The Last Bite
Recipe and photography by David Santori
The sweet, heady smell of ripe strawberries waiting to be devoured on the counter in my kitchen reminds me how much I love to make fruit tarts and how much they remind me of home in France and summer.
Like the apricot tart my grandpa used to lovingly prepare for my brother and me when we came to see him for lunch or after school. Or the strawberry tart my dad always requests as a dessert for his birthday dinner. Or perhaps the cherries my grandma pitted carefully to prepare her famous clafoutis. I guess you could say summer fruits and tarts are une tradition de famille for me!
I’ve always been interested in making French desserts gluten-free ever since a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with a strong reaction to gluten and mourned the idea of having to give up French cakes and tarts. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed the process of creating new dough an crust recipes as well as cakes to put a smile back on his face and really experiment with new textures, flavors and consistency. It’s been quite fun.
So of course I wanted to share with you a tart I created a while back—updated and tweaked for this occasion. A soft, crumbly, buttery tart crust. Hints of mint and orange. Let me be very honest and already tell you that trying to resist eating a second piece is impossible. Une tarte vraiment délicieuse.
David Santori, on Instagram @frenchieyankee
Summer Strawberry Tart with Grand Marnier and Mint
Makes 1 (9-inch) tart
For the gluten-free crust
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon gluten-free oat flour
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
- 1 stick or 8 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
- 4–5 tablespoons iced water
For the strawberry purée
- 7 ounces strawberries, chopped
- 3 tablespoons blond cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
For the topping
- 16 ounces sliced strawberries
- ⅓ cup red currant jelly
- 1½ tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1½ tablespoons chopped mint
To prepare the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer sift the brown rice, oat and tapioca flours with the powdered sugar, xanthan gum and baking powder. Add the sea salt and mint and mix well on medium speed with the paddle blade.
Drop the butter cubes in the bowl and work until it becomes crumbly and sandy.
Drop the iced water in the bowl 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to come together and form a ball.
Flatten the ball, cover and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Using some of the tapioca flour to prevent sticking, roll out the dough to fill a 9-inch tart pan. Line the pan with the dough, pressing in the corners and sides, and trim it without any overhang.
This crust recipe does not leave much overhang. Leave the crust thick to absorb the strawberry juices as much as possible.
With a fork, make small holes over the entire surface of the bottom. Place the dough and tart pan back in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Prepare the purée in the meantime. In a small food processor, purée the strawberries, sugar and orange zest. The purée should stay chunky, not liquefied. Transfer the purée to a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the cornstarch, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Let the purée cool in a small bowl.
When the dough is ready, line the bottom of the tart with parchment paper and pie weights (or baking beads; dried beans work as well) and blind bake the dough for 10 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven, remove the parchment paper and the weights, and bake for another 10 minutes.
Pour the strawberry purée into the crust and return the pan to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the tart is cooling, prepare the topping.
Melt the jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
When it is melted, simmer for 3–4 minutes until it becomes a thicker and denser glaze and coats a spoon well.
Whisk the Grand Marnier in the glaze. Add the salt and stir again. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Slice the strawberries lengthwise and put them in a small bowl. Pour the glaze over the strawberries, add the chopped mint, stir delicately and make sure they are all coated.
Arrange the slices of strawberries neatly in a circle in the tart, starting from the outside and going in. Place the tart in the fridge until ready to be served. Keep the strawberry and glaze juice at the bottom of the bowl and drizzle a teaspoon or 2 on the plates upon serving slices.