(Baton Rouge, LA, USA)
Question: My parents recently went to France. I was told to make my dad's dream dessert as his birthday present, which is a strawberry tart sold at vendors all around Paris. Can you help me find a similar recipe for this infamous dessert. His bday is this weekend, and I have some time to play around in the kitchen. I would love to surprise him!
Answer: Hi Aimee. Sorry to be a bit late in replying. You've probably already found a recipe and made the tart, but I thought I'd give you a few thoughts maybe for the next time.
Strawberry tarts are very popular in France, especially in spring time when the fresh fruit is readily available. There are many different variations on the recipe, and you might find different sorts served all over Paris. So which one is going to correspond exactly to your dad's memories is hard to say.
Many times, the fruit is arranged on top of a pastry cream which sits in a short bread shell. The strawberries are then glazed with a little jelly. The recipe on EFF is an example of this traditional approach: strawberry tart recipe.
The ingredients in the pastry cream can vary considerably. Sometimes ground almonds are added. Sometimes creme fraiche or mascarpone cheese will serve as the base for the cream.
Another approach to the strawberry tart is to skip the cream. Here you will find an excellent recipe by Dorie Greenspan (who writes wonderful French cookbooks) that features a fabulous homemade crust and little more than strawberry jam and some sensational strawberries as a topping: easy fruit tart.
Probably the best approach would be to try one out on your dad and get his feedback. Of course, food memories can be hard to replicate, so intertwined they become with whatever else is occurring at the moment. His strawberry tart may only exist in Paris.
Hope you have fun in the kitchen and please add any comments below if you do try a recipe and wish to share results.