Glorious spring days, where the grass seems to glow electric green and the daffodils trumpet a louder yellow … just makes you want to kick off your flipflops and get elbow deep in buttery pastry, silky egg cream and vibrantly red strawberries.
Adding smoky green pistachios creates a texture and color contrast that I loved in this traditional strawberry tart recipe. It offers a bit of earthy crunch to the super sweet filling.
The recipe is for smaller tartlets, but I made it in one large tart pan, which turned out fine. Just don’t expect your pieces to come out clean – the pastry cream is all goopy, like a thick pudding. Reading the reviews, the crust does indeed get quite hard to cut through with your fork – which I think is good, because the crust needs to stand up to the soft custard inside.
Recommended for a crowd…
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
- 2 tablespoons cold shortening
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows
- 2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1/3 cup apricot jelly
- 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make pastry cream:
- 5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups scalded milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.
With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.
While the pastry cream chills, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out the dough and fit into your tart pan with removable side. Don’t stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top the pan. Line the tart shell with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Before serving, fill the tart shell with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of the tart. I love the way it looks like a star burst!
Sprinkle with pistachios, if using, and serve.