Strawberries and Cream Tart ~ a simple spring dessert with an easygoing elegance. This is a go-to recipe when you’ve got last minute guests, or just want to amp up the glam factor on a spring night. (You won’t believe how simple the filling is!!)
I make a strawberries and cream tart at the first sighting of great strawberries every season
This is the kind of easy dessert that serves you well when you spot those great strawberries at the market and want to use them asap. When there’s no time for elaborate recipe searches or crazy ingredient lists, it pays to have a recipe like this to turn to.
trial and error made this the perfect strawberry tart!
I set out to create a light spring/summer tart that required minimal cooking and could be made ahead. This recipe is the result of several trials and errors…while my baked crust waited patiently for me, I went through 3 pints of cream trying to come up with a smooth, creamy, EASY filling.
the secret to the incredibly easy filling
I finally ended up with an uber simple whipped blend of heavy cream and, wait for it…instant vanilla pudding mix. I know, but hold that thought. I only used half a box, and I
disguised augmented the flavor with good vanilla extract. The pudding mix serves to thicken and stabilize the cream, and it’s drop dead easy. Save the other half of the packet for your next tart.
make the shortbread crust from scratch in minutes
Honestly it just takes a minute in the processor, and even if you’re rolling pin challenged (hands up here) you can just patch any wonky parts with your fingers, no one’s gonna know. I blind bake it, (weighed down with dried beans) and then it’s ready whenever you are. You can make it a day ahead if you like.
And feel free to use a ready made crust, or make a quick crumb crust. This kind of recipe isn’t meant to stress you out in any way.
Great berries are definitely key for this tart, and if you’re lucky enough to find ripe seasonal berries, you can simply slice and use as is, like I’ve done ~ they’re incredible that way.
What if you can’t find perfect berries?
If your berries are less than perfect, try macerating them, which just means pulling out their juices with the help of a little sugar. Instructions below…
HOW TO MACERATE STRAWBERRIES ~
Macerating is a great method for drawing out the juices of the berries and intensifying their flavor. It’s a neat trick for when you have berries that aren’t super flavorful, red, or juicy.
- Wash and hull your berries. Cut them in half or in quarters if they’re large. You can also slice them. (The more surface area that is exposed, the more juice they will release.)
- Place the berries in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar, about a tablespoon per cup.
- Toss well and let the berries sit at room temperature for about an hour, giving them a stir now and again. You can even leave them in the fridge overnight. They’ll release their juices and become wonderful.
- Flavor your berries with a little dash of balsamic vinegar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, or liqueur if you like.
- Spoon the berries and juice over the tart just before serving.
Other easy strawberry recipes I love ~
- Strawberry Jalapeño Salsa
- Simple Strawberry Jam
- Easy Strawberry Lemonade
- Easy Strawberry Sorbet
- Whipped Strawberry Butter
Strawberries and Cream Tart
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 7 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- 1 large egg, well beaten
- 2 cups heavy cream, or half and half, or whole milk
- 2.5 ounces half of a 5.1 ounce package, or just shy of 1/2 cup Jello vanilla instant pudding mix ~ NOT the cook and serve kind
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Put the flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. About 30 or so pulses. Pulse in the egg until the mixture comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and bring together with your hands. Knead into a smooth flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or overnight.)
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Roll out the dough to fit your 9 or 10 inch tart pan and pat in place. (I like to use tart pans that have the removable bottoms, so you can easily pop out the tart for easy cutting and pretty presentation.) Patch any tears with your fingers. Pierce the bottom all over with a fork, and then place a piece of crumpled parchment paper on top. Fill with dried beans, which will prevent the crust from puffing as it bakes. Bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the beans and paper, and bake a further 5-10 minutes, until the pastry is firm and dry to the touch. It will still be pale. Set aside to cool on a rack.
- To make the filling, put the cream in a mixing bowl, along with the vanilla extract. Whisk in the pudding mix, whisking gently until the mixture thickens. This doesn't take long, maybe about a minute or two. DO NOT be tempted to try to whip this mixture, the pudding mix will thicken it instantly without whipping. When the mixture is thickened, spread it into the cooled crust.
- Top with the berries, and dust with powdered sugar.
notes and variations
- There are so many ways to change up the filling, including using sweetened whipped cream all by itself. The slices won't be as neat, but who cares? Any custard, pudding, or pastry cream recipe will work, too.
- Add the seeds of a vanilla bean to the filling for a touch of luxury.
- Drizzle the tart with melted chocolate.
- Why not serve this in parfait glasses ~ you can put crushed shortbread cookies or graham cracker crumbs at the bottom of the glass.