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Strawberry Cream Tarts(Makes six 4-inch tarts)
Strawberry Cream Tarts combine pasta frolla with almonds for a sweet, shortbread crust and a rich Amaretto-flavored pastry cream topped with slices of fresh strawberries. You can easily substitute raspberries, blueberries or other fruit for the strawberries. The filled tarts can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days before they begin to get a little soggy.
Pasta frolla is a sweet, shortcrust pastry that is often used as a base for pies and tarts. It does not puff up much during baking because it usually contains no leavening agent. The addition of ground almonds in this recipe gives the crust an almost cookie-like texture. Don't overwork the dough and don't add extra flour when rolling out the dough to avoid a tough crust.
Tart Crust (Pasta Frolla)
This dough can be made by hand or with a food processor.
1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon almond extract
Combine the flour, almonds, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter; pulse until the mixture begins to look like cornmeal. Add the egg and extract. Pulse just until the mixture begins to come together. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease six 4 to 5-inch tart pans with removable bottoms. Divide the dough into 6 equal size pieces. Roll each piece into a circle about 5 inches in diameter. Don't be concerned if the dough rips or cracks, it repairs very easily. Place the dough in a tart pan; gently press to cover the bottom and sides. Use your thumb to remove excess dough around the edge of the tart pans. With a fork, prick the bottom of each crust. Place the tart pans on a baking sheet. Bake the crusts for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer the tart pans to a wire rack to cool completely before filling. Remove the cooled crusts from the pans before filling.
Pastry Cream Filling
This recipe will make a little more cream than you will need for six 4-inch tarts.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur or 1 teaspoon almond extract
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. In a bowl, whisk together the half-and-half and egg yolks. Whisk the egg mixture into the sugar mixture. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute; remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and Amaretto. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream. Let the mixture cool for about 30 minutes. Spoon the pastry cream evenly into the baked tart crusts. Cover and chill for about 30 minutes before adding the fruit topping.
Small or medium strawberries look nicer and are easier to arrange on the tarts.
15-18 strawberries, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup red jelly (strawberry, raspberry, currant, etc)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Arrange the strawberry slices on top of each tart. In a small saucepan, melt the jelly to make it easier to spread. Use a pastry brush to brush the jelly over all the surfaces of the strawberries. Scatter a few almond slices over the top.
Refrigerate until serving.
Strawberry Cream Tarts
DESSERTS > PIES AND TARTS > STRAWBERRY CREAM TARTS
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