Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Strawberry Tarts

It's Friday -- which means that it's Foodie Friday -- so please join Michael at Designs by Gollum to see all the tempting taste treats in store for you -- on this Foodie Friday!

In strawberry season, strawberry desserts abound! From old fashioned strawberry shortcake, to strawberry cakes, to strawberry pie, to pavlovas topped with strawberries, to these . . .

strawberry tarts

They're easy to do but are long on presentation.
Often, when we have company, I like to do individual desserts. There's something more classic, I feel, about a whole little dessert, than a piece of a big dessert. These tarts filled that bill.

And, you can also make them in miniature size --
Which are perfect for an elegant afternoon tea.

Actually, you can use other berries, in season, but they are a perfect dessert -- or tea treat -- during strawberry time.

The recipe is another from the Barefoot Contessa and it's a classic -- Pastry Cream fills the tart shell and the fresh fruit goes on top. All is brushed with melted apricot jam so that they glisten!

Strawberry Tarts
(From Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa)

1 1/4 cups flour
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. kosher salt
6 T. cold unsalted butter, diced
2 T. cold shortening
1/4 c. ice water
2 cups Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup apricot jelly

Combine the flour, sugar and salt. Put in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Roll out the dough and fit into 4 (4 1/2 inch) tart pans with removable sides. Don't stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 T. of water and brush the top of the tarts.

Pastry Cream:

5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. scalded milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. Cognac
1 T. butter
1 T. heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium high speed for 4 minutes or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.


D.B. said...

I just bought a gross of strawberries today at Costco. We are having an unofficial Derby Party (family and next door neighbor) with my bbq ribs, salad, baked beans, corn pudding, blueberry cobbler and Strawberries and cream. I'm sure Pavlovas are out of my league and/or time frame no matter what you and Ina say. However, they DO look delicious!

Allie and Pattie said...

Martha, I just finished glazing a tray full of strawberry tarts for dessert as we're having some unexpected dinner guests. (They'll be served alongside the Panna Cottas I had planned) We were fortunate enough to be given some lovely fresh wild strawberries and, like you, I love serving individual desserts. I absolutely ADORE that china
xoxo Pattie

The Charm of Home said...

Those look fantastic! I love they way tarts are so pretty and just for one! Lovely.

Marigene said...

Those little tarts look delicious...doesn't matter how theyare fixed, I love strawberries!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Martha, The strawberries are extra good this year, and your beautiful tarts are just the thing to really show them off.

I don't have a recipe for a good pastry cream so I am so glad you posted this winner of a dessert.

YOur presentation is so lovely. I think individual servings makes people feel like you made something just for them.

I'm sure I'll be making this. It is bookmarked!

BumbleVee said...

oooooh the recipe.... thanks so much.... yum

Paula@SweetPea said...

I am craving fresh strawberries after reading this post. Thanks for visiting me the other day. Enjoy the weekend.

Deana Sidney said...

I must say the mini tarts won my heart.. they are the sweetest things and look spectacular on your many leveled tray... reminds me of those fancy pastry shops in Europe!

From the Kitchen said...

Ah, thanks for reminding that it is spring with your delicious and lovely post today. I'm being a very optimistic gardener this year. I purchased a few strawberry plants to grow in a pot. There are already blossoms so I have great hope.


Tracy F. said...

I'm going to our new farmer's market tomorrow, and I'll be sure to buy some fresh strawberries. I love how you've arranged them on your tiered server.

Cathy said...

These tarts are my family's favorite strawberry dessert. Our local berries are just a few weeks away. Your presentation is beautiful, Martha.

Pondside said...

Mmmmmm - delicious! My only change to that recipe has been to switch Grand Marnier for the cognac.

Southerncook said...

Martha, Those Strawberry Tarts look DIVINE!!!! I wanted to leap into the computer screen. Another great recipe you have shared.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a beautiful way to use fresh strawberries! I'm saving this recipe too - how pretty they are.

I wanted to let you know also that your link on Foodie Friday isn't working properly.


Mary Bergfeld said...

Your tarts are breaking my heart and testing my diet resolve. They are stunning! Have a great day, Martha. Blessings...Mary

Bernideen said...

I love this post! I struggled with which category to put you in when I redid the links on my blog. I have always loved your blog! I moved you up to the tea category and I hope that is OK!

Roz Cawley said...

Oh, those strawberry tarts are just mouthwatering! I must try making some very soon :-)
(Thanks for looking in at the Cottage again, by the way! x)

benchwarmer said...

look absolutely mouth is watering for the taste of strawberries!