Strawberry season is upon us, which means it’s time to start simmering these beauties into sauces, muddling them in cocktails, and baking them into freshly made dough and crusts. This summer, we’re taking a page from food blogger and author Béatrice Peltre’s book—literally. Her cookbook, My French Family Table: Recipes for a Life Filled with Food, Love, and Joie de Vivre ($23; amazon.com) just came out yesterday, and we're whipping up her delicious, simple Strawberry and Almond Tart.
"This is my go-to tart when I am looking for a quick strawberry dessert,” Peltre writes of the creamy, almond-filled pastry. "My sweet crusts are never prepared too sweet, so that the topping can have the spotlight. I like to add accents or nuts, such as the almond meal in this recipe. I often prepare this dough the night before.” One of the key ingredients is a mixture Peltre calls the "magic bind,” which makes the dough easier to roll. To try it for yourself, check out the full recipe below.
Strawberry and Almond Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart
One 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with removable bottom.
Sweet Crust (ingredients to follow)
1 large egg
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup blond cane sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp heavy cream or whole milk
1 lb strawberries, hulled and cut in half
Confectioner’s sugar, to serve
For the Sweet Crust
2/3 quinoa flour or millet flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
1 batch flax gel (ingredients to follow)
1 to 2 tbsp water, if needed
For the Flax Gel
2 tbsp golden flax meal
1/3 cup hot water
1. To make the flax gel: Put the flax meal in a small bowl and whisk in the hot water. Let rest for 15 minutes; the mixture will become gelatinous; set aside. (I don’t recommend making this ahead and storing it; it’s really simple and fast to make as needed.)
2. To make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours, almond meal, cornstarch, confectioner’s sugar, and sea salt. Add the butter and beat on medium speed until crumbles form. Add the flax gel and beat until incorporated. If you need to, add 1 to 2 tbsp water, one at a time, and beat until the dough detaches from the side and forms a ball—it will be sticky. Dust the dough with rice flour.
3. If you are making tartlets, divide the dough into 6 small balls of equal size; otherwise, flatten the dough into a 6-inch circle. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Take out of the fridge at least 10 minutes before rolling.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll and cut the crust to 1/5-inch thick to fit inside the mold (you will have some leftovers). Arrange the dough inside the mold and, using a fork, make small holes in the bottom; set aside.
5. In a bowl, beat the egg with the almond meal, sugar, vanilla, and cream until all the ingredients are well combined. Arrange the strawberries in the crust and pour the batter over them. Bake the tart for 35 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding carefully. Let cool completely on a cooling rack. When ready to serve, dust with confectioner’s sugar.