It is time to make berry tarts! Hence, this triple berry tart. Because, you see, I was at the store this week, and my eyes kept going to the stacks and stacks of little containers of berries. There were a TON of berries! They are in season and they look so luscious!
I first made a berry tart years and years ago when my boys were little. There was a July 4 get-together for Matt’s soccer team, and we each had to bring a dish. I found a berry tart recipe in a magazine, and I picked it because the colors fit the occasion. It was very well received, even though I sorta bungled the pastry cream. It tasted amazing, but the pastry cream did not set very well, so it was a little runny. Rookie mistake. But the berry tart itself got “ooohs” and “ahhhs”.
I’ve long since lost the recipe. So, over the years, like much everything I make, it has become a composite of different tart recipes I have come across.
Although I don’t eat many desserts, when I do, I much prefer fruit tarts to cakes and cupcakes. Primarily because a) I love fruit b) they are usually made with less sugar and flour and c) tarts tend to be lighter, so eating a slice doesn’t bog you down so much.
This isn’t a crazy gourmet tart with secret ingredients and unexpected twists. No complicated techniques or steps. It’s just a gorgeous and super tasty, old-fashioned tart, that anyone can make and be proud to serve.
so let’s get to making this triple berry tart
These are the ingredients for making the tart crust. This is a lovely pastry crust that is sweet, flaky, and pretty easy to work with.
And these are the ingredients for making the filling.
DISCLOSURE: Many berry tarts are served with a sifting of powdered sugar on top. As you can see from the photos, my tart is glazed. I do that because in the desert, things dry up so quickly. I wanted the berries to remain plump and juicy for as long as possible. So, I melted some lingonberry jam and brushed it over the assembled tart. It’s up to you. You don’t have to glaze it if you don’t want. But if you do, I recommend a berry-based jam like strawberry or blackberry or lingonberry.
Start with the pastry because it needs to chill for a bit. While the dough chills, you can work on the pastry cream.
Add the flour, powdered sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times just to mix everything.
Then add the sick of butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces. I place my stick of butter in the freezer for about 10 minutes or so before cutting. It seems to make the cutting easier and keeps the butter cold longer, which is important for a pastry dough like this one.
Pulse the mixture until the flour starts to clump together in pea-sized bits. Then mix the egg yolk into the heavy cream and add it to the food processor.
Pulse until the dough starts to come together like in the picture above.
Turn the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times until it all comes together into a smooth ball. Don’t over work it or the heat from your hands will melt the butter and the pastry may become tough.
Shape into a disc about 4-6 inches wide, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Start the pastry cream by adding the flour, corn starch, yolks, and sugar to the bowl of an upright mixture with a whisk attachment.
Start on a lower speed until the flower and corn starch have been incorporated, then whisk on a high speed until the mixture is less the color of yolks and more a pale yellow. Use a spatula to occasionally scrape the sides back into the bottom of the bowl.
Next, heat the milk and vanilla in a sauce pan until it is simmering.
Render half of the milk and vanilla into the bowl with the whipped egg mixtures, whisking until everything is fully incorporated.
Then pour the contents of the bowl back into the sauce pan with the remainder of the milk. Over medium-low to medium heat, cook stirring constantly until it thickens and starts to bubble. At that point, cook it for a couple of minutes more to ensure the pastry cream is nice and thick (this is where I made my rookie mistake years ago).
Be sure to stir thoroughly so that the cream against the sides of the pan does not burn.
Then pour the pastry cream into a clean bowl, allow it to come to room temperature, then refrigerate for an hour.
After the pastry dough has chilled for an hour, lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough so that it is slightly larger than your tart springform pan.
I like to roll my dough between sheets of plastic wrap because it a) keeps the dough from sticking to my rolling pin and b) makes it easy to lift the rolled dough and turn it into the tart pan.
Place the rolled dough in the pan and trim to the top edge. Don’t worry if you get some tears in the dough. Just apply leftover dough and patch it with your fingers. It’s no big deal.
Bake the pastry in two steps.
In the first step, place a sheet of parchment paper over the bottom of the crust and cover it with pie weights. Or you can use dry beans, or even an oven-safe pan that covers the surface. This will prevent the crust from buckling and lifting. Then bake it for 5 minutes at 425 ° F.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F. Remove the weights and parchment paper. Use a fork to make small holes equally spaced on the bottom crust. Bake for another 15 minutes or so, or until the crust turns golden.
Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Stir the pastry cream once it is chilled. Pour it into the crust and spread it evenly.
Then arrange your berries over the pastry cream however you like. There are a lot of berries and that is because you want a nice, full berry look on top.
Next, either use a powdered sugar shaker to dust the berries. Or apply a berry-flavored glaze with a pastry bush by melting 1/4 cup of a berry-flavored jam.
This baby is ready for the table! Isn’t it lovely?
And you don’t have to be a master pastry chef to make this beautiful tart. It may take a few steps, but it really is simple and easy.
And take my word for it, the flavor will not disappoint! So fresh! And so very flaky, creamy and sweet. All in one bite. This triple berry tart is a winner in every sense of the word!
And you’ll feel like a winner as you share your gorgeous creation with friends and family.
So, make the most of berry season and enjoy!
- FOR THE PASTRY
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) very cold, unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk
- FOR THE FILLING
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 3 egg yolks
- 1⅓ cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups fresh berries, any three that are in season
- 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar for dusting, or ¼ cup melted berry-flavored jam for glazing, optional
- Start with the pastry crust so that it has time to chill.
- Add the flour, powdered sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse a few times to mix.
- Add the very cold butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, to the processor bowl.
- Pulse until the mixture starts to form pea-sized clumps.
- Whisk the egg yolk into the heavy cream until fully combined.
- Pour the egg and cream mixture into the food processor bowl.
- Pulse repeatedly until the it starts to come together into a dough.
- Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead a few times until it forms a smooth ball.
- Shape into a disk, about 4-6 inches wide.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Meanwhile, mix the corn starch, flour, egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an upright mixer.
- Mix until pale yellow in color, scraping the sides frequently. Set aside.
- Heat the milk and vanilla just until it simmers. Then remove from heat.
- Temper half of the heated milk into the mixer bowl, whisking as the milk is added.
- Continue whisking to fully incorporate.
- Add the egg and milk mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk.
- Return to the flame and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and bubbles. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes more.
- Pour into a clean bowl and allow to come to room temperature.
- Then refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Once the pastry dough has chilled for an hour, roll it out to just larger than the tart pan.
- Place the rolled dough in the tart pan and trim to the top edge.
- Cover the bottom crust with parchment paper and then pie weights, dry beans, or an oven-safe pan or dish of appropriate size to act as a weight.
- Bake for 5 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350° F.
- Remove the pie weights and parchment paper.
- Use a fork and create small puncture marks along the bottom crust.
- Return to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the crust is golden.
- Move to a cooling rack and allow to fully cool.
- Once the crust is cooled and the pastry cream is chilled, assemble the tart.
- Stir then pour the pastry cream into the tart shell, spreading evenly.
- Arrange the berries as desired to fully cover the pastry cream.
- Dust with powdered sugar, or, optionally, melt the berry jam and brush over the berries to produce a glossy glaze.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.