i find the last week of august to be the perfect timing for this recipe -- we're floating somewhere between closing out the season on summer's bounty of strawberries, and wanting to dive face first into all things fall - namely, pie crust. this recipe allows for a little bit of both.
i started this recipe with martha stewart's pate brisee pie crust, which has been my longstanding favorite. i like to add a little apple cider vinegar to the dough to prohibit those gluten string formations. i was originally using vodka, but i have better uses for good vodka. and we go through a lot of pie crust in a single season, i don't want to short our bar cart too heavily due to baking experiments.
for the crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 sticks of butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons ice water
in the bowl of a food processor, mix the flour, salt and sugar. pulse a few times to combine. add the chilled butter and pulse once more, until the butter is cut into fine pieces and distributed throughout the flour mixture. add in the apple cider vinegar, and then the water, one tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough holds together. gently remove from the food processor, wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
while the dough is chilling, make the strawberry filling:
for the strawberry jam:
1 container of strawberries (the usual one, not a small pint or a mondo box)
1/2 a lemon
1/8-/14 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
cut the tops off your strawberries, and cut each berry into quarters. toss into a medium saucepan along with 1/8 cup of sugar, and give that 1/2 lemon a good squeeze. cook over medium heat, stirring and smushing the berries to help them breakdown. when the berries have mostly boiled down, take a quick taste and add more sugar, to taste. then add the cornstarch and stir until thickened to jam-like consistency. remove from heat and set aside to cool.*
*the jam really needs to be cooled otherwise your tarts will become a big melty mess as you spread hot jam onto your pastry.
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup powdered sugar
strawberry jam from step above
when ready, remove your dough from the fridge and let sit for a couple minutes, until warm enough for you to roll out onto a lightly floured surface. preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat. roll put your dough into one large, evenly sized rectangle, and cut into smaller rectangles. place 1/2 of your rectangles onto the prepared baking sheet, spread a little bit of jam onto the center of each one (using less than you think you need!) and then take a second rectangle of dough, prick it a few times with your fork, and gently place over top of the first piece with the jam, and gently crimp the two edges together using the tines of your fork. repeat with your remaining rectangles.
brush each tart evenly with your egg wash (prepared by beating together your egg and the teaspoon of water.) then bake, at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes, until lightly golden brown. remove your tarts from the oven and let cool before applying your frosting. (you want the frosting to flow, but not totally melt off the tarts!) you can also see the edges of my tarts look a little crispy, that's where some of the jam flowed out during baking. i wiped as much excess as i could off while they were still warm.
to make the frosting, mix your powdered sugar with a tiny bit of the strawberry jam and milk until desired consistency is reached. you'll want your icing to be pretty thick, once you drop it onto the tarts, it will naturally spread toward the edges due to the convex shape of the pastries. you can also spread it around a little as needed. if your frosting gets too thick, add a tiny bit more milk, if it becomes too thin, add more sugar. top with rainbow sprinkles and enjoy!