I think one of my favorite things about summer is the strawberry season in Quebec. Sure the blueberries from Lac St-Jean are excellent, petite and bursting with flavor. The raspberries are also fantastic, firm with a slightly tart flavor. And though, when given the choice, I will almost always pick a raspberry dessert over a strawberry one, the strawberries are my favorite local summer fruit.
Quebec strawberries are completely different from the ones imported from California. They are much smaller, more flavorful, and they really ressemble what we picture a strawberry should look like. I especially love the little unripened baby strawberries that sometimes get mixed into a pint. Still attached to the branch, they are absolutely adorable and pale, but if you leave them in a semi-sunny area, they will actually ripen into the tiniest of tasty berries.
I love to bake with strawberries, but I also love to eat them raw. I think desserts that call for garnishing with sliced, fresh strawberries are the best way to use the precious Quebec strawberries. They are so flavorful that I sometimes feel it’s a bit of a sin to bake them because they loose a lot of their character.
This recipe was take from a magazine entitled Ricardo. It’s a Quebec magazine, published in French. Recently, I have found the issues to be more and more inspiring, and I fell in love with the latest magazine (Volume 9, number 6). I’m sure this cookie tart might have been the deal-breaker for me. What’s not to love about this recipe? A simple sugar cookie dough is pressed into a fluted tart pan and baked into a giant sugar cookie with crispy golden-brown edges. When the cookie is cooled, it is topped with whipped cream (in my case, I made a yoghurt cream that is to die for) and fresh berries (I opted for sugared strawberries with a little basil). Probably the hardest part is hulling and slicing the berries in half. This dessert is all about showcasing the flavor of the strawberries. I love the slight tang of the yoghurt cream that is nestled between the salty-sweet sugar cookie and the layer of sweet strawberries and basil.
A summer cookie tart topped with basil strawberries and yoghurt cream
- 110 g unsalted butter 1/2 cup, room temperature
- 40 g powdered sugar 1/4 cup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 140 g all-purpose flour 1 cup
- ~3 cups strawberries washed, hulled, and sliced in half
- 50 g granulated sugar 1/4 cup
- 5 –6 leaves basil chopped, plus more for garnish
- 250 mL whipping cream 1 cup, 35%
- 60 mL plain yoghurt 1/4 cup, 2.5%
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
For the cookie base
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar, with the salt and vanilla.
- On low speed, slowly add the flour. When the flour is mostly incorporated, increase the speed of the mixer until the ingredients come together to form a nice cookie dough.
- Press the cookie dough flatly and evenly into a fluted tart pan with removable bottom (you don’t want to have an edge. This should look like a giant cookie).
- Place the tart pan in the oven, and bake the cookie until the edges turn golden, about 20 minutes.
- Let the tart cool completely before unmolding onto a serving plate (I left the cookie on the tart pan base, but you don’t have to).
For the strawberries
- Mix the sliced strawberries with the sugar and basil in a medium bowl. Let them macerate while you prepare the cream.
For the yoghurt cream
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the yoghurt and the cream into soft peaks.
- Add the sugar, and continue whipping until the cream has reached the desired thickness.
- Spread the cream over the cooled cookie base, leaving a half-inch edge.
- Top with the macerated strawberries, and garnish with a few fresh basil leaves.