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Unlike a fruit pie that has a top and bottom crust, this Strawberry Tart has only a bottom crust of pastry. It uses a butter pastry which gives it a wonderfully crisp and crumbly texture. I make this tart only when fresh strawberries are at their peak flavor. Because all we add to the strawberries is a sprinkling of sugar and a touch of cornstarch to thicken their juices. Wonderful with scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of softly whipped cream.
This is a free form tart so you don’t need a pie pan, just a baking sheet. The pastry I like to use has a wonderful buttery flavor and crisp and crumbly texture. It is easily made in the food processor although you can make it by hand. Just remember that the butter and the water need to be very cold. Once made, the pastry must be chilled until firm before rolling into a large circle. The tricky part is rolling out the pastry. In order for it to roll out smoothly, without it sticking to the counter or tearing, it has to be at the right temperature. Too cold (it will tear), too warm (it will stick). This “feel” for the dough will come with practice, so don’t get discouraged if you have some trouble at first. If the rolled out pastry tears a little, don’t worry, just patch it back together as best as you can.
Try to make this tart when strawberries are in season. The berries need to be sweetened, so taste your berries, as you may want to adjust the amount of sugar. I also like to add a little cornstarch to thicken the juices. When you place the berries on the pastry, leave a border because the pastry is folded up and over the filling. Make sure that the folds of pastry are sealed so that the pastry does not fall open during baking. The tart is baked in a hot oven until the crust has nicely browned and the fruit’s juices just start to bubble. Let the tart cool for at least an hour before cutting so the juices have time to thicken.
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Article and Demonstration by Stephanie Jaworski
Photo and Videography by Rick Jaworski
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