The key ingredient in this recipe–outside of luscious, red-ripe strawberries–is Cointreau.
Cointreau is a well-known liqueur from western France, where it was first made more than a century and a half ago in the city of Angers. Colorless and with a strong, pleasing aroma, it has an exotic flavor that is a marriage of sweet orange peels from Spain and bitter orange peels from the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Although similar to triple sec, Cointreau is drier.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma
- 1 rolled-out round of tart dough
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 2 teaspoons Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
- 1⁄2 cup apricot jam
- 1 Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan. Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during baking.
- 2 Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
- 3 Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Continue to bake until the shell is golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- 4 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Mix in the orange zest and Cointreau. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the strawberry halves, overlapping them, in concentric circles on top of the cream cheese, completely covering the surface.
- 5 In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the apricot jam until it liquefies. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl. Using a small pastry brush, gently brush the strawberries with a thin coating of jam. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Makes one 9-inch tart.