My strawberry elderflower tart features sweet strawberries and tangy cream spiked with elderflower against a buttery pâte sucrée.
With the warm weather in San Diego, strawberry season starts a lot earlier than the rest of the country. It’s their sweet fragrance that draws me to the strawberries from Rodney Kawano Farm where we get a few pounds at a time. Coupled with the elderflowers from my garden I made a strawberry elderflower tart. The tart features sweet strawberries and floral cream spiked with elderflower against a buttery pâte sucrée.
- Elderflower cordial: edlderflower cordial or liqueur adds a wonderful floral note to drinks and desserts. My two favorite brands are St Germain and Belvoir Farm.
- Creme fraiche: creme fraiche is a popular French-style cultured cream. I added it to the whipped cream for a tangy flavor. My favorite brand for creme fraiche is Bellwetherfarms. You can find this brand at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Once in a while when I can’t find creme fraiche at the store, I use this homemade recipe from Splendid Table .
Tips for Making Pâte Sucrée
The tart starts with a pâte sucrée, or sweet French butter based pastry dough that can be used to make both sweet tarts and pies. A classic pâte sucrée is all about butter so use quality butter. Avoid shortening or lard.
- To get a flaky crust, keep your equipment and butter as cold as possible so the butter does not melt and becomes overworked. Handle the butter as little as possible with your hands to avoid melting it with your temperature.
- Slowly add in ice water, a tablespoon at a time. When mixing the wet ingredients into the dry, stop once it sticks together to form the cohesive dough. Use the least amount of water possible to avoid a soggy dough or creating too much gluten.
- Pat the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and chill it in the fridge for at least one hour before rolling out the dough. Letting it rest in the fridge allows the gluten to relax.
- Gently roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to keep from sticking. Carefully transfer dough to your tart pan and use your rolling pin and roll over the dough to trim the edges. You can also do this with a knife.
- Freeze the dough after being placed in the tart pan for another 30 minutes to make sure the butter stays solid and doesn’t melt into the flour. The oven’s heat will cause the tart layers to puff and resulting in a flakier crust.
- Well-wrapped dough can be stored in the fridge for up to about 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Tips for Baking the Crust
For this strawberry elderflower tart, blind-baking is required. Blind-baking is the process of baking a tart shell before it’s filled especially for pies with no-bake fillings like banana and cream, lemon meringue, or chocolate pudding. It’s a two step process that requires the crust to be filled with pie weights for the first bake. The pie weights help the crust keep its shape instead of slumping into a gloppy mess. If you don’t own pie weights, you can also use dried beans or rice.
On the second round, the pie weights are removed and crust baked until golden brown. You’re aiming for the color of golden brown to get the best texture and flavor. When in doubt, it’s better to slightly over-bake than under-bake. No one likes a soggy crust. The baked crust will keep at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 days.
How to Make the Filling
For the filling, simply whip the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Add in elderflower cordial and creme fraiche and beat for another minute until everything is combined. Taste the cream and add more sugar if you like it a bit sweeter. Refrigerate the cream mixture for at least 4 hours to let the flavor meld together. You can also make the filling the day before.
How to Assemble the Tart
Once all the components are ready, it’s a easy to put the tart together. Simply fill the pastry crust with spiked cream then top it off with sliced strawberries and garnish with fresh elderflowers. It is best eaten the day of but can be stored in the fridge for 48 hours.
This strawberry elderflower is a play on the classic combination of strawberries and cream. Bite into it and you get a light, tangy filling and sweet strawberries against a buttery crust. It's the perfect dessert to celebrate spring.
Strawberry Elderflower Tart
- 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons iced water
- 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup creme fraiche
- 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Combine the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Scatter the butter pieces on top and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.
- Add the egg yolk and pulse until incorporated.
- Pulse in the water, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to hold together. It will appear to be a bit crumbly but should come together easily.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and form the dough into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Roll the dough in between two sheets of parchment papers until you get about 11 inch diameter and ⅛ inch thickness.
- Lay the dough in the tart pan and press it firmly against the sides and bottom without stretching it.
- Roll rolling pin across the tart to trim the dough. You can also do this with a knife.
- Prick the bottom with a fork. Cover and freeze the dough in the pan for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line pastry crust with parchment paper and fill with baking weights (or uncooked rice or dried beans).
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
- Remove parchment paper and baking weights. Continue baking for another 10 minutes until golden brown for a fully baked shell. Let the tart shell cool completely.
- In a stand mixture with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to soft peaks in a with confectioners' sugar.
- Fold in creme fraiche and elderflower cordial. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- When ready to assemble, spread the cream mixture into the cooled pastry crust and top with strawberries. Garnish with fresh elderflowers.