This is an easy Free-Form Mixed Berry Tart that you will want to make over and over again.
Why is this tart so easy?
- The crust can be prepared in the morning or even a couple days ahead of time.
- Rather than using a tart pan, the dough gets rolled out to make a free-form circle without the stress of trying to move it into a tart pan.
- You can prepare the pastry cream up to a day ahead as well.
- The berries are perfect as is, just a simple rinse is all they need.
A simple but splendid tart.
As I’ve mentioned, the crust is easy to make but this Berry Tart is also a show-stopper. Because of the light, flaky crust, the thick, sweet and luscious pastry cream and a mound of berries on top, everyone who tastes it will ask for more.
This berry tart would be an excellent finish to a light meal like Roasted Halibut and Vegetables with Mango Salsa, or would be wonderful served with a cold coffee like the iced Gibraltar shown below.
Recipe adapted from “The Best Recipe” by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.
A simple berry tart.
Free-Form Berry Tart
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting dough
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons orange liqueur or Kirsch (optional)
- 4 cups of mixed berries or other fruit
For the crust
- Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Scatter butter over the dry ingredients then pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
- Place mixture into a medium bowl, then add egg mixture and fold the eggs in with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together.
- You can add up to an additional tablespoon of water if necessary.
- Shape the dough into a ball and squeeze it a few times to bring dough together, then form a disc. Dust it with flour then wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour or up to 2 days before rolling.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand for 10 minutes to slightly soften (dough should be pliable).
- Roll out dough on a floured piece of parchment paper to a 12-1/2-inch disc, approximately 1/8-inch thick.
- Slide parchment with dough onto a baking sheet. Use a plate or disc as a template to trim the dough into a 12-inch circle.
- Fold the perimeter up about 1/2-inch and flute the edge using your thumb and 2 fingers. Do this about every 1/2-inch around the edge.
- With a fork, pierce the dough in 1/2-inch intervals to keep dough from puffing up when baked.
- Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven t o 400º.
- Place baking sheet with crust into oven and lower the heat to 350º.
- Cook until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Whisk sugar, flour and salt together in a small saucepan.
- Whisk in milk, then egg and yolk.
- Heat mixture over low heat, whisking constantly until pastry cream thickens and comes to a boil then continue to whisk constantly for 15 seconds.
- Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
- Scrape pastry cream into a non-reactive bowl (glass or metal), press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream so it doesn’t form a skin. Refrigerate at least an hour.
- Stir the liqueur into the pastry cream then spread evenly over the tart shell.
- Place berries or other fruit on top of pastry cream and serve.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: fruit dessert, dessert, fruit, berries, tarts