Strawberry Tart with Orange Cream
Cointreau is a well-known liqueur from western France, where it was first made more than a century and a half ago in the city of Angers. Colorless and with a strong, pleasing aroma, it has an exotic flavor that is a marriage of sweet orange peels from Spain and bitter orange peels from the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Although similar to triple sec, Cointreau is drier. You will find it sold in a distinctive square bottle with a bright red ribbon. A popular after-dinner liqueur, Cointreau is also often used as a flavoring ingredient, as in this tart recipe.
1 rolled-out round of tart dough
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
2 tsp. Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
1⁄2 cup apricot jam
Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom.
Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan.
Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during baking.
Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice.
Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil.
If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the weights and foil. Continue to bake until the shell is golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Mix in the orange zest and Cointreau.
Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the strawberry halves, overlapping them, in concentric circles on top of the cream cheese, completely covering the surface.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the apricot jam until it liquefies. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl.
Using a small pastry brush, gently brush the strawberries with a thin coating of jam.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Makes one 9-inch tart.
Basic Tart Dough
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. very cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside. To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together. To make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together. Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes. To roll out the dough, on a lightly floured board, flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick. Use a small, sharp knife to cut out a round or rounds 2 inches greater in diameter than your tart or larger tartlet pans. Use a small, sharp knife or a cookie cutter to cut out rounds 1/2 to 1 inch greater in diameter than your miniature tartlet pans. If using a rectangular tart pan, cut out a rectangle 2 inches larger on all sides than the pan. Makes enough dough for one 9 1/2-inch tart, six 4-inch tartlets, twelve 2-inch miniature tartlets or one 13 3/4-by-4 1/4-inch rectangular tart. Nut Dough Variation: Add 2 Tbs. ground toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts to the flour mixture and proceed as directed. Make-Ahead Tip: The tart dough may be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month. To freeze, place the dough round on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Alternatively, use the round to line a tart pan and wrap well.