Ina Garten’s Easy Strawberry Tarts Recipe Is an Elegant Barefoot Contessa Dessert

Ina Garten has the best way to include fresh fruit in a dessert — her strawberry tarts are individual-sized treats that include berries and decadent pastry cream. Find out how to make the Barefoot Contessa star’s easy dessert.

Ina Garten poses with one of her cookbooks in 2018
Ina Garten | Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Ina Garten’s strawberry tarts were inspired by trips to Paris

While demonstrating how to make her strawberry tarts recipe on Barefoot Contessa, Garten shared where she got the inspiration for the delicious dessert.

“When Jeffrey and I go to Paris, all we want to do, immediately, is have French bread and French pastries,” she explained. “French bread is really hard to make the same here — but fruit tarts, they can be really good. So I’m going to treat Jeffrey with strawberry tarts.”

Garten begins by making the pastry first, combining flour, sugar, salt, butter, and shortening in a food processor, pulsing the mixture until the butter is the size of peas. She adds ice water and continues to process the mixture until the dough comes together.

Garten offers a pro-tip when it comes to the ingredients: “You want to start with really, really cold ingredients. It makes a really flaky pastry.” Garten ensures everything is very cold by freezing the flour, sugar, and salt before adding them to the food processor.

She uses butter and shortening in the pastry for both texture and flavor. “That way you get the flavor of the butter but the flakiness of the vegetable shortening,” Garten said.

While making the dough, Garten reassures that it’s not as complicated to make as you’d think. “I don’t know about you, but I always think pastry is terrifying,” she said. “It’s not that hard though.”

Garten places the dough on a floured surface, forms it into a ball, wraps it in plastic, and chills it.

Ina Garten makes an easy decadent pastry cream

Garten has some tips for making the perfect sweet pastry cream for the strawberry tarts. She begins by heating milk in a saucepan so that it’s scalded but not boiling. Garten beats together egg yolks and sugar “so they’re really, really thick, then adds cornstarch and the scalded milk while the mixer is on low speed.

The Barefoot Contessa star places the mixture in the pan, stirring it until it thickens and then uses a whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients. She adds vanilla extract and cognac, as well as butter and heavy cream. cooking to thicken the mixture.

“The good news is you can make it in advance and keep it in the refrigerator,” she explained before pouring it through a sieve to ensure it was lump free. She covers and chills the pastry cream while baking the pastry.

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Ina Garten assembles the strawberry tarts

After rolling the dough to fit 4 tart pans measuring 4 ½ inches, Garten advises not to stretch the dough as you’re placing it in the pans because it will shrink in the oven. “I learned that the hard way,” she shared.

Garten runs a rolling pin along the top of each pan to remove the excess dough, then lines each tart with a piece of butter-side down aluminum foil. Garten adds dried beans and bakes the tart shells for 10 minutes in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven, then removes the bean and foil, pricks the bottom of each pastry with a fork, and continues to bake them for 15 to 20 minutes.

After the tart shells cool, Garten fills them with the pastry cream and layers the strawberries on the top of each tart. She glazes each dessert by brushing them with a mixture of melted apricot jelly and water, and adds a sprinkle of pistachios.

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.