I love berries. But I dislike sweets, and I think they know it…
This tart, though. It’s like the berries felt bad for the sweets so they showed up to make everything better. And they did…
I’ve said it time and time again that I LOVE to bake. It’s soothing and comforting and there’s nothing better than the little hands of the house waiting for cookies straight out of the oven. Or packaging up some treats to send to a friend. Or decorating a cake for celebrating…the list goes on. So it’s never really made sense to me why I don’t enjoy the things that I bake, other than maybe I just get tired of looking at them? Or I don’t allow myself to enjoy them when really I do? Or maybe there really is truth to the fact that I’m just a salt fiend at heart. I’m gonna go with that, because I can plow through some crusty bread with oil and salt like nobody’s business…
Oh my gosh, side note as I’m sitting here typing. I just laid my chin on my hand and had a major ‘OUCH!’ moment. Yesterday afternoon while I was shooting an upcoming post, I moved the camera down too fast and nailed my chin with that little metal area where the flash would sit. And it hurt! I have the slightest little mini bruise and forgot about it until just now. Have I mentioned my gift of moving too fast resulting in ever so graceful clumsiness from time to time? (do you see what I did there?) Does anyone else have any graceful camera injury stories to share? Ok away from my bruise and back to the tart…
Now as much as I don’t care for desserts, I will say that I am a major sucker for ones that include fruit. If I’m out somewhere and they have a key lime pie, I will definitely order it. Lemon bars? Absolutely love them. This tart? I seriously love it. So I’m thinking my trend in sweet options is very much sweet/sour based. Because everything I’m drawn to has some sort of sweet and sour balance to it. Like in this tart…
It has a sweet, luscious vanilla custard that goes absolutely perfectly with the sweet and sour berries on top. They balance each other out and it’s honestly a heavenly dessert in my eyes. If you can’t find vanilla beans, or just don’t want to use them, it’s definitely not a deal breaker. But I will say, if you do use them, it’ll take it over the top. And hey, just a quick pep talk before I sign off…
This tart might look totally intimidating. But it’s sooooo not, I promise! If you can mix dough, and whisk eggs, you can definitely make this. And if you don’t have a tart pan, just use a pie plate or two depending on the size. It may not have the scalloped edge, but it’s going to look and taste just as good. You can do this!!!
I already can’t wait to make it again for Easter….ENJOY!
Fresh Berry Tart with Vanilla Custard and Shortbread Crust
For the crust
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- pinch of kosher salt
For the filling and fruit on top
- 6 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch of kosher salt
- seeds from one vanilla bean, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cups assorted berries (if using strawberries, quarter them)
- 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter, sugar, and the extracts in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the flour and salt and mix on low speed until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough begins to come together into a ball.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 10-inch tart pan. Cut a 9 inch circle out of parchment paper and place onto the bottom of the crust. Line it with pie weights or dried beans to keep it in place. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the paper and weights. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Continue baking for another 15-20 minutes until slightly golden brown and set. Remove from oven and cool completely. Meanwhile, make the custard.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and slightly thickened. Add in the cornstarch and salt and mix until combined. Use a very sharp knife to split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape the seeds into the custard (or add in the vanilla extract if preferred).
- Warm the half and half in a medium saucepan until hot. Slowly whisk it into the egg mixture until all incorporated. Place the custard mixture back into the same pan, add in the butter, and heat over medium-low heat until thickened, whisking constantly. This will take between 5-8 minutes, depending. Remove it from the heat as soon as it's thickened and pour it into a bowl to allow it to cool.
- Once it has come mostly to room temperature, press plastic wrap down onto the surface of the custard and chill in the refrigerator until cold. *The plastic wrap helps to avoid any condensation forming.
- Once chilled, evenly spread the custard into the tart. To prepare the berry topping, heat the raspberry preserves over low heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Once the preserves have liquified, toss them gently with the berries in a medium bowl using a spatula until just coated.
- Use a spoon to place the berries evenly around the tart. Serve immediately or chill until doing so. Tart it best eaten the day of preparation. However, the crust and custard can both be make one day ahead, stored separately, and then assembled the day of serving. ENJOY!!
If you don't have a tart pan, you can definitely use a 10 inch pie plate. The tart pan just makes it easier to cut. If you use a pie plate you will just cut and serve it out of the pan!