The strawberry filling was scrumptious, to say the least. It was sweet and refreshing, and I couldn't stop spooning it in. I even managed to convince myself that because it was primarily fruit, it had tons of vitamins and I had every reason to stuff myself with it!
The only downside is that the filling is a bit too loose and my tart crust was soaked with it. I amended the cornstarch quantity below to make a filling with more viscosity. I think that no matter how thick the filling is, the tart should be served no more than 4 hours after it has been assembled, or the crust would lose its crunchiness. It should be possible to make the individual components in advance and assemble the tart at the last minute. (Chill the strawberry filling first and you wouldn't need to wait for an extra 2 hours.)
Oh yes the almond tart crust? The kitchen smelled wonderful while it was baking. Please bear in mind though that it is a bit more crumbly than your usual crusts and more prone to moisture.
Fresh Strawberry Tart with Balsamic Drizzle
I scaled the quantities of each component down to make one 4 inch tart and one 3 inch tart but I shall give the full original quantities here.
For the almond cinnamon tart crust:
This makes enough for a 9 inch pie crust so there should be more than enough for a 9 inch tart crust. I adapted this recipe slightly from Hungry Rabbit, omitting the lemon zest and adding ground cinnamon instead. The great thing about this dough is that it's gluten-free, so more people can join in the sharing and there's close to zero chance that you will overwork the dough. The not so good thing is that because there's very little butter in the dough, it won't release very easily from the pan after baking like normal crusts do. Hence, it is essential that you butter your pan before using.
2 3/4 cup ground almonds
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and diced
1 large egg
Add all the ingredients except the butter and egg in a food processor and pulse until just combined. Add the butter and pulse until a sandy crumbly mixture is formed. Add the egg and pulse until just fully incorporated and until a dough is formed. Pat the dough into a lightly buttered or oiled tart pan, use a fork to poke some holes in the crust and chill for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and fragrant. Make sure to check on the crust halfway through the baking time to see if it's browning too quickly. If it is, cover loosely with aluminum foil. If the crust is puffing up, tamp it down with the back of a spoon. For smaller tarts, 10 to 15 minutes should do the trick. Allow the crust to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding it onto a wire rack. Let the crust cool completely before filling.
For the filling:
1 quart (about 2 pounds) fresh strawberries, hulled
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Chop half of the strawberries finely in a food processor or by hand. Place the chopped berries in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until their juices are released and bubbling. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl and add into the saucepan. Add the lemon juice as well and cook on low heat until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
Slice the remaining strawberries into halves if they are large. Leave smaller ones whole if you wish. Mix them into the cooked strawberry mixture. Pour the entire mixture into a bowl to cool before filling the tart.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
Heat the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil. Let it reduce until syrupy (when about 2 tbsp left)- the balsamic should cling to the back of your spoon. Be careful not to reduce it too much though! It will continue to thicken off the heat.
Fill the tart with the strawberry mixture and chill until completely cold, about 2 hours. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction.