Classic Berry Tart


Since berry season is upon us, what can be more refreshing than a berry tart?  The sweetness of the pastry cream filling complements the tartness of the fruit nicely.


Classic Berry Tart
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9-inch tart

For pastry cream filling:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons+2 teaspoons (1/6 cup) cornstarch, sifted if you have the patience
  • About 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature

For tart shell:

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour OR 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For topping:

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries, or a mix of them
  • 2 ripe kiwis


  1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  (I skipped this step and it was fine.)
  2. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy.
  3. Beat in egg yolk.
  4. Add flour, almond flour if using, confectioners’ sugar, and salt and beat on low speed until mixture just clumps together into a rough ball.
  5. Knead dough gently to incorporate any dry ingredients left.  (At this point, you can wrap the dough well and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)
  6. Press dough into the bottom of the pan, spreading dough evenly across the bottom and 1-2 inches up the sides.  Save a little piece of dough in the refrigerator in case the crust cracks during baking and you need to patch it later.
  7. Freeze crust in pan for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.  (At this point, you can wrap the unbaked crust and keep it in the freezer for up to 2 months.  Just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.)
  8. While crust is freezing, make the filling.  In a small pot on the stove, bring the milk to a boil.
  9. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until well-blended and thick.
  10. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of the hot milk — this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they don’t curdle — then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
  11. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly (make sure to get in the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat.
  12. Whisk in vanilla extract.
  13. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pastry cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate it or, if you want to cool the pastry cream quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is fully chilled, about 20 minutes. (At this point, you can keep the pastry cream, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  14. While filling is cooling, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375°F.
  15. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust.  (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.)
  16. Put pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.
  17. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.  If there are any cracks in the crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges, and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust.
  18. Bake for another 8 minutes, or until it is firm and golden brown.  (Dorie Greenspan suggests keeping the crust in the oven for just a few minutes longer if you dislike lightly baked crusts.  Keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.)  Again, if there are any cracks in the crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges, and very gently smooth the edges into crust.  Bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.
  19. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.
  20. When you are ready to assemble the tart, peel and thinly slice 2 kiwis.  Rinse berries and gently pat dry with a paper towel.  If using strawberries, either halve them from top to bottom or slice them.
  21. Whisk the pastry cream vigorously to loosen it and spoon into the tart shell, stopping just short of the crust’s rim — you want to leave room for the topping.
  22. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  23. Arrange kiwi slices across the surface of the pastry cream.  Heap berry mixture in the center.
  24. Serve tart as soon as possible after assembling it, certainly on the same day.  If you need to keep it for a few hours, cover it and store in the refrigerator, keeping it away from any foods with strong odors.

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