- FOR THE CRUST
- 6 ounces flour, plus a bit more for rolling
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut in small pieces
- generous pinch salt
- 1- 2 tablespoons ice water (may need a bit more depending on weather)
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- AND THE STRAWBERRIES
- 2 cups (1 pint, or ½ quart) ripe strawberries
Make this strawberry chocolate tart when local strawberries are ripe and at their peak. Use only fresh berries in season: it just won’t taste as good if you use tough strawberries from grocery store.
The tart has three simple components: a pre-baked crust, a layer of silky chocolate ganache, and lots of fresh (uncooked) berries. It’s meant to be eaten the day it’s made; berries are very delicate and this tart won’t keep well. If you want to make a larger tart, use a 9-inch tart pan and double the ingredients.
first, the crust
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Butter a 5 or 6 inch tart pan and set aside.
We’ll make a simple 3-2-1 pastry (pâte brisée). Mix the flour and salt together. I use a food processor, so stick them in and pulse it once or twice. Add the chunks of cold butter, pulse again 7-10 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal, with pieces no larger than small peas. (If you prefer, work the butter into the flour/salt mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender.) Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until only the mixture begins to clump together.
Remove from the food processor, knead once or twice on a floured board, and shape into a disk. Wrap it loosely, and refrigerate it while you prepare the chocolate and the berries. This may be done ahead of time, the dough will keep, wrapped and refrigerated, for a day or two.
Warm the cream, and melt the chocolate in it. If you do this on the stovetop, be very careful not to burn the mixture; if you do it in a microwave, zap in short bursts, just enough to melt the chocolate. Mix well, and when the chocolate is fully blended with the cream, remove from heat, add vanilla, and set aside.
Rinse the berries and hull them, removing all the green stem and leaves. Cut the berries in half, or if very large, in quarters. Leave one perfect berry whole, that will go into the center of the tart. Set the berries aside for now.
shape the crust
Take the pastry dough out of the refrigerator and unwrap it. Dust your work surface lightly with flour, and place the pastry disk in the center. Dust the top surface of the pastry with a little flour as well. Use your rolling pin to press down on the pastry, making little grooves. Turn the pastry 90 degrees every so often to keep a round shape, and keep pressing until the disk is about twice its original diameter, when you can begin to roll.
Roll out the pastry, moving the pin back and forth only. Turn the dough 90 degrees every so often, to maintain a round shape. When the dough is about 1½ inches larger than the tart pan, carefully lift the pastry and place it in the pan. Lift the edges, and carefully tamp the pastry into the pan, taking care not to make any holes in it.
blind bake the crust
To make a baked tart shell with no bubbling, you’ll need to use pie weights. Take a piece of alumninum foil and press it into the raw crust. Weight the foil using pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice. Make sure the weights cover the entire bottom of the crust.
Bake the weighted tart shell 15 minutes, then check to see if the crust is ready. Pull up one corner of the foil. If the foil sticks, the dough isn’t dry enough to remove it, so return it to the oven and check in 2-3 more minutes.
When the crust is dry enough to remove the foil easily, carefully lift off the foil with the weights and return the crust to the oven until it is fully baked and golden brown, 7-10 minutes more. Once golden brown, pull the tart shell from the oven and place on a rack to cool.
assemble the tart
If the chocolate ganache was made well ahead of time, it will have become solid. Warm it slightly so that it is pourable, and then scoop it into the cooled tart shell. Smooth it for even coverage.
Place the berries into the tart, pressing them slightly into the softened chocolate ganache. I like to work from the outside inwards, and finish with one perfect berry smack in the center.
Chill the tart, uncovered, at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche.