Strawberry-Marshmallow Tart

Strawberry tart is one of the first thing I learned how to make by watching my mom work her magic in the kitchen when I was a little kid but it’s only a few years later in cooking school that I realized the important techniques at work. Every step of the way from making a good pâte sucrée, to knowing when and how to roll it, how long to bake it, making the right kind of crème pâtissière, picking the right fruits and the whole aesthetic aspect of it are important to make this simple-looking tart a success. And it has to look good. We eat with our eyes first, don’t we?

The techniques involved in making a strawberry tart are so important in fact that I was asked to make one in front of judges as part of my cooking exams in Paris. It’s one of those recipes they love to test the candidates on because of the number of things that can go wrong, in which case they judge the student’s ability to troubleshoot his own mistakes. I nearly passed out when another student took my dough by mistake and I was left with a soft, unworkable mess instead. I practiced CPR and rescued it – somehow.

I like to garnish this tart with strawberry marshmallows, because it’s fun, it’s looks good, and it adds another element of surprise. This is the recipe I use. Follow it to the letter for the best results.

  • Strawberry-Marshmallow Tart

  • Serves 8
    • For the pâte sucrée (enough for 2 tarts):
    • 2 3/4 cups + 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
    • a large pinch of salt
    • For the crème pâtissière:
    • 3 cups milk
    • 2 vanilla beans
    • 8 egg yolks
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • For the topping:
    • 2 pints strawberries
    • apricot jam for glazing
    • strawberry marshmallows
    • fresh mint leaves
    • For the tart crust:
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook sift together the flour, sugar and salt.
    • Scatter around the cold butter chunks on top of the flour and combine on medium speed until you have a coarse meal. Meanwhile, stir the yolks and cream together in a small bowl. Add it to the mixture and mix until it forms a dough.
    • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least for an hour.
    • When ready, line a greased 9 inch tart ring with half the dough and chill for 30 minutes. Keep the rest for another use.
    • Preheat oven to 375′F. Line the dough with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights, dry rice or beans.
    • Bake for 15 minutes then remove the aluminum + weights and return the tart to the oven for 15 minutes more, or until golden brown.
    • Let the tart shell cool on a rack.
    • For the crème pâtissière:
    • Split the vanilla beans in half and scrap the beans, combine the beans and the pods with the milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar until light colored, then whisk in the cornstarch.
    • Slowly pour the hot milk over the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens and starts boiling. Discard the vanilla beans (or use to make vanilla sugar).
    • Cool the mixture on ice. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the pastry cream. When just warm, whisk in the butter until fully incorporated. Cool completely.
    • The pastry cream will get quite firm. Before filling the tart, process it in a Kitchenaid to obtain the right creamy consistency.
    • For the strawberry topping:
    • Process the pastry cream in a food processor to get the right consistency. Fill the tart shell with it and smooth the top.
    • Clean and cut the strawberries in halves. Arrange them on the pastry cream. Meanwhile, melt some apricot jam with a little water in a small saucepan until you obtain a syrupy consistency. Glaze the strawberries with this syrup and garnish the top with strawberry marshmallows and fresh mint leaves.
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  • http://www.fuzzfreefood.blogspot.com Lilly

    That looks soooo good! Lovely tart and the strawberries looks so fresh!

  • Hester

    This looks absolutely divine :-)   I love tarts with a wonderful crust and creme filling. 

  • http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com Kelly

    Wow this tart looks absolutely gorgeous!!  Did I mention delicious too?!? :)

  • http://devourtheworld.com jenjenk

    I have to say, i love your recipe for pate sucree! [yes, even *I* can do it!]. I need to make this – we’ve got fabulous strawberries here in LA…and we’re almost at the end of our season!

  • my fudo

    wow this tart is beautiful, I’ll try it out but I know mine won’t turn out great like yours. Lovely photos

  • http://littlehungryheart.blogspot.com/ Pierre

    Love the marshmallow touch, brings back all the childhood within. Definitely a great texture to ponder on too!

  • http://web20social.com/user/history/tilecleaning/ Keri Tipps

    I do believe this information is excellent. Great advice. I do believe others will agree.

  • Anonymous

    This recipe for pate sucree is a little different from my regular one. You should try it! 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Pierre!

  • Julia Mestas

    Incredible.  No really, the pictures, I can’t stop staring!!!  Marshmallows on a tart, with strawberries.  AWESOME!

  • http://rachelsdigestif.com Rjennae

    ooo this intrigues me!  love the colors and photos!

  • http://www.katherinemartinelli.com Katherine Martinelli

    This looks absolutely stunning!! Love the addition of marshmallow!

  • http://wildeinthekitchen.blogspot.com Vicki @ WITK

    This is such a beautiful tart, I think it would make quite an impression at a dinner with friends.  Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Tresdelicious

    Oh my…what an elegant, colorful and delectable fruity tart. I can’t wait to try it.

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    I’ve been searching lately for a knock-out pate sucre recipe and I am betting that yours is a killer!  I remember my boys (aged 6,8, and 10 at the time) making a strawberry tart in a special class at Le Cordon Bleu when I was a student there.  They were so proud, and while their creations weren’t as beautiful as yours, they were quite delicious. – S

  • http://vanillasugarblog.com vanillasugarblog

    zen man!!! you’re back!
    did you have fun?
    i bet it was nice to be away from the humidity of NYC?
    there are marshmallows on your tart “french” man

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Steven! Making tarts is a nice (and delicious) family occupation. Let me know if you like this pate sucree recipe.

  • Anonymous

    I knowww. I’m so Americain now! :)
    Summer was busy but I finally got a little break. 

  • Jun

    I tried making creme patissiere last week, but instead of pouring milk into egg, I did the other way around and add flour right at the end. I ended up with grainy cream. Will try again this weekend. Lovely, lovely shots

  • Joy

    I guess this explains why youre one of my favorites — with your elegant and beautiful propensity towards food you’re still playful and humorous enough to throw marshmallows on top.  I’m crushin’ over here Zen :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002764599629 Rafaela Rivera

    I wish I could afford to hire you. Gonna ask my mom to do this for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=767180363 Ana Anastassia

    I had to swap the apricot jam with fig jam because my partner is allergic to apricot… and i mess up the creme patisserie because it ended up being really soft and collapsed (oops), we scooped it up and ate it in a bowl and it was still beyond yummy and satisfied my sweets craving last week. 

    Thank you for these wonderful recipes.

  • Johndrake29

    I refrigerated the dough wrapped in plastic for 24 hours. Now it’s sort of hard. Can it still be used somehow?

  • Zenchef

    Yes, just let it come back to room temperature before rolling. The leftover dough can be frozen for future use.

  • Johndrake29

    Thanks! Also my tart ring is a loose bottom ring, would that work fine?

  • Zenchef

    Those are perfect!

  • Johndrake29

    My dough sort of falls apart when I’m rolling it for some reason. Just to be sure, 8 ounces of cold butter as in weight, not 8 fluid ounces right?

  • Anonymous

    8 ounces as in weight, that’s right. It takes a little practice if you’ve never roll a dough before but keep at it and patch it if it falls apart. It won’t show once it’s baked. 

  • Johndrake29

    It was a HUGE hit! Thanks for this awesome recipe. Mine doesn’t look as great, but I think it still looks pretty good: http://i.imgur.com/7eEDY.jpg

  • Anonymous

    Congrats, John! It looks great. And remember that practice makes perfect.