I love a good quality old-fashioned Patriotic sheet cake with creamy homemade frosting, blueberry stars and strawberry strips – yummy and recognizably traditional.
How about moving on and changing the dessert slightly? This year I’m going to make a very-berry tart with a silky pastry cream.
This sweet treat is comprised of a delicate crumbly base, velvety pastry cream, and it is finished with fresh vibrant berries in traditional patriotic colors.
Usually this type of a pastry cream is prepared with milk, sugar, eggs and starch. To make it really creamy you have to use more egg yolks and more starch. But here is a trick – by replacing milk with cream (half and half, actually) you can reduce the amount of egg yolks and starch. I found a really good recipe of pastry cream in the Jacques Pepin collection.
Haven’t decided what to serve for desert on the 4-th of July? This is it – a new patriotic very berry tart with a French twist.
Elegant, incredibly delicious and stunning berry tart will impress you guests. For even more gorgeous look you can glaze the berries with some apricot or red currant jam/jelly.
(I actually made this tart for another occasion early this summer – so I decorated it with strawberries, blueberries and kiwi).
For the tart shell:
In a food processor pulse the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter. Process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spoon by spoon add water, while blending.
If the dough is too sticky add some flour. If it is too crumbly add some water. The dough should be soft and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball. Flatten it into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and put in a fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C).
Roll the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax pepper into 12-14” circle (the size of tart form bottom plus the edges). You will need some flour for rolling.
Transfer the dough onto ungreased tart form. Prick the bottom of the dough shell with a fork.
Line the shell with a foil or parchment paper covering the edges of the shell. Put some weight (dry beans or a special culinary weight) on the parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the weight and foil and continue baking for 10-15 minutes until the dough nicely browned.
Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool completely.
Meanwhile make the pastry cream.
For the pastry cream:
In a bowl mix the egg, egg yolk, cornstarch, and vanilla extract until creamy.
In a medium sauce pan bring the half and half to near boil. Do not boil.
Whisk in some hot half and half into the egg mixture. Whisk in the rest of the half and half.
Transfer the egg mixture into the sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, so the mixture doesn’t scorch and becomes thick and creamy.
Remove from the heat and cool for 5-10 minutes. If you are not using the cream right away, smooth the top and put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cream.
Fill the tart shell with the pastry cream.
Smooth the top. Arrange the berries (or/and fruits) on top of the cream.
For the glaze (optional):
Melt the jam in a microwave. Brush the berries with melted jam.
Cook with pleasure and enjoy the world!