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Friday, May 18, 2007

Strawberry Rustic Tart


2.5 cups all purpose flour
3T sugar
1 t salt
2 sticks/.5 pounds/16T cold butter cut into little pieces
1/3 cup + 1T ice cold water and more if needed.
Your favorite strawberry jam (make sure the fruit is the first ingredient on the label's list of ingredients)

1. Put all dry ingredients in food processor bowl and pulse to combine
2. Spread half of the butter over top of flour mixture. Pulse 3 - 4 times
3. Spread remaining half of butter over top of flour/butter mixture. Pulse until mix has the coarseness of bread crumbs.


4. Drizzle water over top of mixture. Pulse just until mixture begins to gather together.
If dough (now it's dough) is dry or dusty looking, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing each time.

You should be able to pick up pieces of the dough now and mold it like playdough with your fingers. It's important to note that the dough at this point will still be just hundreds of little chunks of butter mixed with flour, sugar and salt.

5. Dump the dough onto counter top and beginning with the edge furthest from you, smear sections of dough across the counter top with the heal of your hand. This creates ribbons of butter that separate thin layers of flour resulting in an incomparably flaky crust.

The amount of smearing you do is a bit arbitrary, but limit it to 2 go-arounds. After first smear, scrape dough together into a loose pile and follow step 5 one more time.

6. Gather dough into a ball and divide in half.

7. Flatten each half into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. At this point dough can be frozen for up to 3 - 6 months.

The purpose of this step is to make sure the butter in the dough remains nice and hard. The softer/warmer it is, the more likely dough will stick to the rolling pin and counter top.

8. Remove dough from refrigerator, unwrap and place on floured counter top. Sprinkle flour on top of dough and begin to roll the dough from the center to the edge going around the dough like the changing positions of a clock.

9. Once dough is acceptably round and approximately 1/8 inch thick transfer to cookie sheet.

If you prefer thicker crust, feel free to leave it a little thicker. Just remember that the recipe makes enough dough for 2 pie crusts, 1/8 thick and big enough to fill a 9inch pie plate with a little extra to spare.

10. Spread the jam over the top of the dough leaving a 1 inch border of dough uncovered.

11. Fold border of dough over jam-covered dough. The more folds you make around the tart, the more circular the tart will be. This will require more trimming of excess dough where each fold ends and the next begins.

I don't concern myself with the actual geometric shape. The more "unique" the shape, the more clear to the eater that this baby is homemade. After the first bite, even the most particular guests will forget about the shape of the pie.

12. Brush top of crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar. This will help brown the top of the tart nicely.

13. Bake at 375 degrees for approx. 30 minutes.

Bon Appetit!