June is the quintessential time for strawberries here in the Northeast and while it’s probably been about 25 years since I’ve been in the strawberry patch picking them by hand, it doesn’t mean I can’t find some great beautifully fresh strawberries in the grocery store. Too bad they came from California. lol!
Anyway, Kyle and I spent some time with my family this past weekend on good ol’ Long Island (where I grew up and where my family still lives) and I knew I needed to make this tart for them – for no other reason that because I couldn’t bare to make the whole thing for just the two of us. 😉 It was the perfect weekend for a strawberry tart. Hot. Hot. Hot. In the mid-90s which you a.) very rarely experience on the south shore of Long Island and b.) almost never see happen in June – this is the dog-days of August weather!!
I’ll admit that I decided to change things up a bit on this tart. I wasn’t totally thrilled with taking the time to make the tart shell from scratch to only fill it with strawberry jam and strawberries – it seemed like kind of a waste to me. So I took it a step further and make Dorie’s pastry cream that I fell head over heals in love with while making the Brioche Raisin Snails and I filled the tart shell with that then topped it with fresh strawberries. I forgot skipped the jam – I think it would have taken too much away from the freshness of the strawberries.
After I stopped drooling over the pastry cream and having to physically restrain myself from eating it, I got the tart on the table. Well. Let me tell you. I don’t think I’ve gotten so many compliments on a dessert in MONTHS!! (outside of my own giggles during my toffee honey sticky buns a few weeks ago) The tart was just perfect. I felt like after the lemon cream tart, the tart dough needed a little sweetening up so I added an extra 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar – exactly what it needed. The pastry cream was, of course, TO.DIE.FOR. Lick the bowl good. And the strawberries couldn’t have been a better complement to the pastry cream. They were just at the peak of ripeness and didn’t need any sugar to sweeten them up. The whole tart package together was just sweet enough and between 7 people, we just about polished the whole thing off.
This tart gave me the opportunity to improve upon my tart shell-making skills. I had a tough time with the French lemon cream tart. The shell wasn’t sweet enough for me (see above) and was hard as a rock. I decided to roll out the dough this time and did my best not to overwork it. It certainly wasn’t easy transferring the rolled out dough into the tart pan (and then the patching!!) but I think it worked out better than pressing the crumbly dough into the pan, increasing the chances of pressing too hard and ending up with a rock-hard crust (like last time).
Since the group isn’t posting the TWD recipes in our blogs any longer, I’m going to make a few notes about what I changed in the recipes (if anything):
- omitted the strawberry jam
- added Dorie’s pastry cream (see the Brioche Raisin Snail link above for the recipe)
- added the seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (which we brought back from St. Martin while on our cruise this past January!) to the pastry cream and what a difference it made!!!
Last week’s TWD recipe: French Chocolate Brownies
Next week’s TWD recipe: Peppermint Cream Puff Ring as chosen by Caroline of A Consuming Passion