Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 17th June 2011

I’ve made this Crostata di Fragole con Crema Pasticcera e Chantilly, Strawberry Tart, with Pastry Cream lightened with freshly Whipped Cream} twice in the last two days.  It’s quite unfortunate that I’ve not been able to enjoy a slice of the assembled Crostata.

A photo of an Italian Dessert, Crostata di Fragole con Crema Pasticcera e Chantilly {Strawberry Tart} displayed on a white cake stand.

My misfortune began Wednesday afternoon.  The day started quietly but by noon the house could be compared to Grand Central Station during rush hour.  The telephone wouldn’t stop ringing and my afternoon appointment was late.  Within minutes of her arrival I also had an unexpected guest (Mom) arrive, the pharmacy delivery man arrived, a package was delivered (the doorbell ringing started to drive me mad because both dogs were barking incessantly) and Liana returned home with strawberries that were less than perfect (out you go to get me beautiful, fresh strawberries please!).

A photo of a baked Pasta Frolla tart shell and a bowl of fresh strawberries on a dark wooden board.

Why did I decide to blind bake my pastry shell through this chaos?  It’s a question I’ve asked myself more than once over the last couple of days because it’s set off a comedy of errors.

Of course I forgot to line my shell with baking paper and fill it with weights – I’m sure you can imagine what my tart shell looked like and if you can’t – just picture a pizza crust – flat and did I mention my beautiful sides? – All gone!

A photo of a Crostata pastry shell made using Pasta Frolla coated with Grand Marnier-Apricot Glaze.

I set out to remake my pastry dough, measured all my ingredients and popped them into the freezer to chill.  Coffee with Mom and an Amaretti tutorial later my ingredients were beautifully chilled and ready to be transformed into smooth Pasta Frolla (short sweet pastry).  Pop the Amaretti cookie dough in the fridge and it’s time to begin my pastry shell process all over again.  Process, roll, and press – back to the freezer to chill.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening, pastry shell is cooling; it’s time to prepare the glaze.  And it’s finally time to assemble my Crostata (I was starting to think I would never get to this point).  The house is quiet, I pour myself a glass of wine (to calm my nerves from the hectic day), load the current MasterChef Australia episode and I begin to coat the bottom of the tart with the tastiest Apricot Glaze that I spiked with Grand Marnier.

A photo of fresh strawberries displayed on a wooden board to be used in a Italian Dessert, Crostata di Fragole.

I’m thoroughly enjoying my glass of wine, watching MasterChef as my glaze is setting and then it’s time to layer the Crostata with Crema Pasticcera (Italian pastry cream).  When I get to this step I’m usually praying I have enough to fill the tart because I have a bad habit of stealing a spoon here and there (resisting the urge to eat the whole bowl, it’s so creamy, is very difficult for me!).  Thankfully it’s just enough.

I am such a perfectionist that it takes me quite a while to slice and arrange the strawberries but it’s now time to glaze.  Glazing is done, and then it immediately dawns on me that I forgot to place the pastry shell on my cake stand before I started to assemble the crostata. Instantly enveloped with fear, I attempted to carefully transfer the crostata to the cake stand.  But I knew deep inside this wasn’t going to be good, I just knew that crostata wasn’t going to make it to the stand in one piece.  Guess what? It didn’t!  The tears started rolling, arms up in the air and I remember thinking “Why me?”

A photo of an Italian Fruit Tart filled with Crema Pasticcera and topped with fresh strawberries coated with a Grand Marnier-Apricot Glaze.

Here we go again, measure ingredients; back to the freezer to chill.  Thursday morning I begin the pastry shell process all over again – pastry shell day two – a success. Thursday evening – time to assemble crostata once again.  But this time I transfer the pastry shell to the cake stand before I begin assembling. Assembling crostata – day two – success. Take a few photos and then I decide to place the crostata in the freezer to chill for a few minutes to ensure a perfectly cut slice for photographing.

Very carefully I set out to take the assembled tart to the freezer.  I wasn’t taking any chances so I asked Liana to open the door for me and to also open the freezer door.  Of course as luck would have it I needed to move a few things to make room for the crostata.  Liana said, “Mom I’ll hold the tart while you make room”.  And then the unthinkable happened, again!  The crostata went flying!  And that’s not all that went flying; a few choice words did too.  Water works – day two.  Can you believe it?

A photo of a Strawberry Tart with Pastry Cream lightened with Whipped Cream and topped with fresh Strawberries and coated with a thin layer of Apricot Glaze, displayed on a white cake stand with dessert dishes, dessert forks and red napkins.

You know that feeling you get inside when you go out for dinner and you spot a scrumptious treat on the dessert menu and you almost race through your meal because you can’t wait to dive into that delicious dessert?  That’s the feeling I had when preparing this crostata, only I’ve been anticipating this dessert since preparing it for my niece’s bridal shower on Sunday.

A photo of an Italian Cake, Torta di Fragole made with a Hazelnut Pasta Frolla and filled with Crema Pasticcera, topped with fresh strawberries and a thin coating of Grand Marnier-Apricot Glaze.

Crispy hazelnut pastry, creamy, flavourful vanilla crema pasticcera, juicy, sweet strawberries topped with an amazing apricot glaze with hints of orange – oh how I wanted to indulge in a slice or two.

Crostata di Fragole con Crema Pasticcera e Chantilly – day three – coming up!

A photo of an Italian Dessert, Crostata di Fragole con Crema Pasticcera e Chantilly {Strawberry Tart} with a Grand Marnier-Apricot Glaze.

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Crostate, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci alla Frutta, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fruit Desserts, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Pies & Tarts, Recipes, Ricette di Base

Comments (25)

25 Responses to “Strawberry Tart-Crostata di Fragole con Crema Pasticcera e Chantilly”

  1. Paula at Dishing The Divine Says:

    these are beautiful! Reminds me of the strawberry cream cheese tart that I ate for dessert last night! Sooooo tasty!

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Oh my goodness! You poor thing, what a nightmare! I hope you get to enjoy a slice of your third tart because it looks absolutely beautiful and I’m sure it tastes just as good!

  3. Grace Says:

    Kathryn I am going to make sure I do, if I have to secure to the dish I will.

  4. Grace Says:

    Paula I am so jealous!!! Your tart looks amazing, loving the ganache layer.

  5. Lauren at Keep It Sweet Says:

    Oh my, I can’t believe you had to make this three times! I probably would have eaten the broken tart off the floor to console myself. The finished product looks amazing, though!

  6. Julia Says:

    Wow, looks great! I know what’s going to be cooking in my kitchen this weekend! I’m so glad your dessert finally turned out right, you poor thing! Fantastic photography, by the way!

  7. Grace Says:

    Lauren believe me when I say I almost did just that, can you believe it? I’ve had such bad luck in the last month with cakes. My luck better turn soon.

  8. Tiffany Says:

    What a beautiful dessert! Perfect now that strawberries are in season!

  9. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel Says:

    I love strawberries so I’d have to buy double the amount to make something like this or they’d never make it to the finished dessert! Looks fantastic.

  10. Julia @ DimpleArts Says:

    The Strawberry Tart look incredible. The photo is so crisp, it’s almost like it’s on my table.

  11. The Cilantropist Says:

    Wow making this sounds like it was quite the ordeal, but you persevered! It is absolutely stunning, and the perfect way to enjoy perfect berries. :)

  12. cooking rookie Says:

    Yet another amazing cake :-)

  13. Marla Says:

    Grace this is such a gorgeous presentation. I love all of those fresh strawberries :)

  14. Sara Says:

    This is one of the first desserts I’ve learnt to make as a teenager! Your crostata is so beautiful! I’m glad you kept going despite the messy days!

  15. Jeanette Says:

    Oh Grace, I can only imagine, another flying dessert! I think you need to bootstrap your masterpieces to the cakeplates! Despite all the mishaps, your final product, this beautiful Strawberry Tart, is stunning!

  16. Lynn Says:

    Hello, love the recipes and the photography! I’d like to make a 32 cm version of this dish…..how do i recalulate the ingredients to ensure i have enough pastry? Oh and would there be a longer cooking time?

    cheers
    Lynn

  17. Grace Says:

    Hi Lynn – You will have enough Pasta Frolla to do the 32-cm tart, you should have enough to do a few small tarts as well or you can freeze the remaining pasta. I would probably add another 3 to 5 minutes baking time. You’ll have enough pastry cream as well.
    Enjoy!

  18. Marly Says:

    What a bad couple of days! Well, I’m glad you persevered because look what you have to show for it – a beautiful tart…and a fun story!

  19. Lynn Says:

    Thanks very much Grace. Appreciate you geting back to me so quickly. Hopefully it’ll turn out well…it’s a surprise for my mother’s birthday.

  20. Grace Says:

    Happy Birthday to your Mom Lynn – Hope it’s a great day!

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