This seemed like a perfect 4th of July treat. My friend Michael turned me onto the original recipe for this “icebox strawberry pie” it’s based on a classic recipe that was probably published in a Kraft foods cookbook originally featuring as many Kraft products as they could cram in. Not surprisingly I rethought the recipe so that if focused on ingredients not products.
My strawberry strawberry tart is a seasonal dessert that highlights the juicy sweetness and intense flavor of local strawberries with the added bonus of being made with Agar Agar so it is vegetarian (unlike Gelatin).
To the topping I’ve added fresh local goat cheese which adds a wonderful zest without any of the additives and thickeners you’d get with commercial cream cheese that the original recipe calls for.
If you really want to make this 4th of July festive you can sprinkle local blueberries over the tart just before serving.
Both the strawberries and the tart dough benefit from sitting over night in the fridge, but if time is tight not to worry an hour will suffice.
For the pâte sucrée:
Place 8 T room temperature butter in a mixing bowl (I use my standing mixer, you can do this by hand or use a hand held mixer, your choice) and 1/3 cup of organic cane sugar, beat until fluffy. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg yolk beat until well incorporated, then add 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour, mix until the dough comes together, adding ice cold water if the dough is dry.
Place the dough ball in a plastic bag and flatten into a disk and refrigerate. Much is made about how cold the dough is when you roll it out, I find after an hour it’s fine. In a pinch I will put it in the freezer for twenty minutes, it’s best chilled over night. I rarely plan that far in advance.
If you have the time the night before after you have made your dough, stem and slice in half (or more for the bigger berries) 2 quarts of local strawberries.
My 2 quarts after trimming came to about 2 1/2 pounds, I put 2 pounds of the prepped berries in a bowl and tossed them with 1 cup of sugar, covered them and let them sit over night. The other 8 ounces of strawberries I placed in a container with a lid and also put them in the fridge.
The next day (or an hour later):
Preheat the oven to 350 F
Roll out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment and fit into a 10″ tart pan with a removable bottom.
using a fork poke holes all over the rolled out dough. This is called docking.
Place the dough in the oven and cook until golden. Check in every so often and if the dough has puffed up just gentle pat it down with your oven mitt gloved hand. When nicely browned (about 20 minutes) remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Place the macerated strawberries and sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add 2 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 15 minutes then add 4 Tablespoons of Agar Agar flakes (be sure it’s flakes not powder), stirring frequently simmer for another 5 minutes until the agar agar has all dissolved.
Add the remaining 8 ounces of prepared strawberries and stir. Let cool for about 5 minutes. The mixture will gel as it cools so don’t let it cool too much (or if you do you can simply reheat it to melt it again).
To make the topping:
In bowl of a standing mixer add 4 ounces of fresh room temperature Goat Cheese, 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract and 3 Tablespoons of Sugar
Beat with the whisk attachment until there creamy, about a minute, then add 1 cup heavy cream
beating until thick.
I got fancy and pipped the topping onto the tart using swirls and rosettes, if I had just used rosettes it would have covered the entire tart, as you can see below this version didn’t quite make it. I like that you can see a rim of strawberry. Your choice it would be just as nice with the topping spread on with a spatula. If you wanted to be very festive serve this with a few local blueberries to get the full 4th of July effect or is your are celebrating Canada Day you could just add a few whole strawberries as garnish.