When Summer sent me the link to this recipe, I couldn't resist getting my hands all over it. She's the resident baker here at Bread & Honey, and not just because she owns a sweet Kitchenaid mixer. She lives and breathes baking, and for me it's more of a cute hobby. On the other hand, she often gets so excited about creating and eating whatever sweet confection she's prepared, some of the details can be lost to in the rush to deliciousness. I am the fussy one, constantly fiddling with this or that edge, styling the food for each shot, etc. It worked out perfectly- Summer tossed together a beautiful dough and filling, and I carefully decorated the cover. Of course, it didn't stay perfect for long, the egg wash settled into the delicate marks I'd made in the dough, and the sticky strawberry filling bubbled out through the holes and stained the crust. So, it just goes to show that being fussy doesn't always count for much.
This recipe comes directly from Martha Stewart's website, and Summer tells me that this dough is the go-to dough for any tart or crusty, flaky pastry.
(Makes one 9-inch tart; serves 8 to 10)
For the crust ("Pate Brisee")
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/4 sticks (18 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, add water until dough just holds together. Divide dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).
For the filling:
8 cups strawberries (about 3 pounds), hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
1. Combine strawberries and sugar, and let stand 1 hour. Drain, discarding liquid. Add cornstarch to berries, and stir.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half the dough into an 11-inch square. Fit into a 9-inch square fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing dough gently into sides. Prick bottom with a fork. Spread strawberry mixture over dough. (Note: don't overfill, or you'll end up with a drippy tart like we did!)
3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out remaining dough into an 11-inch square. Cut out shapes as desired (keeping at least a 2-inch border). If dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate until firm. Carefully place dough over filling, and trim any overhanging dough. Press edges to seal.
4. Whisk together egg and water, and brush egg wash over top crust. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
5. Place tart on a baking sheet, and bake 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. If crust browns too quickly, cover with parchment paper and then foil. Let cool completely before unmolding. Cut into squares, and serve.
Of course, as with any recipe, we had to slightly improvise. Summer only had a circular tart pan, so I came up with a design based on a bandana I happened to have in my bag. Summer has these awesome little leaf cookie cutters (actually, I think they were fondant cutters) that looked just like the paisley design on my bandana! I slopped a couple of the placements on accident, but overall I thought it looked rather pretty. I was kind of sad that it didn't look as perfect when it came out of the oven, but if you're just going to shovel it in your mouth anyway, what's the big deal?
Tag-team baking rules, even if it makes it kind of tricky to take photos (and keep our kids from killing each other or breaking everything in the house). The best part was cutting into it after Summer & I enjoyed our Top Model night- a new Wednesday night tradition where we get together and heckle Tyra Banks. (Oops, I mean Tyrabot.)