While local strawberries are still at least a month off, I admit to thoroughly enjoying the juicy red California-grown gems that have been showing up at the green grocer lately. I can’t help myself – this winter felt SO LONG and strawberries are like the breath of fresh air and ray of sunlight that I’m craving right now. And while they might not be local, they are at least in season, and for that I am grateful!
To showcase my gratitude, I made this diminutive tart for Easter dinner dessert for Nate and myself. As it only needed to feed the two of us (with some left over, of course), I made it in a little eight inch tart pan and scaled down a pâté sablée recipe and frangipane recipe to fit its smaller dimensions. With a layer of strawberry jam under the frangipane and little petals of sliced strawberries on top, it boasts lots of strawberry flavour plus the fragrance of almonds and crumbly toastiness of pastry. In short, it was really good, especially when topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt sweetened with honey and vanilla. And while strawberries are the berry of the moment for this tart, I bet it would be equally good with raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or even cherries. Endless possibilities for spring and summer fruit – I can’t wait!
Petite Strawberry Frangipane Tart
Makes one 8″ tart, 4 – 5 servings
Adapted from Chef Simon
On your work surface, mix together:
168 g all purpose flour
Add 84 g cold unsalted butter, cubed to the center of the flour. With your fingers and a dough scraper, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together:
47 g icing sugar
1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white for the frangipane filling)
20 ml cold water
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture.
With your fingers, stir the flour into the egg, working from the center out towards the edge, then use the dough scraper to lift and fold the dough until it just holds together.
Gently press the dough together with your hands, then use the heel of your hand to “frissage” the dough – that is, smear it away from you to create long thin sheets of butter within the dough. Scrape it back up with the dough scraper and repeat 2 or 3 times.
Press the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 30 minutes. While it chills, preheat the oven to 400˚F (375˚F convection).
Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle slightly larger than your 8″ tart pan. Press it the dough into the pan, trim the edges, and prick it all over with a fork.
Line the pastry shell with parchment paper (if you crumple up the paper first, it conforms to the shape of the tart shell more easily) and fill it with beans or pies weights. Bake in the preheated 400˚F (375˚F convection) oven for about 10 minutes, until the sides of the shell are set, then remove the paper and weights and bake another 6 – 10 minutes, until the bottom of the shell is dry and starting to firm up. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375˚F (350˚ convection).
Adapted from nodesserts
In a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, combine:
41 g brown sugar
47 g ground almonds/almond meal
34 g unsalted butter, softened
Cream the above ingredients together until light.
1 egg white (reserved from the pâté sablée)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp all purpose flour
Beat until very light and fluffy.
Spread 2 tbsp strawberry jam over the bottom of the par-baked tart shell and top with the frangipane.
Arrange 200 g sliced strawberries in concentric circles over the top, working from the outside edge in towards the middle.
Bake in the preheated 375˚F (350˚ convection) oven for 25-30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325˚F (300˚F convection) and bake another 15-20 minutes, until the frangipane is set. Let the tart cool on a rack, then remove it from the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve.
I mixed up some Greek yogurt with honey and vanilla bean paste (to taste) to dollop on top of each slice. Whipped cream would be good too.