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Author Notes: This tart requires separate steps for each component before you put it all together, but it is so worth it. The beauty is that you can make the crust and filling in advance. You can even let this tart sit overnight in the refrigerator because the chocolate coating between the crust and pastry cream prevents it from getting soggy. If you want do some work ahead of time, I suggest making and assembling the crust and cream, then wrapping the nearly-assembled tart it in plastic so a skin doesn't form on the pastry cream. Add the berries right before, or even up to an hour or two, before you serve the tart (adapted from David Lebovitz). —Samantha Ardry
Makes 1-10" tart
For the pastry crust
- 6 ounces unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/3 cups all purpose or pastry flour, sifted
- 6 ounces white, dark or milk chocolate
- Place a 10" tart pan with a removable bottom onto a parchment lined sheet tray and set aside.
- Add the cubed butter, oil, water, sugar and salt to a small saucepan and heat it on a burner over medium high heat until the butter melts and becomes a bit bubbly.
- Off the heat, dump all of the flour into the butter mixture and stir until it forms a ball of dough that pulls away from the sides of the pan. Dump the dough into the tart pan and let it cool slightly. Press the dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides with lightly floured hands. Chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the freezer.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Remove the tart shell from the freezer, prick all over with a fork to prevent the dough from puffing up too much in the oven. Place the tart on the center rack and bake it for about 30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown all over. Cool the crust completely before moving on.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or carefully in a microwave. Pour it into the cooled tart shell and spread it evenly over the base of the tart with an offset spatula. Let the chocolate cool and harden before adding the pastry cream filling.
For the pastry cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons corn, potato or tapioca starch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups cream, half and half or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 quart strawberries, washed + hulled
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, starch and salt. Whisk to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs well and then whisk in the cream or milk. Slowly pour it into the saucepan, whisking all the while to prevent lumps.
- Heat the mixture over medium high heat and whisk constantly. Scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan and continue to whisk steadily as the mixture heats and then thickens after about 10 minutes. The pastry cream is cooked when it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and a line drawn through it with your finger holds it shape.
- Off the heat, stir in the butter and vanilla. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl if you think there are any lumps, then place some plastic on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Cool completely in the refrigerator.
- To assemble the tart, carefully remove the tart shell from the pan and place it on a plate or tray. Pour the chilled pastry cream into the tart and spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Arrange the strawberries on the pastry cream and dust with powdered sugar if desired.