Friday, May 20, 2011

Strawberry and Pastry Cream Tart

Last week we had a get together with some of our friends that like to cook where we each brought some of our "specialties" and spent an evening together with some pretty amazing food. Kids were involved too so we tried to get them fed and then banished to destroy the basement play room before we sat down and enjoyed some amazing appetizers and grilled meats. There was enough food for at least twice as many people so there was no excuse for anyone to go hungry. I was assigned the dessert but honestly I'm getting a little desserted out. I'm sure that's a real word right? And as soon as I wrote that, I almost deleted it. It's not that I don't want to eat dessert, just not make it again for awhile. At least for a day or two.

I thought this tart was a pretty decent finish for the evening. I loved the whole strawberries placed on top of the pastry cream instead of slicing them up. It made for a nice presentation and a whole strawberry holds up much better and longer than when sliced. The cream filling actually stayed pretty thin, which is not what you'd be expecting in a normal pie or tart where you'd have a thick set filling, but I actually kind of liked that way. The crust was like a tender buttery sugar cookie (although a little over browned because I forgot to turn down the temperature halfway through).

Strawberry and Pastry Cream Tart
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking

Pastry Dough:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut up into pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Pastry Cream:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup pastry cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pastry Dough:
In a large mixer bowl, combine flour, powdered sugar and salt. Mix on low speed until blended. Add the butter pieces and then continue on low speed just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of large peas. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks, then stir in the cream. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg mixture and mix until the dough is evenly moist and comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into a six inch disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate 45 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the chilled pastry dough and line a 9 inch pie or tart pan. Line the dough with tinfoil and fill the foil with pie weights, beans or ice. Bake the crust for 15 minutes and then remove the tinfoil and weights. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer. Cool completely. 

Pastry Cream:
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk and the vanilla bean pod and scrapings until small bubbles appear along the edges. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the bean pod. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. Slowly whisk in the hot milk until blended. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking whisking for 1 minute more. Pour through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the butter until melted and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

In a large bowl, combine the pastry cream, cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Using a stand mixer with the whip attachment, beat on medium speed until firm peaks form, about 2-4 minutes. Spread the filling evenly in the cooled crust. 

Carefully arrange hulled strawberries, pointed ends up, on top of the cream filling. Cover and refrigerate until cold for up to 1 day. 


  1. yummy, now you will make me go to the stores to buy fresh strawberries!

  2. Hey Matt, it was great to meet you last night!

    I love these kind of desserts...fruits in a dessert especially! The tart looks beautiful!

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