Summer is the season for berries: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. I love berries right out of the container, in smoothies, made into jams and preserves and of course, pies!. While pies are wonderful, there is something particularly elegant about tarts. Creatively arranged, colorful, succulent fruit under a thin layer of preserves makes for an attractive dessert.
I came across a wonderful recipe for a berry tart on foodista.com. It's a four-part recipe: the crust, pastry cream, fruit topping and glaze. It's easy and the result is great! This is the second time I've made the tart. The first time, I used strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. This time, I used a combination of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. It's versatile enough to accommodate other fruits such as nectarines, kiwi and pineapple. All would work well with the pastry cream.
It also occurs to me that the recipe could easily be adapted for individual tartlettes. You get the idea. For those, you could easily mix and match the fruit. Maybe I'll try that next time.
1 ½ cups of flour
⅛ of a teaspoon of salt
½ cup of unsalted butter
¼ of a cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (beaten)
1 ¼ cups of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
¼ of a cup granulated sugar
⅛ cup of flour
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
¾ of a tablespoon of Grand Marnier, or water if you prefer
½ cup of apricot jam or perserves (We used raspberry-apricot perserves)
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, or water if you prefer
Fresh fruit for topping the tart:
3 cups of mixed fruit
and salt in separate, medium size bowl. Set aside.
With a hand mixer, beat butter until softened in large bowl.
Add sugar to butter,
beat until light & fluffy.
Add beaten egg,
until just incorporated.
Add flour mixture all at once, mix until dough forms a ball: do not over-mix.
Flatten into a disk,
cover in plastic wrap, & refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm (or overnight if making dough in advance).
Lightly press pastry into bottom & sides of pan.
Prick dough bottom with a fork to prevent dough from puffing up while baking, cover & refrigerate for 20 minutes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the center bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes until crust is dry & lightly golden brown.
In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix sugar & egg yolks
being careful not to let mixture sit too long to prevent pieces of egg from forming
Whisk flour & cornstarch together separately,
then add to egg mixture
until you have a smooth paste.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the milk
over medium heat until boiling. (Caution! The milk will foam up fast so watch carefully) Remove from heat & slowly add to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
Place back into saucepan & cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly
Once it is boiling, whisk for another 30 seconds until it thickens & is hard to stir. Add vanilla extract.
Remove from heat, immediately whisk in liquor if using.
Pour into clean bowl,
immediately cover with plastic wrap (to prevent crust from forming) & refrigerate until needed (can make up to three days in advance, beating to dissolve any lumps that may form).
Heat preserves & water (if using instead of liquor) over medium heat in a small saucepan until melted (liquid)
Remove from heat, add liquor (if using). Strain through a fine strainer to remove fruit chunks.
Let cool until warm, glaze the pastry crust.
Let the glaze on the pastry tart dry for 30 minutes
To assemble tart:
Place your hand under the middle of the tart pan, touching only the removable bottom (not the sides). As you push up, the tart ring will fall off, sliding down your arm. Gently transfer tart to serving dish or cake stand by sliding a knife between the tart & bottom of tart dish.
Spread pastry cream in tart dish
Arrange fruit however you please, trying to cover as much of the pastry cream as possible.
Reheat the extra glaze & brush the fruit with a light coat to create a shiny look
Serve immediately, or refrigerate (remove 30 minutes prior to serving to bring to room temperature).