Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Release Day Strawberry Tart

I can't even tell you how thrilled I am that Jane of Austin is finally out and available in the world! For all of you who pre-ordered - thank you, and your copy should arrive today! And for everyone else, you can find your copy online and on shelves!

I'm also thrilled to add that Jane can be purchased as an audiobook! As an avid audiobook listener, I'm thrilled to pieces to have one of my books available in audio!

To celebrate, I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes from the book! This recipe shows up during a scene set at SxSW. Jane and her sister Celia make them as minis, but you can adapt the tart for whatever tart pans you might have. In a pinch, you can use a pie pan or 9x9 pan.

I used a rectangular tart pan I found at TJ Maxx years ago, and haven't used in ages. Now that we're settling in, it was time to pull it out! This tart sounds tricky, but it's really not hard if you give yourself plenty of time. I recommend making the tart dough the night before. But as much as the crust takes a bit of planning, the filling comes together in a snap. You could totally make the tart shell a day early, if you wanted.

The filling? Well, I have a noted love of mascarpone, and use it here with some creme fraiche to make a sweet, rich, and tangy filling that doesn't require any time at the stove. Creme fraiche is kinda like a more delicate sour cream, made from thickened buttermilk. In a pinch you could substitute ricotta cheese and sour cream - just know that it'll change the texture, and you may want to add more honey. I also use vanilla bean paste because I like to see the vanilla beans in the cream, but you can use vanilla extract, too.

~ Strawberry Tart ~

For the Crust

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten

For the Filling

1 cup mascarpone 
1/2 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced

To make the tart shell:

Cut the butter into four slices lengthwise, turn, and make another four lengthwise cuts. Cut the butter crosswise, making 1/4 inch or so incisions. Put your butter cubes onto a plate and refrigerate (if your kitchen is warm - if, say, you live in Memphis and it's toasty out, bypass the fridge and go straight for the freezer. 

Sift the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter, toss with the flour mixture, and work the butter in with your hands. Press the butter cubes flat with your fingers, creating oatmeal-type flakes. It's okay to have big and little pieces (actually, it's a good thing). Continue until most of the butter cubes have been pressed flat.

If the butter feels soft and warm, put the mixing bowl into the fridge to allow the butter to firm back up (this helps preserve a flaky crust). After 10 minutes, remove the bowl and add the egg. With a fork, lightly stir the egg in and keep tossing until a shaggy dough just begins to form. Use your hands to press and turn the dough within the bowl, working just until the dough holds. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest for an our, or overnight. 

Before you roll out the dough, remove the dough disk from the fridge and let it warm a bit, about 20 minutes or so. Roll it between sheets of plastic wrap until it's about 3/16ths of an inch in thickness. Tuck the plastic wrap around the edges and refrigerate the dough sheet for 15-30 minutes.

Butter the tart pan. If you're using a pie pan, use the pie pan as a rough guide to cut parchment paper to line the bottom - trim it to fit, and butter both the pie pan and the parchment paper. If you're using a 9x9, use parchment paper to line both the bottom and the sides - it'll help make it possible to lift from the pan.

Press the dough into the tart pan and trim the edges; use the trimmings to patch any holes that may have formed. Use a fork to score holes across the bottom. Refrigerate - yes, again - the dough in the tart pan for 30-60 minutes. 

While the dough is refrigerating, center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Bake the shell for 15-20 minutes - you want the crust nice and brown, but check on it at the 15 minute mark to make sure the top edge doesn't get too brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before filling (a wire rack is great for that, you can often find them discounted at Homegoods or Tuesday Morning). 

To make the filling:

Stir the mascarpone, creme fraiche, honey, and vanilla bean paste together. Spoon the filling into the cooled tart shell; if you're making minis, put the filling into a Ziplock bag, cut off the tip, and pipe the filling in. Arrange the strawberry slices on top and serve immediately. 

I hope you enjoy the tart! It's perfect for a summer get-together. And I really, really hope you enjoy Jane of Austin - happy reading!

What are you looking forward to eating and reading this summer? 
Share in the comments below!


  1. Happy Release Day, Hillary! Cannot wait to read your new book! :)

  2. Hello, I just finished to listening Jane of Austin while on a road trip. EXCELLENT book, had a hard time getting out of the car every time I stopped! I'm also excited to try some recipes:)


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