In the spring and summer, when your farmers market is brimming with baskets of berries, make this strawberry tart recipe. It's at once light and rich, with a gorgeous, tender crust and a creamy filling that's infused with notes of honey and almond.
What is it?
A tart is a pastry made with a tender, shallow crust. For this tart, you'll bake the crust first, and then fill it with an almond-scented cream topped with fresh strawberries and sliced almonds.
What's in it?
The highlight of this tart is, of course, fresh strawberries which are coated in a glossy glaze made from red currant jelly and almond extract. The filling is a cinch to make, and all you need to do is whip mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and honey together - it has a richness and delicate tartness that provides balance for fresh, vibrant berries.
Lastly, the crust is made with butter and three types of flour, which gives the tart shell a delicate, tender texture and loads of flavor. It's this blend of all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, and superfine almond flours that complement the fresh flavor of the berries and the almond extract that infuses the tart's filling.
Tips for making fruit tarts
Putting together the crust is the most complicated part of making a strawberry tart. A food processor helps the tart shell come together, and you'll need to pay attention to temperature (cold is better), but once you have the tart shell finished assembling the tart is a breeze.
- Grind the sugar until it's superfine. This tart recipe only calls for two tablespoons of sugar, so it may seem like it's easy to skip this step - but grinding the minimally processed sugar to a fine powder means it infuses the crust more efficiently. That translates to smoother flavor and better texture.
- Work with cold butter. Cold butter means that your crust will come out crisp, buttery, and tender. Warm butter, by contrast, can make it tough and cracker-like.
- Use a variety of flours. This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, which keeps the crust tender, while almond flour and whole wheat pastry flour give the crust flavor. Bread flour and other high-protein flours will make for tough, rather than tender, pastry.
- Use a food processor. While you can make a tart dough by hand, a food processor makes the job easier (and quicker).
- Chill the dough before you roll it. Tossing the dough in the fridge before you roll it out so that it keeps its tender, flaky texture.
- Preheat the oven while your tart dough chills to save time.
- Blind bake the crust and use pastry weights. Blind baking means that you bake the tart crust without a filling, and then fill it later. Because the tart shell will puff as it bakes, you'll need to weigh it down first. Line the unbaked tart dough with parchment paper and fill it with pastry weights (or beans). The weight of the beans will keep the tart crust from puffing - which means more filling.
- Make the filling and strawberry topping while the tart shells cool to save time.
Strawberry Tart Recipe
For the tart crust
For the tart filling
For the strawberry topping
- ¼ cup red currant jelly
- 1 pound strawberries (hulled and quartered)
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Rolling Pin
- 1 (10-inch) tart pan or 4 (4-inch) tart pans
- baking weights
Make the crust.
- In a spice grinder or by hand, grind the sugar to form a fine powder, and then spoon it into your food processor. Add the flours, salt, cold butter, and egg yolk. Pulse until the mixture resembled corn meal, and then slowly pour in the cold water, processing until the dough begins to clump together.
- Turn the tart dough out onto a floured surface, and then form it into a disk about 6-inches in diameter. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate it at least 30 minutes.
Blind bake the crust.
- Heat the oven to 375 F.
- Turn the chilled dough out onto a floured surface, and roll it into a disk about 11-inches or into 4 small circles of about 5 inches. Gently lay the rolled dough into your tart pan, pressing the dough into the sides of the pan and trimming the excess.
- Line the tart dough with parchment paper, and fill them with pie weights. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown at the edges.
- Remove the tart shells from the oven, and then remove the parchment paper and baking weights. Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil, and then prick the bottoms of the crust with the tines of a fork. Return the tart shells to the oven, and let them continue baking a further 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and allow them to cool to room temperature. Then gently remove the tart shells from the tins.
Make the filling.
- Beat the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream together with almond extract, vanilla, and honey until smooth and uniformly combined. Set aside.
Make the strawberry topping.
- Melt the red currant jelly in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, and then pour it over the strawberries. Stir in the almond extract.
Assembling the tart.
- Spoon the mascarpone filling into the tart shells, and then top with strawberries. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and serve within 4 hours.
Don't have red currant jelly? Substitute 3 tablespoons honey and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
Swap strawberries for other fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, red currants, cherries, peaches, apricots, or plums.
Swap almond-scented pastry cream for the mascarpone and cream cheese filling.
You can substitute homemade noyaux for almond extract, but you can also use other liqueurs, too, including cointreau or framboise.
You glaze classic fruit tarts with red currant jelly which lends both flavor and helps to give the fruit a sheen. You can find red currant jelly online as well as in specialty shops, and you melt it over medium-low heat and then brush or pour it over the assembled tart.
You can make a gluten-free tart shell by substituting all-purpose gluten-free flour for both the all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour. You may need to adjust liquid ingredients, such as water, in order to achieve the right consistency.
You can try swapping the mascarpone, cream cheese, and heavy cream for dairy-free mascarpone alternatives made with cashews and coconut.
Once assembled, you should eat the tart within about 4 hours or the berries may begin to wilt.
Yes, you can make the tart shells up to 2 days in advance (stored at room temperature), and you can make the filling up to 5 days in advance (stored in the fridge). Make the berry topping the day you plan to serve it, and assemble everything within about 4 hours of serving.