Swiss Strawberry Tart
Here a delicate cookie crust holds lush vanilla-scented pastry cream and sweet glazed strawberries.
Make one 10-inch tart, about 8 servings
One 10-inch tart crust made from Cookie Dough, below, baked
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds height of season strawberries, rinsed and hulled
3 tablespoons tiny mint leaves or larger leaves stacked and cut into thin ribbons
Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
- For the pastry cream, combine the milk, cream and half the sugar in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Place over low heat and bring to a full boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the yolks and then whisk in the remaining sugar. Sift over and whisk in the flour.
- When the milk mixture boils, whisk it into the yolk mixture. Strain the mixture back into the pan and place over medium heat. Use a small, pointed-end whisk to whisk constantly, being sure to reach into the corners of the pan, until the cream comes to a full boil and thickens. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in the vanilla.
- Scrape the cream into a glass or stainless steel bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface. Chill until cold.
- No more than several hours before you intend to serve the tart, spread the cooled pastry cream in the baked tart crust.
- Arrange the berries on the pastry cream, gently pressing them to adhere, and covering the cream completely.
- Immediately before serving, sprinkle with the mint leaves followed by a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
Cookie Dough Tart Crust
Makes about 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) of dough, enough for two 10-inch (25-cm) tart crusts
1/4 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces/40 grams) slivered or whole blanched almonds, optional
3/4 cup (85 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks/225 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 16 pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
One 10-inch (25-cm) tart pan with removable bottom
- Combine the almonds and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. No visible pieces of almond should remain. Use a thin metal spatula to scrape away any of the mixture caked up in the corner where the bottom meets the side of the bowl.
- Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. (If not using the nuts, start here and add the sugar.) Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse again until the dough forms a ball.
- Invert the dough to a floured surface and carefully remove the blade. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a thick disk and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. You may prepare the dough several days in advance and keep it refrigerated, or double wrap and freeze the second piece of dough, defrosting it in the refrigerator overnight before use.
- To form a tart crust, remove one of the pieces of dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften at a cool room temperature for about 20 minutes, just until it is soft enough to roll without cracking, but still firm. Unwrap it and place it on a floured surface. Use the palm of your hand to press it to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
- Flour the work surface and the dough and gently roll the dough into a 13-inch disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed.
- Fold the dough in half and slide both hands under it, palms upward, and transfer it to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan. Don’t be concerned if the dough cracks or tears – you can press it back together.
- Evenly fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against both the bottom and side of the pan. Trim away any excess dough at the rim of the pan by rolling over with a rolling pin or scraping it away with the back of a paring knife.
- Finish off the top edges of the crust by pressing outward against the side of the pan with your thumb and down at the same time at the top of the crust with your index finger.
- Slide the tart pan onto a cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight before baking.
- When you are ready to bake the tart crust, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350˚F (180˚C).
- Pierce the chilled tart crust all over at 1-inch (2.5-cm) intervals with a fork. Line the crust, bottom and sides, with a 14-inch (35.5-cm) disk of parchment or wax paper and fill with dried beans or other small weights.
- Bake the tart crust until it is dry looking and set, about 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, and continue baking until it is evenly light golden, 15 to 20 additional minutes.
- Cool the crust on a rack and use it the same day you bake it.