When I saw this NYT recipe for a strawberry tart, the photograph of the tart was so colorful, that I could not resist making the recipe. After all, we are getting to the heart of strawberry season. Just this past Saturday, I came home from the farmers' market with two pints of summer strawberries in a bag.
Normally it is best to eat such strawberries close to the time you get them home from the market. Do not refrigerate them. Leave them in a bowl on the counter. Their fragrance will beckon you to eat a few throughout the day and evening. But sometime, you may want to use your berries by making something a bit more elaborate, but not too much trouble, such as this strawberry tart.
Emily Weinstein presents this strawberry tart recipe in the NYT, giving us the story of its origination. Weinstein adapted her recipe from "Sweeter Off the Vine," by Yossy Arefi, a cookbook of fruit desserts for every season...organized by season and ingredient."
I did my own freestyle version of Weinstein's recipe by using a mix of flours that I had on hand in my refrigerator. Per letters to the NYT column, as long as your flour measured 170 grams, it was cool to mix your own batch. Many readers advocated for adding some almond flour in the mix, and completely leaving out the rye flour. Mine was a mix of all-purpose, almond, rice, and whole wheat flours. I also left out the strawberry jam, and substituted Siggi's non-fat vanilla yogurt for the mascarpone. I was aiming for a healthier version of this strawberry tart.
In memory of Daniel I. Cohen...
When I started this food blog, cooking the kitchen, my husband was newly diagnosed with Stage IV bladder cancer. I retired from my job, became a full time care taker, and sought a "corner of the sky" by starting this blog. It gave me some respite from the terrible toll the disease took, and served as an outlet for my creativity. It also allowed Dan to share in my endeavors, as my editor, a job he thoroughly enjoyed.
Today is the anniversary of my husband, Dan's passing on June 25th, 2016. I would like to dedicate this strawberry tart which I made today, to Dan. He is, and will always be, forever in my thoughts and heart.
Time for making this strawberry tart is 1 hour, plus 2 hours' chilling. Per Emily Weinstein, the recipe's author, this is a "dessert that makes more of a splash than just serving berries and cream but still has that simple charm. The only trick part is the crust, which could crack as you transfer it to a serving board. But if that happens, don't despair. It's meant to be effortlessly loose and casual, and you can covr the damage with swirls of mascarpone and a blanket of berries.
For the Rye Crust:
- ⅔ cup (85 grams) all purpose flour
- ⅔ cup (85 grams) rye flour (I used a mix of almond, rice, all-purpose, and whole wheat flours, as did not have rye in the fridge)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1-½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- 9 tbsp (127 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes (I like to grate the butter using the largest holes of a box grater)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash (forgot this step, but was not missed)
For the Tart:
- 1 cup (225 grams) mascarpone, at room temperature (I used Siggi's non-fat vanilla yogurt)
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar (I used about 1-½ tbsp)
- 1 pound (450 grams) small, sweet strawberries
- 3 tbsp high-quality strawberry jam (optional - I did not use this)
Prepare the crust: Whisk the flours and salt together in a large bowl. Combine apple cider vinegar with 5 tablespoons ice water.
Working quickly, add butter to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Use your fingers or the palms of your hands to press each cube of butter into the flour, ensuring that each butter piece gets coated, until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size lumps. If at any time the butter seems warm or soft, briefly refrigerate the bowl. Alternatively, you can pulse the butter and flour together in a food processor. (I did everything by hand)
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the cold vinegar-water mixture over the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to stir the water into the flour until just combined. If using a food processor, pulse a few more times, or until the dough begins to come together. If the dough seems dry, add more of the cold vinegar-water mixture, a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and easily squeeze it together without it falling apart.
Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. (Dough keeps for up to 3 months in the freezer wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil. Thaw in refrigerator before using.)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 degrees.
On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out the pie crust into an oval about 15 x 6 inches and just under ¼-inch thick. Use a paring knife or pastry cutter to trim any rough edges and move the parchment paper and crust to a baking sheet, preferably rimless. Dock the crust with a fork to prevent it from puffing up too much in the oven. Brush the surface of the crust from edge to edge with the egg wash.
Bake until crust is deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Check on the crust halfway through baking; if any bubbles have appeared, use a spatula to press them flat. Cool the crust completely on the pan
Prepare the tart: While the crust is cooling, combine mascarpone and 2 tablespoons sugar. Hull the strawberries and cut them into ¼-inch slices.
Carefully slide the cooled crust off the baking sheet onto a serving platter or board. Spread mascarpone over the top in an even layer, dot with jam, then arrange sliced strawberries in a single, slightly overlapping layer in a decorative pattern. Sprinkle the tart with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. (Omit this final sprinkling if your strawberries are particularly sweet.) Slice and serve immediately.