I have an odd allergy to certain fruits – peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, apples, and strawberries. Yes, strawberries! I know, I know – the horror! However, despite the itchiness in my throat every time I eat them, I cannot give them up! And what’s a better dessert in the summer than fresh strawberry fruit tart? A strawberry lemon-curd fruit tart that is!
I love all things tart and sour. So if you are like many of my friends, and don’t have a preference for all things face puckering, please take note of this every time you read my recipes. The more sour the better! However, this fruit tart is the perfect combination of both flavors. The sweet strawberries and pastry cream is perfectly balanced by a thin layer of lemon curd. All held together in a flaky and buttery shell – this tart is the perfect way to end a meal. And it’s so pretty!
Try it with or without the lemon curd or substitute the strawberries for whatever fruit you prefer. Other fruits I recommend that will go well include – raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and kiwi. Of if you want to be festive, mix them all together!
Strawberry Lemon-Curd Fruit Tart
Source: adapted from Martha Stewart and Annie’s Eats
- 1 large egg, plus 3 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp. cornstarch
- 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Tart Dough (I use Pate Brisee, which is basically a slightly sweetened french pie dough)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp. very cold water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Lemon Curd: Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Pastry Cream: To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. You can strain the pastry cream through a mesh sieve to get a smoother texture, but I didn’t feel the need to do this step. (The cream was smooth and creamy as is). Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Tart Dough: In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
Roll out the tart dough and press into a slightly greased tart pan. Line the dough with tin foil, pressing it into the corners, and fill with pie weights (or if you don’t have pie weights like me, use rice or beans). Bake the tart dough at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let the dough cool completely before assembling. If the tart puffs up during the baking process, gently press back down while still warm.
Once fully cooled, spread a thin layer of lemon curd over the bottom of the crust. Spread the chilled pastry cream over the lemon curd, careful to spread it out to the sides and corners of the tart. Layer your fruit of choice in an artful fashion over the pastry cream and chill in the refrigerator further, at least 1 hour. The tart can be made a day ahead.
For a further step, you can melt some strawberry or apple jelly and use that to glaze the fruits for a shiny glaze.