Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday was my friend Aileen's 22nd birthday, and she had a little potluck get-together to celebrate. Originally I was just going to make a mixed berry salad (I was feeling lazy), stopping by Berkeley Bowl in the morning for a wonderful selection of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. But then I decided I could spare some effort, and instead made this fresh berry tart.
The tart has a sweet butter crust, blind-baked and cooled. The cooled shell is brushed with a layer of melted preserve to prevent it from becoming soggy. Inside is a filling of vanilla custard, made with vanilla pudding and whipped cream. Fresh fruits top the whole thing off.
Summer Fruit Tart
Yield 1 10'' tart
1 recipe sweet butter crust
Filling: 1/2 of a 3-oz package of vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream
Fresh fruits (sliced peaches, sliced kiwis, berries, etc.)
Strawberry preserve, heated until melted
For pastry crust: Assemble as instructed here. Place the crust into a 10" tart pan with a removable bottom. Cover with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in a 350 degrees preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until slightly golden and baked through. Cool completely before use.
For filling: Whisk together milk and pudding mix until well blended and thickened. Beat heavy cream in a clean bowl until stiff peaks stage. Gently fold the whipped cream into pudding. Refrigerate until use.
To Assemble: Brush cooled pie crust with melted preserve. Pour filling into cooled pie crust, about 2/3 full (you may have filling left over). Arrange fruits on top. If desired, brush fruits with glaze also.
The recipe lends itself to many variations - from the flavoring of the custard filling to the fruit topping. It is also an opportunity to showcase some creative design in the arrangement of the fruits. I found out that I'm terribly unartistic, and spent a good 15 minutes trying to figure out how I can make the tart look decently presentable.
As for the cheat on the filling using vanilla pudding mix, I have to admit that my attempts at pastry cream and custards have failed in the past. Since I was rushed for time, I decided to go with the mix.