Strawberry Tart

I’ve been candid about my love-hate with traditional American fruit pies before. Maybe my classic French training is to blame or perhaps it’s my fondness for French food generally. Whatever the reason, my preference is for a fresh fruit tart such as this strawberry tart. And for those who feel that making a homemade pie is too labor intensive, I’ve got you covered, this tart is less work.

Some say fruit tarts derived from the Medieval pie-making tradition and are themselves actually flat, oven-faced pies. By definition, a “tart” is a type of baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top. The tart pastry itself is typically what’s called a “shortcrust pastry” (or pâté a foncer) and the filling itself can be either sweet or savory (such as quiche).

strawberry tart

The French word “tarte” can be translated to mean either “pie” or “tart” making a traditional American pie and a French tart more similar than most would suspect. Tarts have shallow sides and only a bottom crust. Classic tart crusts are often made using a pastry dough which typically consists of flour, unsalted butter, cold water, and sometimes sugar. The goal is a firm, crumbly crust. Tarts are served un-molded and out of their baking pan.

In contrast, “pies” are baked in a deep dish pan with sloped sides. They can have just a bottom, just a top, or both A pie crust is most often made of flour, salt, cold water, and lard (or shortening) but can also be a combination of fats such as butter, lard, or vegetable shortening, or just butter. The goal is a crisp, flaky crust. Unlike tarts, pies are served straight from their baking dish.

My love of fruit tarts is mainly because of their simplicity, but their elegance is not lost on me either. Often more delicate than a traditional deep-dish pie, the fresh fruit on top can often look like a culinary work of art.

strawberry tart

In this strawberry tart recipe, I use a simple pâte sucrée for the crust that can easily be made in a standard kitchen mixer. The hardest part here is the pastry cream (or Crème Pâtissière as it’s known in French). This creamy custard, used in many classic French desserts, is worthy of the time it takes to master it. Artistically, when assembling the tart, there’s lots of room. I like to slice and fan my berries, but the options are limitless, so go ahead, and get creative.

Types of Pastry Dough For Tarts:

  • Pâté a Foncer– A French shortcrust pastry that has egg in it.
  • Pâté Brisée– Similar to Pâté a Foncer with a rich and buttery flavor but it is lighter and more delicate due to a higher quantity of butter.
  • Pâté Sucrée– Known also as “sweet dough”, it is made with more sugar which sweetens the dough but also impedes the gluten making it more flaky.
  • Pâté Sablée– Also known as a “shortbread dough” with a digest quantity of butter and a low ratio of eggs compared to all the other tart doughs.

strawberry tart

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

2 thoughts on "Strawberry Tart"

  1. Avatar photo Neal Potischman says:

    Beautiful shots!

    1. Thank you, a good subject 😉

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