Summertime means strawberry season, YAY! What better way to celebrate this wonderful berry than by making an elegant fruit tart that marries the classic combination of strawberries and cream. This wonderful dessert is a great way to end a meal and will be a new favorite to add to your recipe repertoire.
Over the long weekend, my husband and I decided to take a small afternoon trip to the Carlsbad Strawberry Company to try our hand at strawberry picking as he hasn’t done this before. Plus it was a nice excuse to get out of the house and into the sun for some fresh air after quarantining all week long at home! The place was really great everyone had their masks on and we all have plenty of room to stay well more than 6 ft apart so this was a relatively safe and fun activity.
When we arrived we were so excited to fill our empty buckets while breathing in the sweet scented air….but after a few minutes scurrying around we soon found out that most of the strawberry patches near the entrance area were picked dry. We were getting hot and sweaty and a little discouraged until we reached a really far field and hit the jackpot! Strawberries galore!!!
After a few minutes into picking we realized the large gems were hidden deep inside the patches, so my husband and I started combing the rows like two laser focused strawberry hunters looking for the big guys and randomly exclaiming to each other how big of a find we got. People must of thought we were a little strange haha! Anyways, they were well worth the find as they large ones are much sweeter and juicer. Soon our buckets were overflowing and I had to resort to using my hat to carry all of them back to the car.
So after coming home, I knew I had to make something delicious to honor the bounty of our harvest! I was inspired by a mixed fruit tart a friend of our brought to our house once for a dinner party and found that the wonderful but light vanilla pastry cream really enhances the freshness of the fruits and the contrast of crusty buttery pastry. This recipe is just that and is so simple to make in an afternoon. What I love is that it’s not too sweet, which is how I usually like my desserts to be.
A few small tips to make it ultra fancy is to glaze the tops of the strawberries with a jam glaze and they’ll look glistening and mouthwatering. Adding lemon zest into the crust and the pastry cream also really brightens the flavors of this dessert so be sure not to skip this step. It’s also important to not over knead the pastry as you want it to retain it’s crusty crumbly texture like a pie, and remember to always use super cold butter. If you don’t have a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour you can use a hand held potato masher or grate frozen butter directly into the flour. This dessert if best eaten fresh but can keep overnight so you can make it the night before. Give this recipe a try and let me know in the comments below!
Strawberry Cream Tart
Prep time: 30 min Cook time: 45 min Total time: 1 h 15 min Servings: 8
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 3 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 lemon zest
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 lemon zest
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 lb fresh strawberries sliced
- 1 tbsp strawberry jam
- 1 tbsp water
- To make the pastry crust, combine flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest into a large bowl. Then cube the cold butter and using a pastry cutter work in the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small crumbs and just starts to combine.
- Using your hands, knead the butter and flour mixture until it holds together as a dough (do not over knead) then cover in saran wrap and place into the fridge to rest for at least 30 min.
- In the meantime, make the pastry cream by combining the sugar, lemon zest, egg yolks, flour, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
- In a small pot, heat the milk until it’s hot and starts to steam. Place 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the bowl with the egg mixture slowly and whisk well. Repeat with another 2 more 1/4 cups of the hot milk and then pour all of the egg mixture into the pot with the hot milk.
- Over medium heat, constantly whisk the egg mixture until it thickens. You can test when it’s ready by dipping in a spoon and then running your finger across the cream. If it stays clean and not drippy then it’s ready. Allow the cream to cool completely to room temperature.
- Remove the pastry crust from the fridge and roll it out to a 1/8 inch thick that’s large enough to cover a 9.5 inch pie dish. Tuck in and pleat the edge all around and poke a few holes on the bottom with a fork.
- Place the pie crust into a 350°F preheated oven and bake for 30 min until golden brown. Once cooked let it cool completely to room temperature.
- Cut the strawberries into thin slices and prepare the fruit glaze by mixing jam and water in a small bowl.
- To assemble the tart, spread the pastry cream into the pie crust and then arrange the sliced strawberries in a circular pattern. Using a pastry brush gently brush the strawberries with the fruit glaze.
- Refrigerate the tart before serving. Enjoy!