Strawberry Tart

This is a nice light dessert, fancy way to show off strawberries! Oregon's Hood Strawberries are in season (not for long though!) and they are soooo delicious! The pastry cream is quite good, you could even use it for a raspberry fool or pudding. I took base recipe from Cooks Illustrated, which has always had good dessert recipes.

This recipe uses a lot of egg yolks, so perfect to do when you want to make meringue, angel's food cake or flourless chocolate cookies which require the whites.

Make the pastry cream first, as it will take time to cool. Then you can make the tart dough, chill it, press into pans, chill again, and then blind bake. After all this, you combine with the fruit/strawberries-- the recipe takes a whole afternoon!

Pastry Cream
This goes fast, so be prepared to watch and stir this from start to end, no checking email while this is on the stove!

Warm over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally:
2 C half & half
6 TB sugar
pinch of salt

While that is warming, whisk 5 egg yolks in medium bowl until combined. Add 2TB sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolving, mixture will be creamy. Now whisk in 3 TB cornstarch, whisk until combined and thick.

When half and half is simmering, gradually whisk some half and half into the egg bowl and stir to temper the eggs (brings the temp of eggs up slowly, instead of cooking the eggs). Then pour from the egg bowl back into the cream pan on the stove. Return to a simmer over medium heat, whisk constantly for about 30 seconds. When the cream is glossy and thickened, remove from heat.

Whisk in:
4 TB cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1.5 tea vanilla

Strain the pastry cream. Cover with plastic wrap and either refrigerate until cold or stick in the freezer to speed up the process- just don't let it freeze.

Tart Dough
Whisk together in small bowl:
1 egg yolk
1 TB cream or rice milk
1/2 tea vanilla

In food processor, combine:
1.25 C all purpose flour
2/3 C powdered sugar
1/4 tea salt

Add to food processor, and process until the butter is disseminated throughout, looks like "coarse meal":
8 TB cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

Now pour in the egg mixture while food processor is running, just to combine.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap, put in fridge for 1 hour, or freeze for 30 minutes.

Either roll out dough or press into tart pan. Then freeze for 30 minutes. Don't skip this step- there is so much butter in the dough that it will slide down the edges of the pan if it is room temp when it goes in the oven.

Fill the tart pan with aluminum foil and beans or pie weights, and bake at 375 F for 30 minutes. Check during the baking to make sure the crust isn't getting too brown.

Once finished baking, remove foil and weights, if you used beans, save them for the next pie/tart (you can't eat them now after being in the oven). Let tart shell cool.

Spoon pastry cream into baked tart shell.
Hull and slice strawberries, arrange on pastry cream.

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