Strawberry Tart is one of my favorite desserts. The simplicity of the shortbread crust combined with the delicious sweetness of vanilla custard and fresh juicy strawberries is the absolute highlight of my summer. European Patisseries are famous for their colorful not to mention mouthwatering displays of fruit tarts. Strawberry, blueberries, raspberries and apple, are among the most common.
By the way, you can try an almond custard also or even a coconut custard for a tropical twist. The origin of fruit tarts go back a long way. Back to the Middle Ages as a matter of fact, where custard was eaten alone or combined with seasonal fruits to make pies or tarts. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and potassium with 8 berries giving the equivalent of 1/2 of a medium orange. Now that’s a lot of vitamin C. Furthermore, they are low in calories: 1 cup of berries is only 50 calories.
The history of strawberries goes back more than 2000 years. Throughout the Middle Ages in Europe they appeared in the gardens of the aristocracy. At this time, strawberries also were used for medicinal purposes. Europeans who came to the New World discovered that the Native Americans were cultivating strawberries. Not surprisingly then, it is not uncommon to find strawberries mentioned in Native American lore.
For my strawberry tart, I like to use a shortbread crust. It is so versatile, not to mention simple to make. For starters you don’t have to roll it out. I kind off hate rolling out pastry dough because it never turns out even!!! Strawberry tart is full of delicious goodness not to mention natural ingredients. Now, it’s not health food, but it is good!! I especially love the contrasts of this dessert. The juicy sweetness of the berries, the creamy softness of the vanilla custard and the crunchiness of the shortbread crust. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is! Take this strawberry tart to your next gathering and you’ll be everyone’s new best friend. Guaranteed!
Here are some tips a tricks that I have found helpful. When I have combined the ingredients for the short crust I drop the shortbread meal right into the 10 inch tart pan and level it out with a chop stick or popsicle stick. This gives me an even layer across the bottom and lets me build up the sides thicker. It reminds me of playing in a sand at the beach or watching workers who are leveling fresh concrete with a long board. Anyhow, I draw the stick across the bottom and deposit the extra meal around the sides. (We all love the thick rippled edge with a nice crunch!) I then take a flat bottomed water glass and gently tamp down the crust to pack it tight and I usually work the edges with my fingers. Best sure to pack it tight so it is not crumbly after baking.
Note: Do not pour syrup over the tart until you are ready to eat it. Better yet, only pour juice on the individual servings. And, by all means, don’t throw away the Strawberry Grand Marnier syrup, pour some on your pancakes or waffles! It is oh so yummy.
Strawberry Tart with a creamy custard is an irresistible combination. The simplicity of the shortbread crust combined with the delicious sweetness of vanilla custard and fresh juicy strawberries is the absolute highlight of my summer. Soaking the berries in a little Grand Marnier and sugar makes a tasty syrup to drizzle on the finished slices. So good!
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 oz butter cold, cut into pieces
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3/4 milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 1 Tbsp flour
Strawberries and syrup
- 16 oz strawberries hulled and halved
- 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Prepare strawberries first so they can adequately marinate. Place berries in a bowl. Sprinkle them with sugar and pour over the Grand Marnier. Toss them around a bit so they are fully coated. Allow them to marinate for about 30-45 minutes. Strain and reserve the juice.
- For the crust place all crust ingredients in a food processor and process until it looks like like cornmeal. Press into a tart pan and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown at 375'F.
- To make the custard place milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the vanilla bean.
- In a bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until combined. Add flour and mix well.
- Slowly whisk in the milk mixture a little at a time.
- Return the mixture to the sauce pan and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat until mixture begins to thicken.
- To assemble the tart evenly spread custard on bottom of crust. Place individual strawberry halves on top of custard. Chill before serving. Serve individual pieces with a drizzle of the reserved syrup.