Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of The Desk and The Stove
This homemade strawberry tart is one of my all-time favorite desserts – the fresh strawberries, vanilla pastry cream and lemon crust all work so well together, and, remind me of lazy Sundays spent at Nonna’s house near Rome. Serve this tasty treat with a glass of Prosecco for your summer get-togethers. A word to the wise: try to save a slice – it might just be even more delicious for breakfast!
Pasta Frolla…½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
½ cup plus 1 tbl sugar 1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1 2/3 cup AP flour zest from ½ lemon 3/4 tsp baking powder Pinch of salt
Topping…2-3 cups strawberries, sliced
Lemon zest cut into strips ½ cup sugar ½ cup water
Pastry Cream…2 1/8 cups milk ½ vanilla pod zest from ½ lemon 4 egg yolks
¼ cup, plus 2 tbl sugar
2 tbl AP flour
2 tbl corn starch
1- In a large bowl, mix together the chilled butter into the flour with your hands, working quickly. Add the egg, egg yolk, sugar lemon zest, baking powder and salt and gather together. Quickly knead the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Let chill in the fridge for at least 45 min.
2- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F and begin the pastry cream.
- Pour the milk into a pot and add the vanilla seeds and lemon zest. Bring it to boil; once reached, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 min.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until they become pale yellow (the ribbon stage). Add the flour and cornstarch to the sugar/egg yolk and whisk to combine.
- Add a bit of the milk/vanilla/lemon zest mixture to the eggs/sugar bowl to temper the eggs. Whisk to combine and then add the rest in stages.
- Return the entire mixture to a pot and cook over high heat until the cream begins to thicken. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the cream and refrigerate for at least 30 min.
3- While the pastry cream is chilling, roll out the dough on a floured surface to ½ inch thickness and transfer to a buttered and floured tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim excess dough and prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake blind by covering the tart with a disc of parchment paper and weighing it down with dried beans – this will prevent it from swelling in the oven.
4- Bake for 20-25 min until golden brown. Let chill on a wire rack.
5- Fill the cooled pastry shell with the cream and decorate the top with the sliced strawberries.
6- Make a simple syrup for the topping by dissolving the sugar into the water with the lemon zest over medium heat. Once you have a thick syrup, remove from the heat and remove the lemon zest. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the syrup over the strawberries to create a glossy look. Cover and refrigerate the tart for 30 min- 1 hr before serving.