Strawberry Pie-Tart

This year, Tim and I kept our travel within the States, and it’s been great to finally visit cities that have been on our list for a while. This strawberry pie-tart was baked in Fayetteville, NC and was made with strawberries we picked from my first trip ever to a strawberry patch.

My big basket of strawberries!

The freshly picked and washed strawberries.

It’s a strawberry pie-tart because quite frankly, it came out extremely tart, and from appearances, it looks more like a tart although it was supposed to be a pie. Our gracious hosts, the Tsai family, still ate it, and with some vanilla ice cream it turned out to be a nice summer treat. Next time I make this, I think I’ll keep some fresh strawberries to top the pie with.

In addition to feasting on Carolina bbq (and hush puppies) and visiting Tim’s old neighborhood, our wonderful hosts even took us on a tour of Fort Bragg where we got to visit the commissary! Having no experience with military culture, I expected to see aisles upon aisles of MREs, but alas, we found none.

I’m not ready for summertime be over, so I’m just going to hold onto these warm memories with dear friends. (Thanks for the great time Al, Amy, Noah, Ellie and baby girl Tsai!)

Strawberry Pie-Tart

2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced in half
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3/4 cup water
1 prebaked pie shell (recipe below)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon and water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
2. Reduce heat and let strawberry mixture simmer until thickens, for about 10 minutes. Pour mixture into pie shell and chill in refrigerator for several hours.
3. Serve chilled with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Pie Crust
from Cook’s Illustrated

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour , plus more for rolling out the dough
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4-5 tablespoons ice water

1. Mix together flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat with flour. Cut butter into flour with pastry cutter and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no larger than small peas.
2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, using folding motion to mix. Press down on mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if it will not come together. Shape dough into ball, squeezing two or three times with hands until cohesive, then flatten into 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling.
3. Remove dough from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature to soften slightly, about 10 minutes if dough has chilled for 30 minutes or 20 minutes if it has chilled overnight. Roll dough on lightly floured work surface or between two sheets plastic wrap to a 12-inch disk about 1/8-inch thick. Fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of pie pan. Unfold dough. Alternatively, roll dough in 2-gallon zipper-lock bag to a 12-inch disk about 1/8-inch thick. Cut away top of bag. Grasping bottom, flip dough into pie pan and peel off bag bottom.
4. Working around circumference of pan, press dough carefully into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand . Refrigerate pie shell for 40 minutes and then freeze for 20 minutes.
5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Press doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil inside dough shell; evenly distribute 1 cup or 12 ounces ceramic or metal pie weights over foil. Bake, leaving foil and weights in place, until dough dries out, about 17 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering sides of foil and pulling up and out. For fully baked crust, continue baking until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Tarts

If you’ve never had strawberries and goat cheese together, you are missing out on something magical. Now, if you happen to be allergic to strawberries (sorry sis!) or don’t have an affinity to goat cheese, then you may want to skip out on this post. I discovered this flavor combination back in 2008 at the Top Berry Luncheon where I first met food bloggers like Yvo. I loved the strawberry goat cheese tart served there, and I’ve been wanting to make these ever since.

I lost the recipe handed out at the event, so I decided to come up with my own version based on an old tart recipe. For the filling, I wanted a prominent goat cheese flavor with creamy consistency, so I mixed together Greek-style yogurt with some sugar and goat cheese. I then threw on a handful of sliced strawberries and poured on some longan honey I got from Thailand. Pretty simple, right? If you make these for your next summer dinner party, I assure you, your guests will eat them as quickly as you can assemble them.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Tarts
adapted from previous recipe

Shortcrust Pastry (recipe below)
2-3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 cups Greek-style yogurt or strained yogurt
4-6 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup honey

1. Place the chilled dough rounds on a lightly floured surface. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 1/4 inch thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the center and roll away from you), and turning the round a quarter turn after each roll.
2. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to four small tart pans, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
4. Remove shells from freezer and fill with pie weights (you may substitute with beans or rice on top of parchment paper – please don’t forget the parchment paper!)
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tart becomes golden brown.
6. Remove from oven and let cool.
7. In a stand mixer, beat together goat cheese, Greek-style yogurt (or strained yogurt) and sugar until you reach a smooth consistency.
8. Assemble the tarts by dolloping goat cheese/yogurt mixture into the tart shells, placing sliced strawberries on top of the goat cheese/yogurt mixture, and drizzling honey over the strawberries.

Shortcrust Pastry
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons cold water

1. Sift together flour, sugar and salt.
2. Using a pastry cutter, work pieces of cold, cut butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.
3. Lightly beat the egg yolks and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
4. Form the dough into four equal rounds, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.