I think of my mother whenever I make a fruit tart. She made fresh berry versions in the summer in a large metal French tart pan that had a removable bottom. When she brought them to the table there would always be a chorus of oohs and aaahhs. And now, I wanted to make my mother’s beautiful red, white and blue fresh berry tart for a 4th of July celebration. Berry tarts are best if you can make them during the summer when fresh berries are in season, but in truth, you can make any month of the year if you find decent berries. The nice thing about making them in the summer though, aside from great berries, it that the bake time for the scrumptious gluten-free tart crust is only about 18 minutes.
And then that’s it- oven off.
You make the vanilla filling on the top of the stove, let the whole thing cool, then artfully arrange the berries on top -or not so artfully- and add a little glaze.
But in the morning when I woke up, it was already hot outside and I didn’t want to bake. All I really wanted to do was read a book and go swimming and pretend I was on vacation. By 11 AM the thermometer attached to the outside of my kitchen windows said it was 118ºF on our sunny patio, even though it was really only 95º. My “stay-cation” moment aside, as you can see, I threw caution to the wind, and turned on my oven as the sun moved directly over head. Here is my soon-to-be beautiful tart before I finished brushing on all the melted jam to give it a lovely shine. You can see that I’ve brushed glaze on all of the strawberries and some of the blueberries. A few more to go!
If this makes you yearn for a sweetly delicious, colorful dessert, then make a plan to buy some fresh berries when you’ not busy daydreaming about vacation and make this beautiful fruit tart. You’ll be able to set it down on your own table to a chorus of oohhs and aaahhs.
FRESH BERRY FRUIT TARTS
1 prebaked Tart Shell Crust (recipe below)
2 1/2 cups Vanilla Cream Pie Filling (recipe below)
1 1/2 -2 cups fresh strawberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries (rinsed and completely dry)
1/2 cup seedless strawberry jelly or jam.
1 tablespoon brandy or cognac
- Spread cooled Vanilla Cream Pie Filling into cooled Tart Shell Crust. Arrange berries on top of custard.
- Place strawberry jelly and brandy in small saucepan and simmer until jelly is dissolved and liquefied but thickened slightly. Carefully brush onto berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Store tart in refrigerator. Best when eaten within three days of baking.
TART SHELL CRUST
Makes one 9-inch pie crust or one 9-inch tart crust.
1 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in center of oven. Grease 9-inch pie pan or tart pan (with removable bottom) with cooking spray. Generously dust with rice flour.
- Combine flour, sugar, and xanthan gum in large bowl of electric mixer (or food processor). Add butter and mix (or pulse) on low speed until crumbly. Add vanilla and mix well. Press into bottom and up sides of pie or tart pan.
- Bake in center of oven for about 18 minutes or until light golden. Cool on rack in pan. For a tart, place pan on top of a broad glass and carefully push down sides. For best results, remove pan sides and bottom once tart shell is filled and chilled.
Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator. Best when eaten within three days of baking.
*Find my Brown Rice Flour Mix in the Guide to Flour Mix section of this blog.
VANILLA CREAM PIE FILLING
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Beat egg yolks in large bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar a little at a time and continue beating until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Add corn starch and salt and beat until well blended.
- Bring milk to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat while you are beating the egg yolks.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add hot milk to egg mixture in a thin stream. Quickly scrape sides and bottom of bowl and mix at medium speed until well blended.
- Pour the custard mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wire whip, until it comes to a boil and thickens. Lower heat and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and beat in butter and vanilla.
- Put custard in medium bowl or plastic container to cool. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skim from forming over surface and chill in refrigerator.
Can be stored in refrigerator for up to five days or in freezer for up to one month in a tightly sealed container. Keep plastic wrap directly on surface of custard.
©2012 by Annalise Roberts