Finns spend much of the summer at their country cottages, when both garden and wild strawberries are ripe. They serve uncomplicated foods, such as fish chowder made with freshly caught fish from the lake, raw vegetables, and a simply made strawberry pie such as this one.-The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, Beatrice Ojakangas
Sigh. Doesn't that quote make you want to pack your bags and head for a summer cottage in Finland? Maybe we can't do that today, but we can head into the kitchen and make this Finnish Strawberry Almond Tart and perhaps imagine ourselves in a quaint little cottage in Finnish lake country. I can see it now....afternoon coffee and this delicious treat at a little table near the shore of a secluded lake, wildlife all around. And our tart would be made with fresh, wild strawberries we foraged ourselves just that morning.
Fortunately for us daydreamy types, this recipe is incredibly simple to prepare and does not require any actual foraging (unless you choose to, of course!) I "foraged" for my strawberries in the local Hy-Vee produce section. And yet, this recipe is really something special. A sweet, almond dough surrounds vanilla scented strawberries, and it's all captured in a charming rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. I've made a lot of strawberry desserts in my time but this one is easily a favorite.
The method is simple: A pat-in-the-pan dough (no rolling), a filling of sweetened strawberries thickened with cornstarch and a crisp, crumbly topping that is actually just a reserved portion of the dough and sliced almonds. Into the oven for 45 minutes and out comes this gorgeous treat. It is best served warm, with coffee of course, on the day it is made, but I've had it for breakfast a day or two later and had no complaints. It softens slightly over time but is no way any less delicious.
Good food writing, and good food, has the ability to transport us to another time and space. Let this tart be your passport to Finland for the afternoon, to uncomplicated summer living at a cozy cottage by the lake. I'll meet you at that little bistro table down by the water for a steaming cup of coffee and a slice of this heavenly tart.
Finnish Strawberry Almond Tart
For the Crust:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter 1 stick, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon cold milk
For the Strawberry Filling:
- 1 pound fresh strawberries hulled and quartered
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ vanilla bean split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine flour, almond flour, sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Process briefly to combine. Sprinkle cubes of butter over the top and pulse until mixture has a sandy texture, approximately 12 pulses.
- With the machine running, add the milk through the feeder tube. Process until dough just begins to clump together in pieces. It will seem dry, but when you squeeze the dough in your hand it should stick together.
- Refrigerate the tart shell and the reserved dough for 30 minutes. (The crust can be prepared the day before. In that case, wrap the tart shell in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours).
- Meanwhile, prepare the Strawberry Filling. Combine all ingredients except almonds in a medium bowl. Set aside to macerate at room temperature while the dough continues to chill.
- Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Fill with the strawberry filling. Crumble the remaining dough over the top in small pieces and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
- Place tart pan on a sheet pan and transfer to the oven. Bake until the tart is golden brown and bubbly, 45-50 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting into slices and serving warm. This tart is best on the day it is made.