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A berry fruit tart…berries, silky smooth vanilla bean pastry cream, and a lemon shortbread crust equals absolute heaven in your mouth! The weather has finally warmed up for us after a snowy and blustery start to spring in the Chicagoland area. Last Friday was the perfect day to host a few friends for lunch on my patio and enjoy the beautiful weather. My girlfriends that joined me for lunch are my good friends and bus stop buddies. They are both two amazing moms. One a mom to three boys full of energy and always on the go to sports, the other a mom to 4 kids between the ages of 5-7 with a set of twins in the mix! These ladies deserved a day in the sun!
To treat my friends to something extra special, I made this beautiful, delicious, and refreshing berry fruit tart. This tart is simple to put together, and can be done ahead of time. It is sure to make whomever you are making this for feel blessed and extra special! As I was preparing this berry fruit tart, I thought that it would also be a wonderful dessert for Mother’s Day! All of the prep work can be done the day before. You can bake the crust a day ahead of time. The pastry cream can be made up to two days ahead of time and only takes about ten minutes to make. The fruit can be prepped one day in advance. This tart is also very versatile. You can use whatever fruit you prefer. It would work well with chocolate pastry cream and strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream on the top!
I used this rectangular tart pan
You can also use this round tart pan
Berry Fruit Tart
½ cup (8 tablespoons) soft butter
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
3-4 strawberries sliced into quarters
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1 tsp water
To make the crust:
1. Beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and salt.
3. Using your hands, press the crust into the bottom and up sides of a 9″ to 10″ round tart pan or a 1 inch deep 14 x 5 inch rectangular tart pan. Use a fork to prick the dough all over. Freeze for 30 minutes (or longer), covered. Just before baking, preheat the oven to 375°F.
4. Bake the crust for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool. The crust can be made one day in advance. Cool completely, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
To Make the Pastry Cream:
1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.
3. When the milk mixture comes to a simmer, very slowly pour 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to slowly add the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly until it has all been incorporated.
4. Place a fine mesh strainer over your saucepan. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan through the mesh strainer to catch the vanilla bean pod and and any bits of egg.
5. Cook the mixture over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about two minutes.
6. Transfer the mixture to a an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attached, or a hand mixer. Add the butter and beat on medium speed until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
7. Place the pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
To make chocolate pastry cream, add 8 oz. of finely chopped, good quality semisweet chocolate along with the butter.
If you are preparing the tart more than a few hours in advance, brush the fruit with this glaze to preserve it.
To make the glaze:
1. Melt the apricot jam with 1 tsp of water. Stir to combine.
2. Brush some of the glaze over the fruit.
To assemble tart:
1. Fill the crust with pastry cream-you may not use all of the cream. You can store the leftover pastry cream in the refrigerator. Use it as a fruit dip or eat it with a spoon!!!
2. Top the pastry cream with the berries.
3. Add a few mint leave for garnish and dust with powdered sugar if desired.
Yield: 9″ tart, 8 to 10 servings.
Crust: Inspired by King Arthur Flour
Pastry Cream: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
*The crust can be prepared up to one day in advance
*The pastry cream can be prepared up to two days in advance
*If you do not want to use the glaze, assemble the tart an hour or two before serving.
Bake and Share Ideas:
1. Treat your mother to this beautiful dessert on Mother’s Day.
2. Invite a few friends over for lunch and treat them to this berry fruit tart
3. Bring this delicious berry fruit tart to your children’s school for teacher appreciation day coming up in May