Monday, February 11, 2008

Fabulous French Strawberry Tart

Serves 8-10

Pate Sable
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon cold water

Pastry Cream
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Additional butter

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled

2-3 ounces currant jelly

Toasted sliced almonds for garnish

Powdered sugar

For Pate Sable:
Preheat oven to350*F. Line 10-inch quiche pan with circle of parchment paper; set aside

Combine flour, sugar and butter in processor and mix until consistency of coarse meal. Combine yolk and water in small bowl. With machine running add yolk mixture through feed tube and mix until dough begins to form ball.

Roll dough between sheets of waxed paper into 10-inch circle. Remove top paper and invert pastry into quche pan; peel off remaining paper. Prick pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake until
cookieis well browned, 15-20 minutes, watching carefully after 15 minutes as it will darken quickly. Cool completely.

For pastry cream:
Bring milk to boil in heavy 1 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, combine yolks and sugar in small bowl ad whisk to blend. Add flour and beat just until completely mixed. When milk is boiling, gradually stir about 1/3 into yolk mixture and blend completely. Pour back into saucepan and, whisking contstantly, bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and whisk until mixture is thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and blend in 2 Tablespoons butter with vanilla, stirring until butter melts. Pour into bowl and spread light film of butter completely over top or set plastic wrap directly on surface (this prevents skin from forming). Refrigerate until chilled and firm.

To assemble:
Up to 6 hours before serving, set cookie on serving plate. Using brush, spread 1/4 cup butter liberally over top (yo may not need entire amount, but be sure to get butter in all fork holes to keep crust flaky).

Stir pastry cream with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until spreadable; do not use whisk or electric mixer or cream will be thin and runny. Using brush, spread cream 1/8 inch thick over entire cookie. Place strawberries stem end down in concentric ircles to cover top.

Press jelly through strainer into small saucepan to break up any lumps. Bring to boil over medium heat. Immediately rush over strawberries and outer edge of crust to glaze completely.

Place almonds over outer row of berries. Set 7-inch circle of waxed paper over center of tart and liberally sprinkle almonds with powdered sugar. Carefully remove paper and discard. Refrigerate tart until ready to serve.

Tart is very delicate. Be careful when moving it or cookie base might break.

I learned how to make this without a food processor, so don't be afraid to make it with just spoons or mixer. And it sounds more complicated than it really is. This is my most favorite strawberry dessert.

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