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Fresh Strawberry Tart

Fresh Strawberry Tart

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 to 8 Tbs. ice water

For the lemon curd:

  • Grated zest and juice of 4 large lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup red currant jelly
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. kirsch or water
  • 3 cups strawberries, stems removed

Directions:

To make the pastry, in a bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat the egg with the vanilla and 2 Tbs. of the ice water. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the egg and about 2 more Tbs. ice water. Mix lightly with the flour, adding more ice water as needed until the mixture holds together. Pat into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the lemon curd: In a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over high heat, combine the lemon zest and juice, sugar and butter. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat together the eggs and salt until fluffy. Slowly beat in the hot lemon mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until cool.

On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a round about 13 inches in diameter. Transfer to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, trim the edges to make them flush with the pan rim, and prick the bottom in several places with a fork. Press a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side down, onto the crust and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Bake the foil-lined pastry shell for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until lightly browned, about 6 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the jelly with the kirsch. Remove the sides from the tart pan, then slide the pastry shell off the base onto a serving plate. Spoon about 2 cups of the lemon curd into the shell (reserve any remaining curd for another use). Arrange the strawberries on top, stem end down. Brush the strawberries with the melted jelly. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes, before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Brunch Entertaining, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1999).