Early-summer dessert doesn’t get much better than a simple strawberry tart. Chock-full of sweet berries, you can make this dessert as fancy or as simple as you please. Either way you slice it, it’s delicious.
For the past the past month or so, bright red strawberries have stood out on stands at the Farmer’s Market. Every time I picked up a quart, the farmer I buy from would tell me they were just picked yesterday. Something about that reminder – that someone else picked these berries – made them even more enjoyable.
Suffice it to say, picking strawberries was never my favorite thing to do.
Every morning of summer break – during those few blissful years when I was old enough to stay at home alone but young enough to not yet have a job – I’d walk downstairs and be greeted by a list of chores. Sometime in June, there was always a week or two where “pick strawberries” seemed to be on the list every day.
I’d walk out to our tiny strawberry patch in a stormy mood and hunt berries for what seemed like hours, but what really could not have been more than minutes. I probably spent half of my mental energy looking out for small red berries to drop in my bowl and the other half looking out for snakes (fortunately, I never saw one).
Now, what I wouldn’t give to spend an hour or so picking berries on a sunny, summer weekday.
Whenever we had strawberries, a strawberry pie would usually follow. I fancied up my mom’s recipe for you here, but trust me when I say you can make this as easy as you please.
You can spend an hour or so on the weekend making a homemade dough and whipping up some cream, or you can take a few minutes during the week to bake a store-bought pie crust and scoop up some Cool Whip. It’s the easy-to-make strawberry filling that makes this dessert one you’ll come back to every summer. Enjoy!
Simple Strawberry Tart
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons cold butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
For the filling
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1, 3 ounce box strawberry Jello
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
For the basil cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped basil leaves
- Start by making the crust. Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
- Chop the cold butter into small pieces and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to rub the butter into the flour and salt mixture.
- Stir in the yogurt, then turn the dough out onto a work surface.
- Lightly knead the dough until it comes together into a ball, adding a sprinkle of flour or a few drops of water as needed to help with consistency.
- Flatten the dough into a large disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Transfer the chilled dough to a clean work surface, roll it out a few times, and then place it in an 11-inch tart pan. Press the dough out until it fills the bottom and up the sides.
- Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times (or place pie weights if you have them) over the crust, then bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.
- After the crust has baked, start the filling. Stir the water, sugar, and cornstarch together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat.
- Add the strawberry Jello, stir until dissolved, and remove from the heat.
- Gently stir in the strawberries, then pour the filling into the baked tart shell.
- Refrigerate approximately 4 hours until the mixture sets.
- Before serving, top with the basil whipped cream. Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form, slowly add in the confectioners' sugar while continuing to beat, then fold in the finely chopped basil.
Notes on the crust: Be sure to use full-fat (not non-fat) yogurt. You can also substitute the butter for 1/3 cup olive oil. You may need to work the dough for a few minutes, but it will fill the tart pan when you keep at it.
Notes on the filling: This recipe will fill an 11-inch tart pan or a 9 1/2 x 2-inch pie pan (7 cups volume each). To make two, 9 x 1-inch pies in foil pans (3 cups volume each, 6 cups volume total) simply double the filling measurements, with the exception of the strawberries. So for the two pies, you will use 2 cups water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 4 tablespoons cornstarch, 1, 6 ounce box of strawberry Jello, and 4 - 6 cups strawberries.
Notes on the whipped cream: I like to put the bowl and beaters I plan to use in the freezer to chill for a few minutes before whipping the cream. Whether this actually helps the process or just makes me feel like it helps the process...well, that's unknown. For another nice variation, try mint or chocolate mint in place of the basil.