From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I can only assume it's the shape of this tart that leads everyone to believe it's a Parisian dessert. While strawberry tarts may be common in France, this one has traveled no further than the Hudson River and it has no pedigree to speak of. I found a version of this when I was a bride, At that time, my kitchen bible was the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook and the recipe for this ruby gem was included within it. When the filling is made with seasonally ripe berries, this is an outstanding dessert that's worthy of any table, even one in France. I've included a recipe for a short crust for those of you who prefer to make your own pastry, though I must admit it is really not necessary for this luscious dessert. A commercial crust works just as well because strawberries are the star here. If they are O.K. you reputation as a cook and baker will remain intact and may even be enhanced. I do have a caution or two for those who plan to make the tart. It's a seasonal dessert, so make sure the berries you use are fully ripe and flavorful. It's also important to glaze the berries about two hours before you plan to serve the dessert. After a couple of hours the glaze will begin to weep and your gorgeous tart will begin to look like the portrait of Dorian Gray. I love this dessert for its simplicity and old-fashioned goodness. I think you will, too. Here is how the tart is made.
All-American Strawberry Tart...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Better Homes and Gardens
Sweet Pastry Dough:
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg yolk
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/2 tablespoons ice cold water + additional water as needed
8 cups strawberries, washed and stemmed
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 to 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
1) Place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat egg, almond extract and water together in a small bowl. Pour into flour and pulse. Remove from bowl. Add additional water as required to make a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On lightly floured surface roll dough into a 10-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Prick bottom and sides of crust. Line with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
3) Place 1 cup strawberries in a blender jar or bowl of a food processor. Add 2/3 cup water. Blend or process until smooth. Pour into a two cup measure. Add additional water as required to make 1-1/2 cups of mixture. Place sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Stir in berry mixture. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add food coloring, if using. Let sit for 10 minutes without stirring.
4) Spread 1/4 cup of glaze over bottom of tart shell. Arrange remainder of berries, stem side down, in pastry shell. Spoon remaining glaze over berries, making sure each berry is covered with glaze. Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Yield: 8 servings.
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