As soon as it's the end of May and the start of the month June, I'm looking forward to picking local strawberries. The tantalizing taste of these strawberries isn't one I can ignore; even with the busy schedule I've to find a time to go u-picking. U-pick farms are abound in the Portland area and they have berries that ripe almost at the same time. This year I promise myself to replenish my strawberry and raspberry jam jars. But of course, eating these berries fresh is the one of the anticipated events of the year.
I soon found out that getting older and choosing to u-pick berries didn't go together harmoniously. My back would ache every five minutes or so from squatting too long. I think it's just my age, really. I saw some people brought kneeling mat, which now I think it's a brilliant idea. Why didn't I think of that?
When I picked these berries, the day was supposed to be getting progressively hot. I started in mid morning and finished picking ten pounds worth of strawberries before noon. The sun was just starting to peek and blazed its hot rays upon the earth. I told myself, that's enough berries, you really need to stop before it's too hot. Yeah, I picked the weekend to do my jam making and baking when the temperature hit a record for the year. There's no stopping back. I felt like I lost a pound of weight that weekend.
I picked Hood strawberries because I love their taste and smell. The idea behind making this tart was because I saw an Instagram photo from UK's Delicious magazine. But I wanted to have a chocolate tart as the base so I turned to America's Test Kitchen for its recipe. For the frangipane filling, I found that the recipe from Yossi Arefi's blog was a much better proportion. The finished product is declared a winner by my family. I'm happy when they're happy.
Strawberry-Frangipane Chocolate Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart
Chocolate Tart Dough:
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 ground almonds
2 eggs, plus one egg white
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract, optional
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2-2 cups fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons apricot jam for glaze
To make chocolate tart dough:
Whisk the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Process the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses.
With the machine running, add the egg mixture through the feed tube and continue to process until the dough just comes together around the processor blade, about 12 seconds. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a 6-inch disk. Wrap the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
Roll out the dough to an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured counter and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Set the tart pan on a large plate and freeze the tart for 30 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375F. Set the tart pan on a large baking sheet. Press a double layer of foil into the frozen tart shell and over the edges of the pan and fill with pie weights. Bake until the tart shell is set and looks dry, about 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and continue to bake the tart shell until it is fully baked, about 5 more minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the tart shell cool completely on the baking sheet.
To make frangipane filling: In the bowl of the food processor, combine the butter and sugar and pulse until smooth. Add almonds and blend until well combined. Add the flour and cornstarch followed by the egg and egg white and finally the vanilla and almond extract, if using, and salt. Mix until just combined.
Spread the frangipane into the cooled tart shell. Bake the tart shell while still on the baking sheet for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling is set and no longer jiggly when touched. Let tart cool completely on a wire rack.
To assemble the tart: Trim the strawberries and cut each into half. Starting from the outside edge, lay them in neat overlapping circles until the top of the tart is covered. In a small pan, heat the apricot jam with a bit of water until syrupy, don't boil the jam or the glaze will become cloudy and thick. Pass it through a sieve back into the pan. Brush the smooth, clear glaze over the fruit.
Source: idea from Delicious magazine: Strawberry Frangipane Tart
chocolate tart dough from The America's Test Kitchen: Family Baking Book
frangipane filling adapted from Yossi Arefi for Food52: Berry and Frangipane Tartlets