Every year in my garden I grow strawberries, although I can never seem to gather enough for a delicious strawberry tart, the kind I dream about making each spring.
Maybe that is because I can’t resist the urge when I see a bright red, fat, juicy strawberry peeking out under a leaf to pick it. I swear those strawberries actually call my name. I should just ignore it, BUT I CAN’T!
I immediately hurry over, pick it, run to find the garden hose for a quick rinse and pop it into my mouth before anyone notices. It is sooooo…. good! And I feel so guilty!
That is why last week while running errands I just decided to pull into Gnisner’s Farm and pick my own. I got a cool cardboard box with their name on the outside and I could pick to my hearts desire all the red fat juicy strawberries I wanted. All 3 pounds of them. And finally, I could go home and make my fresh strawberry tart.
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, finely ground
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (spoon flour into dry measure cup and level off)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted, cold, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- One 9.5″ tart/quiche pan with removable bottom
Filling and Topping
- 8 oz. mascarpone
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
- 1/4 cup apple jelly
- 2 pints strawberries (4 cups, rinsed, hulled and thickly sliced)
For the Crust: Combine the almonds and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the flour, lemon peel and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain. Add the yolk and vanilla and pulse again until the dough forms a ball.
Invert the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, shape into a thick disk and wrap. Refrigerate until firm.
Take the crust out of the refrigerator and let is loosen up a bit. Spray the tart pan with cooking spray. Tear a large piece of the dough off and with your fingers push the dough into the sides of the tart pan. Continue tearing off large pieces of the dough and pressing it into the tart pan evenly covering the bottom and sides with the dough. I use a small rolling pin to even it out.
After the crust is prepared, chill for several hours or overnight before baking. When you are ready to bake the tart crust, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350F. Pierce the chilled tart crust all over at 1 inch intervals with a fork. Line the crust, bottom and sides with a 15 inch disk of parchment or wax paper and fill with dried beans or other small weights.
Bake for 15 minutes and take out of the oven and remove the beans and parchment paper. Return to the oven and bake until the crust is brown and dry, 10-15 minutes longer. Take out of the oven and let cool completely.
For the Filling and Topping: Place the cream cheese and mascarpone in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed just until it is smooth.
Arrange the berries over the filling in an attractive pattern. Place the jelly and Grand Marnier in a small saucepan and simmer over low, stirring constantly, heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Use a pastry brush to paint the jelly glaze over the fruit.
Remove the tart from the baking pan and place it on a serving platter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To serve, cut into wedges.
The finished tart is quite the show stopper and tastes even better than it looks. And with the delicious strawberries that I picked from Gnisner’s Farm, I can honestly say, it doesn’t get any fresher than this!
Who knows, maybe one spring I will wait and be able to boast about my own home grown strawberries in my tart. Yeah right! Did I tell you they actually call my name? Enjoy!
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