Pâte Brisée (see below)
Strawberry Tart: Prepare the dough as directed in the recipe and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.
Pastry Cream (See below)
1 tablespoon Strawberry Flavored Vodka
Prepare the Pastry Cream as directed in the recipe. For this tart, I like to flavor the cold Pastry Cream with the Strawberry Vodka because I think it enhances the flavor of the tart. You may omit the liquor if you prefer. Store the Pastry Cream in the refrigerator, tightly covered in plastic wrap, until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly give the dough a few quick raps with the rolling pin to soften it slightly. This will make it easier to roll. Lightly Flour the work surface and each side of the dough.
Roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer the dough to a parchment paper-covered baking sheet by rolling it around the rolling pin. Unroll the dough onto the baking sheet. Lightly place the parchment heart on top of the dough and use a sharp paring knife to cut a heart of dough slightly larger than the guide. Remove the guide and the excess scraps of dough. Fold the edge of the heart back onto itself by about 1/4 inch and pinch the dough together with your fingers. The edge should be higher than the rest of the dough circle. Now pinch this edge between the thumb and forefinger of both hands to create a V-shaped pattern all the way around the edge of the tart. This edge allows the dough to act as its own tart pan. If the dough becomes too soft, return it to the refrigerator for 20 minutes, then continue. Dock the dough with a fork. Place the tart shell on the baking sheet in the oven and bake until evenly light golden brown, about 25 minutes.
3 ounces Dark chocolate (melted)
Remove the tart shell from the oven and cool on a wire rack. When completely cooled, paint a thin layer of melted Chocolate on the inside of the shell and allow to cool. Slide the tart shell onto a flat platter. Use an offset spatula to spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the flavored Pastry Cream all the way to the fluted sides of the tart shell.
5 1/2 cups Strawberries
Set one Strawberry aside and hull and halve the rest. Hull the whole berry and set it tip up at the center of the tart. Place the berry halves by leaning them tip up against the whole berry. Continue placing the berry halves in this concentric circle pattern to the edge of the tart.
Prepare the Apricot Glaze as directed in the recipe and use a pastry brush to apply it to the tart. This will keep the fruit from oxidizing (browning), and it adds a little shine to the tart. I use Apricot Glaze because it does not flavor the tart.
1 2/3 cups Cake Flour
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter; cold & diced
*Pâte Brisée: Combine Flour, Salt, and Sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the Butter all at once and coat evenly with the Flour mixture. Work in the Butter with your hands until the mixture resembles a course meal. The easiest way to do this is to grab a handful of Flour mixture and Butter, then gently rub the two between your hands to combine them. As you rub, the mixture drops back in the bowl. Keep doing this until most of the Butter is combined. If your hands are too warm, the batter will melt. If necessary, wash your hands in ice-cold water every few minutes. Make sure your hands are dry when you return to the mixture. Stop working the mixture while you can still see small chicks of Butter. This will make the dough softer and more crumbly.
1/3 cup Cold Water
Add Water all at once and work it in with your hands until the dough holds together.
Be careful not to overmix, which will cause the dough to become chewy instead of crumbly. When the dough holds together in a ball, place it on the work surface and knead until smooth, about 30 seconds. If the dough is dry and ropey, just keep kneading until it becomes smooth and moist. Pat the dough into a disk and place on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using. Then proceed with the dough as directed in the recipe. The dough will keep well-wrapped in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 1 month.
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
4 Large Egg Yolks
**Pastry Cream: Sift together the Cornstarch and half of the Sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl, add the Egg Yolks, and whisk until well-combined. The egg mixture should be thick, smooth, and homogenous.
2 cups Whole Milk
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean
Pour the Milk and the remaining Sugar into a non-reactive 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and place the saucepan over medium-high heat. I use a large saucepan because the Pastry Cream gains volume as it cooks and room is needed to vigorously whisk without spilling. While the Milk is heating, use a sharp knife to slice the Vanilla Bean in half lengthwise. Separate the seeds from the skin by scraping the blade of the knife along the inside of the bean. Add the seeds and the skin to the heating Milk and bring to a boil.
Temper the Egg mixture with the hot Milk by carefully pouring about half of the Milk into the Egg mixture. Immediately whisk to prevent the Eggs from scrambling. Pour the tempered Egg mixture into the saucepan and continue to whisk to prevent the Eggs from scrambling. Pour the tempered Egg mixture into the saucepan where the Pastry Cream can stick and burn. As the temperature rises, the mixture will slowly start to thicken. The Pastry Cream will become very thick very quickly before it boils. (The Eggs and starch cause it to thicken.) Continuously whisk to ensure that the mixture cooks evenly. Once the Pastry Cream has come to a boil, continue to whisk and cook for another 2 minutes to fully develop the flavor of the Pastry Cream and to cook out the flavor of the starch. Remove the pan from the heat. Strain the Pastry Cream through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any pieces of cooked Egg and the Vanilla Bean. Be sure to save the Vanilla Bean skin to make Vanilla Sugar.
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter (optional)
If you would like to add Butter, and I always do, this is the time to add it. I just cut the Butter into small chunks and stir it in until it is well incorporated. Pour the Pastry Cream into a clean, airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top if the Pastry Cream to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool at room temperature, then store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, until ready to use.
1. Fish en papillote means fish in parchment.
2. Fish should smell like fish when you buy it. When the fishmonger touches it, it should spring back.
3. Make compound butters ahead of time and freeze for a later time.
4. Use any delicate white fish for this recipe.
5. To tell if it’s done, the clams should open up.
6. Garnish this with fresh herbs or some more zest.