Ok, so it’s a little bit late. I had fully intended on making this dessert for the 4th of July, but Creg had to work late that night, and I was in the midst of preparing 192 mini empanadas for a catering job. So, the tart got pushed back a bit.
4th of July doesn’t really mean a whole lot in this household, since most of us were born in other countries. But it’s a good excuse to make a red, white, and blue dessert! One of my favorite memories of this holiday was when I had a barbecue at my place for some friends. There were 6 of us, and not a single one was born here. And isn’t that what this country is all about?
This tart is pretty easy to do, and the best part is that you can make it well ahead of time – in fact the pastry cream needs to be done ahead so that it can cool and set.
I always use the pastry cream from Ina Garten’s recipe for Strawberry Tarts. It’s easy and seems to be foolproof. One day I’ll venture out and make a different version. The crust is a simple pie crust, with a little added sugar (a pate sucrée).
Top the whole thing off with some apricot jam mixed with a little water for a glistening, beautiful finale to your meal. Why wait for the 4th? Make this anytime!
- 8 or 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom.
- 1 ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 8 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- ¼ cup Ice Water
- 1 tbsp Distilled White Vinegar
- 5 Egg Yolks room temperature
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 3 tbsp Corn Starch
- 1 ½ cups Scalded Milk
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Cognac
- 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 tbsp Heavy Cream
- 2 tbsp Apricot Jam
- 1 tsp water
Making the crust
- Mix flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor
- Cube butter and add to food processor. Pulse about 10 times, till butter is the size of small peas.
- Add the ice water and vinegar and pulse to combine.
- Dump onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to bring the dough together into a ball. Wrap and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for ½ hour to 1 hour.
Making the pastry cream
- While the dough is chilling, make the pastry cream. Mix egg yolks and sugar with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer on medium high, until it's thick and forms a ribbon when you lift the paddle, about 4-5 minutes.
- While the egg yolks and sugar are mixing, heat your milk, making sure it doesn't boil.
- Turn the mixer down to low and add the cornstarch. Once that's incorporated, very slowly add the milk with the machine running (I transfer it into a glass measuring cup to make it easier to pour).
- Return the mixture to the pan where you heated the milk and heat over a low to medium heat for 5-7 minutes until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once it thickens and starts to look curdled, switch to a whisk and stir vigorously for another 2 minutes, till the mixture is very thick, like a pudding.
- Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to make sure there are no lumps. Cover the bowl with plastic, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the cream so that no skin forms. Refrigerate until ready to use (the longer the better).
Rolling out the crust
- Heat oven to 375°
- Remove chilled dough from the fridge. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour the top as well and roll out into a circle about ¾ inch bigger than your tart pan.
- Gently lift dough and place into tart pan. It's important to lay the dough into the pan without stretching it, so that it doesn't shrink when baking. Fit into the pan and using a rolling pin or your fingers, remove any excess dough from the top.
- Refrigerate dough in the pan for about ½ hour.
- Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or beans. Cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, prick the bottom all over with a fork, and return to the oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool on a rack.
Assembling the tart
- When ready to serve, take pastry cream out of fridge, dump into the tart shell, and spread out in an even layer with an offset spatula.
- Arrange berries on top either in a nice pattern, or freeform.
- Heat apricot jam and water in microwave for about 10 seconds. Brush lightly all over the fruit. Remove tart from pan and serve. Leftovers (if you have any) should be refrigerated, and will keep for a few days.