As described in the introduction of this recipe in the cookbook Craft of Baking, “everything about this tart says summer.” I’d have to agree. It’s one of those desserts that only truly works with fresh strawberries—straight from the patch or a farmers’ market stand. I picked up the berries from the farmers’ market on the square on Saturday, and made this tart as part of a dinner Larry and I hosted for a few friends last Sunday. It was the perfect ending to a fabulous dinner on particularly hot summer night. Sweet, refreshing, and oh, so good.
Fresh Strawberry Tart With Lemon Cream (from Craft of Baking; makes one 9 1/2-inch tart)
Unbleached all-purpose flour, for rolling
1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Dough (recipe below)
1 cup heavy cream
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled, large strawberries halved
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into an 11-inch round. Fit the dough into a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Press the dough into the edges of the pan, and use a paring knife to trim the excess dough along the top edge. Prick the bottom all over with a fork, and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the chilled tart shell with a round of parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges of the crust are just beginning to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Return the crust to the oven and continue baking until it is golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack and let the tart shell cool completely.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until it becomes thick enough to hold a peak. Fold about half of it into the lemon curd, and then fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Pour the lightened lemon curd into the tart shell and spread out evenly.
Arrange the strawberries close together in concentric circles over the lemon curd, placing any halved strawberries cut side down. Lightly cover the tart with plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator until cold, about 1 hour, or up to 4 hours. Remove the outer ring of the tart pan before serving.
The tart is best eaten the day it is prepared.
Cream Cheese Dough (makes enough for two 8- to 10-inch single-crust pies or tarts or one double-crust pie)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and there are no visible chunks of butter or cream cheese, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined.
Turn out the dough onto a clean lightly floured work surface. Divide it in half, shape into flattened disks, and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using.)
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