Rustic Strawberry Tart
May 5, 2008
I’ve been making variations of this rustic tart since last fall. And, for that, I’m sorry. Sorry, that is, for holding out on you until now. Because a recipe this adaptable, relatively guiltless and delicious should clearly be shared.
Since I discovered this recipe last fall, I’ve been making the pastry and stuffing it with pretty much anything I can think of. I’ve done the crumb-topped apple filling called for in the original recipe, sometimes using pears instead of apples. And I’ve gone savory, too, with butternut squash and roasted onions.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
Like I said, I discovered the recipe in the fall, when the air was brisk and leaves were splendid shades of rust and gold. In those days, cinnamon-and-nutmeg-spiced apple chunks were divine. From there, the produce selection only got more, shall we say, hearty. I gave it my best go with the squash and pears, but eventually, I found that I was flat out of inspiring fillings. I won’t pretend I didn’t consider baking off the pastry and eating it plain (or perhaps sprinkled with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar … mmm), but, thankfully, I never got quite that desperate.
Fast forward to last week. I’ve been eating sliced strawberries on my morning yogurt lately and at the end of last week, I found myself with a couple leftover fistfuls. And a need for a dessert on Friday night. Presto! It was time to bring this recipe back out and fill it with a fruit that was less earthy, like the pears and apples of the last six months, and more vibrant and juicy. I tossed some sliced strawberries with sugar, lemon juice and a touch of corn starch. I then tucked a pinwheel of the slices into a round of this pastry, folding up the edges to create an irresistible pastry packet. For good measure, I dotted the peak-a-boo-ing berries with a bit of butter, brushed the pastry with a beaten egg white and sprinkled the whole thing with raw sugar.
A few ticks in the oven later, I had two oozing rounds—the pastry browned and flaky and the strawberries rendered into a saucy, tart filling. The crimson rivulets that escaped up and over the edge of the pastry screamed warm weather and sultry nights. It had me dreaming of all the variations to this recipe that summer will bring: more berries, stone fruits, tomatoes …
Rustic Strawberry Tart
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces, divided
3 1/2 tablespoons ice water
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoons raw sugar
To prepare crust, lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1 cup flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; cut in 3 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 1/2 tablespoons ice water; stir just until moist. Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface; knead lightly 5 times. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Place each dough portion between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; roll each dough portion, still covered, into an 8-inch circle. Chill 20 to 30 minutes (until the plastic wrap peels easily away from the dough).
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the berries, sugar, lemon juice, corn starch and salt. Stir to combine.
Preheat oven to 350°. Uncover dough; place dough circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange half of the strawberries in a pinwheel pattern in one of the dough circles, starting in the middle and forming concentric circles of strawberries, leaving a 2-inch border. Repeat with the second dough circle and remaining berries.
Fold up the edges of the dough circles over the berries, crimping to seal. Lightly brush the pastry with the beaten egg white. Sprinkle the two rounds with the raw sugar.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Kristin’s Note: I’ve also divided the dough into four rounds, for individual servings. As the recipe is, it makes 2 larger rounds, meant to be split between two people each.