When thinking of a name for this recipe I considered Fresh Fruit Flan, but I felt Summer Berry Tart just made me want to eat it more. It really is a summer tart as berries when in season are beautiful and tasty and cheap.
I love making pastry, I never used to, I was always weary about making it, thinking it was difficult, it really is not. With a little time and effort (and a food processor) it is ridiculously easy, and for those that don't have a food processor, it is still easy, it just takes a little longer (as you need to rub the butter in by hand, before adding the egg and water).
This tart uses a sweet shortcrust pastry, it has a beautiful buttery flavour and a crisp texture. This one is a Donna Hay pastry recipe. It is so much better than using any of the frozen varieties, and really it is only a little effort, but that little effort makes homemade tarts a special indulgence. There is actually one brand of frozen pastry that I love, but it costs around $11 for one pie. But by making it yourself it is so much cheaper and really does taste better.
The pastry can be made up to a day ahead. Store in an airtight container.
The filling is a delicious vanilla custard, so simple to make, it really only takes a few minutes. Sometimes I add lemon zest to the filling when I feel like a little extra flavour. This is a great way to use up egg yolks you have leftover after making a Pavlova for instance. I have made this from fresh and frozen (but defrosted) egg yolks, both worked perfectly.
And the topping, gorgeous, beautiful, colourful fresh berries. Pick any berries that you love.
You can add the filling and decorate, up to 6 hours prior to when you need to pie to be served for best results.
I find this pastry is easy to handle, but if your pastry at any stage is soft and difficult to roll, just pop it back into the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up.
With the custard allow it to cool to room temperature before spreading over the base, but don't let it set in the fridge, it makes it harder to spread, still doable, and tastes the same, but not as pretty, as the custard is not as smooth.
With the glaze, which is just warmed up baby jelly, if you don't want to buy it, you can use warmed up apricot jam. It's purpose is to make the fruit shine, and it adds a small amount of sweetness.
With the fruit, try and buy similar sized strawberries and raspberries. I often buy 2 punnets of each so I can pick and choose which ones I want to use. Why, because this tart looks beautiful when made properly, and in my house, my kids always eat any leftover fruit.
So for those about to get into summer where fresh berries are in abundance, you really need to try this Summer Berry Tart, not only does it look fabulous, it is delicious to.
Basic Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
1 1/2 cups plain flour
125g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup (80g) icing sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon iced water
6 egg yolks
4 tablespoons caster sugar
4 tablespoons cornflour
2 cups milk
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250g strawberries, halved
2 tablespoons baby summer fruits or apple gel
To make the pastry: Place the flour, butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process in short bursts until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
While the motor is running, add the egg yolks and water. Process until the dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently bring together to form a ball. Using your hands, flatten dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the filling: Place egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl, whisk until pale. Heat the milk in a small pan until almost boiling; remove from heat. Add milk gradually to egg mixture, beating constantly. Strain into a clean pan. Stir constantly over low heat for about 3 minutes or until it boils and thickens. Remove from heat, add extract, Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap (making sure the plastic is touching the custard, so no skin forms on the custard); cool.
Preheat oven to 180C. Roll dough out between 2 sheets of baking paper to 3mm in thick. Once rolled, if the dough is too soft, place in the refrigerator for a few minutes again to firm up. Otherwise, line a lightly greased 22cm loose bottomed tart tin with the pastry. Trim edges and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Line the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking weights. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the paper and weights and cook a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is light golden. Allow to cool in the tin.
Once the pastry and custard have both cooled. Spread filling into the pastry shells, level the surface.
Top with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in whatever pattern you like.
Heat the gel in the microwave or in a pan for a few seconds until it liquifies. Brush gel over fruit with a pastry brush.
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