Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Berries and Custard Tart

Berries and Custard Tart, Berry Tart, French Berry Tart, Pastry Cream Recipe, Butter Pastry Crust, Butter Pie Crust, Vanilla Bean Custard, Blind Baking Pie Crust, Food Styling, Food Photography
It's that time of year when fresh berries are plentiful, and what better way to enjoy them than scattered on top of a beautiful custard tart?  I used my long French tart pan for this tart, and the narrow, rectangular shape looks particularly elegant.  Of course, a round tart pan will do just fine, too.

We had snow for Easter here in Colorado, and we're expecting more in a few days, but in spite of the cold, it is still spring, and this fresh berry custard tart is the perfect cheery treat that everyone will love.

The base of the tart is a flaky, all-butter pastry crust that is "blind-baked" (baked without any filling inside), then cooled before you fill with custard.  The vanilla bean custard, or pastry cream, is so dreamy.  It's rich and creamy, thickened with egg yolks and corn starch, and finished with a bit of butter.  If you have any left over after filling your tart, serve it with more berries, or along side a wedge of cake or fruit crumble instead of ice cream.




Berries and Custard Tart, Berry Tart, French Berry Tart, Pastry Cream Recipe, Butter Pastry Crust, Butter Pie Crust, Vanilla Bean Custard, Blind Baking Pie Crust, Food Styling, Food Photography

Berries and Custard Tart, Berry Tart, French Berry Tart, Pastry Cream Recipe, Butter Pastry Crust, Butter Pie Crust, Vanilla Bean Custard, Blind Baking Pie Crust, Food Styling, Food Photography

Berries and Custard Tart, Berry Tart, French Berry Tart, Pastry Cream Recipe, Butter Pastry Crust, Butter Pie Crust, Vanilla Bean Custard, Blind Baking Pie Crust, Food Styling, Food Photography

Berries and Custard Tart, Berry Tart, French Berry Tart, Pastry Cream Recipe, Butter Pastry Crust, Butter Pie Crust, Vanilla Bean Custard, Blind Baking Pie Crust, Food Styling, Food Photography






After baking and cooling the crust, the custard is cooked on the stove, cooled for a bit, and then spooned into the crust and refrigerated to chill and set.  The most fun part is piling all the berries on top.  I used strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, and they all looked so beautiful together.  You can dust the top with a little powdered sugar if you like, but I kept mine plain.  The berries on their own already look gorgeous.

And although I topped my tart with berries, you can use all kinds of fresh fruit.  Make it exotic with mango and kiwi slices, or make a luscious stone fruit tart with fresh peaches and apricots.





Berries and Custard Tart, Berry Tart, French Berry Tart, Pastry Cream Recipe, Butter Pastry Crust, Butter Pie Crust, Vanilla Bean Custard, Blind Baking Pie Crust, Food Styling, Food Photography

Berries and Custard Tart, Berry Tart, French Berry Tart, Pastry Cream Recipe, Butter Pastry Crust, Butter Pie Crust, Vanilla Bean Custard, Blind Baking Pie Crust, Food Styling, Food Photography

Berries and Custard Tart, Berry Tart, French Berry Tart, Pastry Cream Recipe, Butter Pastry Crust, Butter Pie Crust, Vanilla Bean Custard, Blind Baking Pie Crust, Food Styling, Food Photography







Berries and Custard Tart
printable


Crust.
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling the dough)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg, yolk and white separated
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Custard.
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-3 cups assorted fresh berries, washed and dried

Crust.
Preheat the oven to 375.  Have ready a 5x14 rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom.  (Note that if you want to use a 9-inch round tart pan instead, you will have enough dough for the large pan, but you should increase the custard recipe by 1 1/2 - 2 times the amount for a fuller tart.  If you double the custard, you'll probably have a little leftover, which isn't a bad thing.  Serve it in jars with berries, or spoon it alongside a fruit crumble.)

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the pieces of butter are no bigger than peas.  Add the egg yolk and milk, toss with a fork to moisten, then turn out onto a clean surface and use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball.

On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.  Roughly fold into thirds, and then in thirds again, so that you have a neat little package of dough.  Flour your counter again and roll out the dough to between 1/4 - 1/8 inch thick, large enough to fit into your tart pan with a little overhang.  Fit the dough into the tart pan, pressing it firmly into the corners and around the edges; trim the top edge with a sharp knife. (Gather up the scraps, wrap in plastic, and freeze for another use.)

Brush the dough with the egg white, and lightly prick the bottom all over with a fork.  This is called "docking" the dough, and helps prevent it from puffing up too much while baking.  Freeze the crust for 20 minutes.  Fit a piece of parchment paper into the dough, then fill the paper with pie weights, or dried beans or rice.

Blind bake the crust on the center rack for 30 minutes.  Carefully remove the weights and the parchment paper, pressing down any bits of dough that stick to the paper.  Return the crust to the oven, and bake uncovered for another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and fully cooked through.  Cool the crust completely on a wire rack.

Custard.
In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, salt and corn starch.  Gradually whisk in the milk, making sure there are no lumps of corn starch, then whisk in the cream and egg yolks.

Cook the custard over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble and thicken, then whisk for one full minute on the heat before removing from the heat.  Whisk in the vanilla and butter.

Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, to remove any bits of cooked egg.  Cover with plastic wrap, resting right against the surface of the custard, and cool at room temperature for several hours.  Spread the custard into the crust, then chill for several more hours until thoroughly chilled and set.

Before serving, top the custard with fresh berries.

Yields 8 servings

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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