May 11, 2009

Rustic Strawberry Tart

Thought for the day:
"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people; promptly announces she never did care for pie-"
- Tenneva Jordan
I hope that each of you reading this blog had a wonderful Mother's Day. After enjoying brunch in the morning, then a barbecue in the afternoon, I came home to bake a pie. Actually, a tart. It was relaxing, therapeutic, and it made everyone happy. I also think it was a nice way to honor both of my pie-loving grandmothers watching from above. My grandmother, "Nonny", did so much for us all growing up (just look at the diapers and baby pants hanging on the clothesline behind us!)

While waiting to be checked out at the grocery store the other day, the June cover of Woman's Day magazine really caught my eye. There is a delicious looking photo of a dessert called a rustic strawberry tart. So, if you saw this as well, do not buy the magazine for this recipe. I am going to show you how it all comes together.

I like this recipe, and will definitely make it again. Just a few things to be forewarned about: it is really juicy, a bit messy to serve, and you definitely need parchment paper. Was it worth the mess? Well, I made the tart last night, and it's gone. I can't wait to make it again, next time using local strawberries which will soon be in season here in Upstate New York. It was an easy dessert to put together, and you don't feel guilty snacking on the fruit while you're prepping. I did alter the ingredients a bit; I used more strawberries than called for, got out my handheld pastry blender instead of a food processor, and baked the tart for a shorter amount of time. So get ready for strawberry season soon, and keep this recipe handy.
Rustic Strawberry Tart
(from Women's Day magazine)
For the crust:

1 stick (1/2 cup) cold, unsalted butter
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4-5 tablespoons ice water

Strawberry Glaze:
2 tablespoons strawberry jelly


2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus 2 tablespoons for the crust)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoons cold, unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten

pastry: In a small bowl, cut up the cold butter into small pieces. Combine flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, mix the cold butter into the flour until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Sprinkle with ice water (1 tablespoon at a time) and mix until dough holds together.

Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit on a cookie sheet. Flour your hands and a rolling pin. Gather the dough up into a ball, and flatten into a disk on a floured counter top. Roll into a 12 inch circle. Transfer the dough onto the parchment lined cookie sheet, place in the fridge while you make the filling.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

filling: Wash and hull the strawberries. Halve 1/2 pound of the berries into a bowl and set aside. Now quarter the remaining berries lengthwise into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and pinch of nutmeg. Cut the cold butter into small pieces right over the berries, then gently toss to coat. Remove the dough from the fridge. Pile berry mixture in an even mound in the center of the dough (leave about 2 inches of dough edge). Gently lift the dough edges up and onto the filling.
Pat the crust gently to firm up around the berries. Brush dough with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake about 35 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool about 15 minutes. When the pie is cooled, microwave the 2 tablespoons of jelly until bubbling and watery. Whisk until smooth.

Arrange remaining halved strawberries cut side down on top of the cooked filling. Lightly brush berries with the warm jelly. Cool completely (room temperature).

Serve with ice cream, cool whip or whipped cream.

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