So you already know that I love a good tart. I think I’ve been open about my love of pastry cream, as well. This week, I’ve combined both and added fresh, dazzling fruit for this fabulous Summer dessert. Not surprisingly, my kids love pastry cream, too. And who can blame them– it’s virtually a custard or pudding. As for the berries, now is the time to really start using them in dishes like this– they’re fresh and full-flavored.
Most sources recommend freezing an unbaked tart shell in the tart pan– to be baked right before you assemble the dish. If you do this, the dough can be kept frozen for up to two months, and refrigerated up to five days. Keep in mind, if you bake it right before serving, you must make sure the crust is completely cooled before filling with the pastry cream and berries. On hot days like we’ve had for much of the past month, I like to actually bake the tart shell ahead of time, wrap tightly and freeze it. It’ll last for a few days that way. This allows me to bake at night (or early morning) when the stifling heat of the day has dropped a bit. When I’m ready to fill it with pastry cream and berries, I take it out of the freezer and thaw– it really doesn’t take long. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Classic Berry Tart
2 pints of berries, use your favorites
1 9 – inch tart shell made with this Sweet Tart Dough
Lemon Pastry Cream:
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup blackberry jam
1 teaspoon lemon juice
To bake the crust: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the side of the pan, using all but one little piece of the dough, which you should save in the refrigerator in case the tart needs to be patched after it is baked. Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and press against the tart. Freeze the crust for 30 minutes before baking. Leave the foil on the tart and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is a beautiful, deep golden brown. If the tart has a crack and needs to be patched — apply the extra dough and bake for just two minutes.
To make the pastry cream: Bring the milk and lemon zest to a boil in a sauce pan.
Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch. Still whisking, slowly add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk — this will temper the yolks, so they won’t curdle. Still whisking, slowly add the rest of the hot milk. Put the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously and constantly. Make sure to get the edges of the pan, too. Bring to a boil. Keep at a boil for 1-2 minutes, or whenever it appears to be thick enough. Remove from heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are completely incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate until cold. Or, if you need it cooled more quickly than that, place the bowl of cream into a larger bowl filled with ice and water. Stir the pastry cream until cold, around 20 minutes.
To make the glaze: Bring the jam and lemon juice to a boil. Using a pastry brush or paper towel, dab the glaze onto the fruit. Feel free to drizzle it onto the pastry cream, as well. This tart is best eaten the day it is made, but leftovers can be loosely covered and refrigerated. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from my home to yours
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