Strawberry Brunch Tart with Thyme and Black Pepper

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Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

This is not a fancy tart. It’s not one of those gorgeous, fresh-fruit-and-custard puff pastry things that looks like a piece of art. I’ll make you one of those one of these days. Don’t get me wrong: Those are lovely, too. But, this…this is messy and delicious and is the kind of thing that you want to eat in the kitchen, sticky and standing up, because you just can’t wait.

The filling is light and fresh. The black pepper and thyme accent the sweetness of the berries and the jam.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Fresh thyme

The puff pastry is glazed with a basic egg wash, then dusted with sugar laced with ground cardamom.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

This tart is kind of runny when it comes out of the oven, but it sets up nicely as it cools in the fridge. The sauce thickens to a syrupy consistency. The whole thing is unbelievably light and crisp and kind of like a danish.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

If you wanted to firm the sauce up, you could whisk a little cornstarch into the apricot jam after microwaving.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Like I said, this tart is great on its own. Take it over the top with some fresh whipped cream and a pitcher of frosty mimosas.

Strawberry Brunch Tart with Thyme and Black Pepper

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced
3 Tbls. apricot jam
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
cracked black pepper

Makes 1 tart

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. About 20 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Strawberry Brunch Tart: Thaw the puff pastry

Set your puff pastry on the counter to thaw for 20-30 minutes.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

While you’re waiting for it to thaw, make the cardamom sugar and slice up the berries.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Strawberry Brunch Tart: Make the cardamom sugar

Cardamom sugar is just like cinnamon sugar, except made with cardamom instead. It’s super yummy, and this recipe makes a little more than you’ll probably need. Tuck it away to sprinkle on buttered toast or pancakes.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Put the sugar in a small bowl. Add the cardamom to it.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

With a fork or a whisk, mix the cardamom and sugar together until they’re evenly combined.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Set that aside while you deal with the berries.

Strawberry Brunch Tart: Slice and mix the berries

Put the apricot jam in a small bowl. Zap it in the microwave for maybe 20 seconds, to loosen it up oh-so-slightly. (No microwave? Heat it in a small pot over a very low flame for a minute or so, stirring until it breaks down.)

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

It should sort of liquify and look more jelly-like, like this, without getting too hot.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Slice up your strawberries and put them in a medium-sized bowl.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Pour the apricot jam over the strawberries.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Stir to coat the strawberries in apricot jam.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Toss in the thyme and the freshly cracked black pepper.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Stir to combine well. Set aside while you roll out the puff pastry.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Strawberry Brunch Tart: Prep the puff pastry

Lightly flour a board or your counter. If you have it, a slab of marble or granite is great for rolling out puff pastry, because it stays cold and will help keep it from sticking.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Unfold the puff pastry and roll it out a little to flatten it and seal any seams. This is a fairly rustic tart, so don’t make yourself nuts trying to roll it into a perfect square or rectangle.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Crack an egg into a bowl.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Whisk it with a fork to scramble it well.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

With a pastry brush (or your fingers), spread the beaten egg along each edge of the puff pastry.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Fold one edge over about three-quarters of an inch or so.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Repeat with the other three sides, so that your puff pastry looks like it has a picture frame around it.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Brush the edges with beaten egg.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Sprinkle the whole thing (edges + center) with cardamom sugar.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Strawberry Brunch Tart: Fill and bake

Heap the strawberry mixture onto the center of the puff pastry. (Normally, with puff pastry, you’d prick the center of the pastry several times with a fork to keep it from poofing up in the oven. Do this if you like, but I’ve found that the weight of the berries will keep the pastry down in the middle.)

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Keep the berries in the center, off the folded border that you made.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Don’t worry if you’ve piled them up high. They’ll shrink when they bake.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Pop the pan into your preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

It’s done when the edges have poofed up and have turned golden brown. The berries will cook down, but will still hold their shape.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

When it’s done, yank the pan out of the oven. Let it cool for about 5 minutes on the pan.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Then slide it off onto a wire rack to cool.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Strawberry Brunch Tart: Cool the tart

If you can bear to wait, let it cool to room temperature on the counter, then pop it into the fridge to chill completely. (This will help the filling set up a little.)

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

To serve, slice into fat wedges. Devour at will.

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

Enjoy!

Strawberry Brunch Tarte with Thyme and Black Pepper at The Hungry Mouse

 

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

39 COMMENTS

  1. that is a pretty looking tart, messy and sticky pastries I find are always the best ones to have.

    I have a question though, what exactly does the black pepper do for the tart flavor wise? I couldn’t imagine adding it to fruit hehehe

    • Awww, thanks. πŸ˜€ Totally agree about loving sticky pastry.

      OK, so the black pepper gives it just a little spice. I love it in combination with the cardamom…think chai tea. Same kind of thing (though chai tea will have many more spices).

      xo
      +Jessie

  2. Oh Jessie. I think I should just follow suit with you EVERY DAY. Your taste definitely follows suit with mine! This is another recipe of yours that I HAVE to make!

  3. Hi Jessie,
    This looks delicious, and I can’t wait to try it out, but do you have any good substitutes for the apricot jam? Despite how tasty they are and how much we love them, my mom and I are horribly allergic to apricots and their relatives.

    • Heya Stevie,

      Thanks for stopping by! Oh, I’ll bet peach jam would be really good if it would be safe for you guys. Or even strawberry jam. Let me know what you guys try!

      +Jessie

  4. The gorgeous photo caught my eye, Jessie, but the thing that turned me into Pavlov’s salivating dog was the pepper and the thyme. Adding herbs and spices to sweet dishes [particularly baked goods] gives them a wonderful complexity that the sweets alone just don’t have. I get this same intriguing depth in my hazelnut rosemary jam cookies.

    • Thanks! Definitely make the cardamom sugar–even if you don’t make the tart. It’s great on all sorts of stuff. I especially like it as a substitute for cinnamon sugar on toast.

      +Jessie

  5. This one left me scratching my head. Black Pepper in a desert?
    I guess I learn daily!

    Bloomin sublime – specially if you can hand-pick your strawberries!!

    Jessie – do you grow your own herbs???

    Gabi @ mamaliga.

    • Oh, Gabi! Try it! It’s SO good! πŸ˜€ Hehehee….

      I do normally grow my own herbs (basil, thyme, chives, lavender, mint, and tarragon…). Not sure if I’m up for a big garden this summer. How about you?

      +Jessie

  6. I love the flavors in this. Strawberris and thyme are a classic combo, and puff pastry is one of the world’s greatest inventions. I am likely going strawberry picking tomorrow, so I hope I have some berries left from jam making to make this tart!

  7. i was just looking at my spice rack, and i think cardamom might be the only spice on there that i haven’t opened yet. now i will HAVE to try this. thanks for posting this delicious looking recipe!

  8. I just made this tart for dessert tonight, with a slight modification. I did not have apricot jam on hand so I used a strawberry jam that I made last summer, and mmmmmm…..mmmmmmm……mmmmmmmm. Delicioso! The ground black pepper and thyme were amazing with the strawberries. I cannot wait to try it with peaches. Not that I want to hurry summer, but……………….

  9. Great work! Great comments.
    Learned about the pepper a few years ago…when ground fresh over strawberries that have macerated in 1 tsp of the best Balsamic Vinegar.
    Perhaps a splash would cause a different sensation. (Pun intended)

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