Monday, August 6, 2012

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart
Source: Maida Heatter's Pies & Tarts (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1997 ed.), pg.101.

I think this is the first tart I've ever made a tart. The pastry wasn't bad at all and easy to work with and the strawberry gelatin mixture is also simple. It is a bit time consuming but you can always make the tart shell ahead of time.

First, prepare the French Tart Pastry (this can be done ahead of time). 

Preheat the oven to 375.

Flour the dough ball lightly.
Maida recommends rolling the dough on a pastry cloth. I did not have one so I used a cutting board. Flour the board and rolling pin and roll the pastry into a 12-inch circle.
You can see mine is not perfectly round. As long it is large enough to cover your pan, you are good.
Carefully roll the dough up over the rolling pin.
Position the rolling pin over your pan and carefully unroll it so that the pastry falls into the pan.
Gently push the pastry down into the pan and up the sides. If the dough comes apart, press it back together. If you have pastry that hangs over the sides, either cut it off or fold it over and press into the pastry on the sides of the pan.
If desired, you can form a fluted edge or designs around the rim. I didn't do this and kept it plain!
Place the pastry shell on a cookie sheet and freeze it (15 minutes should be sufficient). (If you are leaving it in the freezer for more than a few hours, wrap it in plastic wrap.) Line the frozen shell with aluminum foil and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. I had neither and used BB pellets. Why there were BB pellets in the kitchen drawer remains a mystery!
Bake the shell for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully the foil and pie weights. Return the shell to the oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until it is thoroughly dry and slightly browned. The pastry will shrink away from the sides. If you see the pastry puff up in places after removing the foil, prick it with a fork.
(Note: You may want to wait and remove it from the pan after the strawberries have been added and after it has chilled. I did it beforehand and had no problems) Removing the shell from the pan: Find a bowl or anything with a flat bottom that is smaller than the bottom of the flan pan. Sit the pan on top of the bowl and carefully ease the bottom portion of the pan off.

Now take a flat spatula or something similar to carefully run underneath the pie shell to loosen it from the pan (the shell popped right off for me).
Carefully transfer the shell to your serving plate. The shell is rather hard and easy to work with. I was afraid that it would shatter to pieces but this was not the case.


2 or 3 pint boxes (2 or 3 lbs.) fresh strawberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup plus 1 TBS. water
1 TBS. lemon juice
3 TBS. corn starch

In a blender, puree 1 box of the berries to make 2 cups puree.
Strain the puree and place it in a heavy saucepan. Add the sugar and salt.
Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of the water and let it stand.
To the remaining 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of water, add the lemon juice.
Add the cornstarch and stir to dissolve.
Add the lemon juice and the cornstarch mixture to the berries.
Over medium heat, stir constantly with a rubber spatula for about 6-7 minutes until the mixture comes to a low boil, thickens, and becomes slightly clear.
Reduce the heat to low and add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Continue to cook and stir gently for 3 more minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl to cool.
Place the berries in the baked shell. You can do this a variety of ways. You can stand them up whole or slice them and arrange them in a pattern.
Spoon the cooled gelatin over the strawberries and in between.
Refrigerate the tart for a few hours.

Whipped Cream Topping

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated or confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip all the ingredients until the cream holds a soft shape (but not stiff).

The cream can be served alongside the tart. I used it for a garnish instead.

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