At this time of the year, in beautiful SoCal, strawberries are fully ripe which mens it’s time for strawberry picking! Our favorite spot near LA for strawberry picking is the Underwood Family Farm, a NO-GMO, sustainable farm located in Moorpark (Ventura County). This time we brought home some pounds of fresh strawberries and my first thought was to make a simple and delicious Italian dessert : Crostata di Fragole (Strawberry Tart). For the shortcrust pastry I used my beloved recipe that yields more than one shortcrust pastry shell, so I usually use half of the dough for making a tart and I freeze the remaining half for another cake or cookies. For the filling I used one of the staple of the Italian Pastry : Crema Pasticcera (Custard Cream), and I made a simple lemon syrup for glossing the fresh strawberries. Enjoy the end of the Spring and the upcoming Summer with a slice of Crostata di Fragole.
Photo by Ale Gambini & Maurizio “OttO” De Togni – BreadLoveAndDreams.com
Servings : 6 to 8
Difficulty : intermediate
Prep Time : 30 min. + 30 min. ( the dough needs to rest in the fridge)
Cook. Time : 30 min.
For the shortcrust pastry
1.1 lb (500 gr) flour type 00
11 oz (300 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
7 oz (200 gr) powdered sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 lemon rind, grated
For the custard cream
3/4 cup (150 gr) granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1.76 oz (50 gr) corn starch
8.5 fl oz (250 ml) whole milk
For the syrup
1.7 fl oz (50 ml) water
1/4 cup (50 gr) granulated sugar
freshly squeezed juice of half lemon
1 pound of fresh strawberries, washed dried and hulled
Prepare the custard cream beating with a whisk egg yolks and sugar until smooth.
Add the sifted corn starch and continue to whisk until incorporated.
Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.
Transfer the mixture into a sauce pan, add the vanilla extract and bring to boil. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat and cook until thickens. Remove promptly form heat, pour the cream into a bowl, cover the surface of the custard cream with cling paper and allow to cool. When cooled move into the fridge.
Grease with butter and flour a 9.5 inch pie dish. Set aside.
Place the flour on a work surface, make a well and add powdered sugar, butter, lemon rind. Work with hands until sandy.
Add the egg yolks and the vanilla extract and work until smooth and not sticky.
Shape the dough into a large ball then wrap it with cling paper.
Let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven at 350F degrees.
Place the dough between to large pieces of parchment paper then, with a rolling pin, roll the dough approximately 1/8-inch thick.
Move the dough into the dish pie, cut the excess of dough, than pinch it with a fork.
Cover bottom and sides with parchment paper than place over dried legumes such as beans or chickpeas so the shortcrust pastry will not rise while baking.
Bake for 15/20 minutes than remove the paper and the dried legumes and continue to bake for another 8 minutes.
Allow to cool completely.
Prepare the syrup placing water and sugar into a small sauce pan.
Heat at low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Bring to boil, than add the lemon juice and cook until thickens.
Move the syrup into a small bowl and allow to cool.
Cut the strawberries in half. Set aside.
Place the custard cream into a sac-à-poche then pipe the cream into the crust with circular motion starting from the center. Spread evenly with a spatula.
Decorate the cake with strawberries as you prefer.
Brush the strawberries with the syrup.
Refrigerate for an hour before serving.