why it became a classic in the first place. I do have a little twist: I use lime instead of lemon for the pastry cream, which makes the tart super refreshing and tangy.
- all-purpose flour
- sweet tart dough (from plantia's tarte tatin, ingredients below)
- ²⁄³ cup / 130 g sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup / 30 g cornstarch, sifted
- 1 cup / 240 ml whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons red currant jelly
- 1 pound / 450 g strawberries mint leaves, for serving (optional)
For the sweet tart dough
- 1½ cups / 180 g all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for rolling
- ¹⁄³ cup / 65 g sugar pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 7 tablespoons / 100 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for the pan
- Make the dough. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the sugar, salt and egg yolk and mix slowly with your hands. Add the butter and mix well until you have a smooth and homogenous dough. Form it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch /
- 30 cm round that’s ¼ inch / 6 mm thick. Fit into the base and up the sides of a 10-inch / 25 cm tart pan. Trim off any excess dough. Prick the base all over with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes to prevent shrinkage during baking.
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F / 200˚C.
- Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the sides start to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the pie weights. Return the tart shell to the oven and continue to bake until the base is golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, and whole egg. Whisk in the cornstarch.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a low simmer over medium heat. Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in the vanilla and lime zest.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan, whisk in the lime juice, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened to a custard and boils for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour the cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the cream so it does not form a skin. Let cool and then refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours or overnight.
- In a small saucepan, heat the red currant jelly with 1 tablespoon water over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, a minute or two. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Spoon the lime custard into the tart shell and smooth with a spatula. Decorate with the strawberries. With a pastry brush, brush the tart shell and the strawberries with the red currant glaze. Serve immediately, topped with mint leaves, if desired, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving.
Excerpted from French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson. Copyright © 2016. Excerpted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd. a Penguin Random House company. All rights reserved.