This is one of the prettiest desserts you can make, and it's easy! The recipe actually has roots in Colonial times. The custard is made with vinegar, which was used in the days when fresh lemons weren't readily available year-round. It has a sweet-tart flavor that marries nicely with the strawberries. The tart needs to chill at least 4 hours before serving, and it's best served the day it's made, so plan accordingly.
|Sweet Pastry Dough (for 1 crust)|
|1/2 cup||heavy whipping cream|
|4 large||egg yolks|
|1 1/2 teaspoons||vanilla extract|
|1 cup||golden balsamic vinegar|
|4 tablespoons||unsalted butter (1/2)stick)|
|1 pound||Earthbound Farm Organic Strawberries (hulled and sliced)|
|2 cups||unbleached all-purpose flour|
|1 cup||non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes)|
|2 tablespoons||ice water|
|1 large||egg (lightly whisked to blend)|
|1 1/2 teaspoons||distilled white vinegar|
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into an 11-inch round. Fit the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing the excess overhanging dough against the rim of the pan (to prevent the crust from slumping to the center when it bakes). Pierce the dough all over with a fork, and then chill for one hour.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Line the pastry dough with a piece of parchment or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes. Remove the pie weights and paper, and continue baking until the crust is golden, another 4 or 6 minutes. If the crust bubbles, press it down with the back of a spoon. Let the crust cool completely at room temperature.
Place the cornstarch in a medium-sized bowl and slowly whisk in the cream. Add the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla, and whisk to combine.
Meanwhile, place the vinegar in a saucepan and reduce over high heat to 1/4 cup. Add 3/4 cup of water, the sugar and the butter. Stir until the sugar and butter melt, then let the mixture reach a boil. Remove the vinegar mixture from the heat and very slowly whisk it into the egg mixture.
Transfer the egg and vinegar mixture to the saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until the custard thickens and boils, about 2 minutes. Let the custard cool to room temperature, then transfer it to the prepared pastry shell. Refrigerate the tart for at least 4 hours (or overnight, covered) before proceeding.
Arrange the strawberry slices to overlap each other, starting at the center of the tart and spiraling outward in concentric circles. Serve immediately, or cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chilled shortening. Using the back of a fork or a pastry blender, cut the cubes into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a small bowl whisk together the ice water, 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg, and the vinegar. Add this mixture to the flour, and toss with a fork or your fingers until the dough is moist and begins to clump together.
Gather the dough into a ball and cut it in half. Flatten each ball into a disk and wrap them separately in plastic. Refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days) before rolling out. The dough disks may also be frozen, if you wrap them tightly in plastic and then place them in airtight bags. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using.