- Serves 8
What You'll Need
- For the crust:
(75 grams) oat flour
(30 grams) white rice flour or a scant 1/3 cup (30 grams) Thai white rice flour
(50 grams) sugar
(85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
(30 grams) cream cheese, oftened
- For the filling:
butter, very soft, to moisture-proof the crust
1 to 2 cups
Vanilla Rice Flour Pastry Cream (see headnote), depending on how much custard you like
ripe, preferably small or medium, strawberries, rinsed and completely dry, hulled
Sugar, for sprinkling
- Grease a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom lightly but thoroughly with butter or vegetable oil spray.
- To make the crust, put the oat flour, rice flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended. Add the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Use a fork or the back of a large spoon (or your hands) to mash and mix the ingredients together until all are blended into a smooth, soft dough.
- Transfer the dough to the tart pan. The dough may seem much softer than other tart doughs. Use the heel of your hand and then your fingers and/or a small offset spatula to spread the dough all over the bottom of the pan. Press it squarely into the corner with the sides of your index finger to prevent extra thickness at the bottom edge, and press it as evenly as possible up the sides of the pan, squaring off along the top edge. Have patience: There is just enough dough (although you may not think so at first). If there is too much dough in one place (or hiding in the corners of the pan), pinch or scrape it off and move it elsewhere. Spread or smear the dough smooth with the spatula.
- Here’s a final trick for a perfectly even crust: Press a sheet of plastic wrap against the bottom and up the sides of the pan and lay a paper towel on top. Set a straight-sided, flat-bottomed cup on the towel; press and slide the cup all over the bottom and into the corners to smooth and even the surface.
- Remove the paper towel but leave the plastic wrap in place. Refrigerate the pan for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight and up to 3 days.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F. Peel the plastic wrap from the crust. Set the pan on the baking sheet and bake the crust for 35 to 40 minutes, checking after about 15 or 20 minutes. If the crust has puffed up on the bottom, press it back down carefully with the back of a fork. Continue baking until the crust is decidedly golden brown (undercooked crusts are neither crunchy nor flavorful) and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Set the pan on a rack to cool completely before filling.
- To assemble the tart, leave the tart shell in the pan for support. If you will not be serving the tart within a couple of hours, moisture-proof the crust by spreading the bottom with the thinnest possible layer of soft butter; use a flexible plastic spreader or even your fingers to smear the butter over the bottom and sides of the crust. Chill the crust to set the butter before adding the pastry cream. (If you will be serving within 2 hours, skip this moisture-proofing step.)
- Spread the pastry cream evenly in the crust. If the berries are large, cut them in half. Start arranging the strawberries around the edges of the tart and work toward the middle. Arrange whole berries as close together as possible, or arrange halved berries cut side-up and overlapping. Refrigerate unless serving within 2 hours.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).