Since strawberry season is coming to an end, I am trying to use them as much as I can while they are still sweet and inexpensive. I realized yesterday that, although I had talked and talked about making one, I still had yet to make a strawberry tart this season. So, after finding that I had a huge container in our fridge filled with very ripe strawberries, I figured that this would be as great a time as any to make one.
I still had half a jar of the berry jam that needed to be used up soon (freezer jam has a shelf-life of about 3-4 weeks), so I chose to go for a jam & strawberry tart that is made with a crust that tastes just like a huge butter cookie (oh buttery sweets, how do I love thee?). The tart is made with fresh, unbaked strawberries, which is just how I like them. This would make an excellent party or potluck dessert, since it's rather large (8 by 14 inches) and quite beautiful.
Sweet Pastry Crust: from Good Housekeeping: Bake It! Cookbook
3/4 cup butter or margarine (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, with a mixer at low speed, beat butter with sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to medium; beat in egg and vanilla until blended. At low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until dough begins to form. With hands, press dough together; shape into a small rectangle.
On large cookie sheet, with floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 14" by 8" rectangle (placing a damn towel under the cookie sheet will help prevent cookie sheet from moving). With fingers, gently crimp edges of rectangle to form a decorative border. With fork, prick crust at 1/2-inch intervals to prevent puffing and shrinking during baking.
Bake until golden, 20 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet on wire rack.
Strawberries and Jam Tart
2/3 cup berry jam of your choice
Sweet Pastry Crust (see above), cooled
About 4 cups of strawberries, each cut lengthwise in half
In a small saucepan, melt jam over medium heat, stirring often. Remove from heat.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of jam mixture; brush remaining mixture over cooled crust. Arrange berries decoratively over jam-glazed crust; drizzle with reserved jam mixture. If not serving right away, refrigerate.