Blooming French Strawberry Tart

Category Tarts
This beautiful French tart resembles a flower with strawberry slices as bright red petals. This is the perfect final touch after a special dinner. Great for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day or as a birthday cake alternative.
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Many of my family members live in France. One thing I look forward to having every time I visit is the classic French fruit tart. It's got a delicate crust topped with a custardy pastry cream (crème pâtissière), with fruit arranged beautifully on top to resemble a blooming flower. I finally learned how to make it myself so I don't have to long for it between visits. It's worth the effort, and I hope you give it a try!

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 oz cold butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 18 oz fresh strawberries

Steps:

  1. Whisk together 2 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
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  3. Chop the cold butter into little cubes and add to flour mixture.
  4. Use two forks to crumble into the texture of coarse cornmeal. You can also pulse it a food processor.
  5. Add 1/3 cup sugar and egg. Bring the dough together into a ball. Don't overwork it.
  6. Flatten the dough a bit, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
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  8. While the dough is in the fridge, work on the pastry cream. In a bowl, whisk together 2 egg yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1 tsp.lemon zest.
  9. Add 1/2 cup flour and a couple Tbsp. of the milk, beat until combined.
  10. Place the rest of the milk and other tsp. of lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat until the milk comes to a simmer.
  11. While whisking, pour the milk into the egg flour mixture.
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  13. Return entire mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens like pudding. Remove from heat to cool. Press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled.
  14. To finish the tart crust, preheat oven to 350 F. Remove dough from fridge and press into the bottom of your tart pan, getting up the sides.
  15. Use a fork to prick holes into the bottom crust, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden.
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  17. Transfer to a rack to cool before filling.
  18. Hull the strawberries and slice them about 1/4 inch thick. Leave one strawberry whole.
  19. Remove the pastry cream from the fridge, whisk until smooth, then spread onto the crust. Place strawberries around the tart, starting from the outside and working your way in, overlapping them.
  20. When you make it all the way in, pop the whole strawberry in the center. What a beautiful bloom!
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*I used a 10 inch tart pan for this recipe.

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