With California strawberries at their peak, I set out to develop a dessert that brings out the strawberries’ incredible flavor and texture. By cooking some of the strawberries down to a preserve-like texture before folding them into the curd, their sweet flavor intensifies. The perfectly ripe strawberries that cover the top of the tart provide balance to the strawberry flavor, and the graham cracker crust adds a crunchy texture that complements the smooth curd.
The strawberry curd can be made a day ahead and the crust can be baked in advance as well. In fact, I prefer to make this tart in phases, assembling it right before I’m ready to serve it so the strawberries on top of the tart remain fresh. Recipe by Amanda Haas.
Strawberry Tart with Preserved Strawberry Curd
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- Two 9” tart pans with removable bottoms or 8 tartlet pans with removable bottoms
For the crust
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs about 7 oz.
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup flour
- 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1 stick
- 1 egg
- For Strawberry Preserves and Curd
- 16 oz. strawberries stems removed, then halved
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tbsp. cane sugar
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
For the Curd
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
For the topping:
- 1 lb. strawberries sliced to your preference
- To make the crust, place the ground graham crackers, brown sugar, and the flour in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is ground into the size of peas. Add the egg and pulse just until the dough comes together. Form the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- To make the strawberry preserves, place the strawberries, water, sugar, and the lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Using a potato masher or pastry blender, mash the berries to break them up a bit. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer gently until the strawberries have broken down and the liquid has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool before mixing into the curd.
- Make the curd. In a heat-proof bowl, whisk the lemon juice, sugar, and eggs together until smooth. Place the bowl over a gently simmering pot of water (ideally ensuring the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water), and cook, stirring often, until the curd is thick enough to coat a whisk or a rubber spatula. Stir in the butter one piece at a time until incorporated, then remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes, then fold in the strawberry preserves. Refrigerate until completely chilled before using.
- To bake the tart shells, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the 9” tarts, press half the dough into the bottom of each tart pan and cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap. Using a flat-bottomed glass or a large measuring cup, press down on the dough to create an even pastry dough, pushing some of it up the sides to create an even edge. If preferred, you can use your hands but it’s necessary to move quickly so the dough doesn’t get too warm. Repeat with the remaining tart dough. If making tartlets, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces before pressing into the tartlet shells. If the dough is warm, freeze the tart shells for 10 minutes before baking.
- Place the tart shells in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tart dough is barely browned and set. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before filling.
- To make the tarts, add enough strawberry curd to reach the top of each tart shell. Place the sliced strawberries on top in any desired pattern. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving or keep at room temperature for up to an hour before serving.