So, I’ve been struggling with whether a tart counted as a pie, but then the ultimate pie book: The Pie and Pastry Bible or “Pible” as my husband has dubbed it, used a tart as it’s cover photo and I was convinced: tarts are a kind of pie. I’ll get more into the definition of “Pie” later, but for now suffice it to say that tarts count.
So, guess what? This week I made a tart!
I’m not really into tarts. I don’t really like the typical tart crust and since tarts tend to be mostly crust… well, you see where I’m going with this. However, when my little three year old boy finds a book that weighs almost as much as he does with a picture of a berry tart on the cover and lugs that book around to everyone he knows saying, “This one! This one please!” it is clear what needs to be done. I have to find a way to make a berry tart without a crappy tart crust.
Now, I feel like you might be looking at that picture and thinking, wait, that doesn’t look like a tart. That looks like a pile of goop on some bits of crust topped with berries. And you would be right. I destroyed my beautiful crust about half way through and had to just kind of make due. We’ll get to that later.
The point is: the crust was still delicious and the filling was tasty as well, so we’re calling it a Success!
Usually I suggest starting with the crust, but this filling needs a long time to cool down, so in this case start with the filling.
I made the filling that was suggested for the Basic Berry Tart in the Pible: Whipped Cream Pastry Cream.
2 large eggs
3 T cornstarch
2 c half and half
1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla (or – if you are awesome 1 vanilla bean, split … I used the extract)
a pinch of salt
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 c-1 1/4 c heavy cream (made into whipped cream. I used about 1/2 c)
In a small bowl whisk together eggs and cornstarch.
Gradually add 1/4 cup of the half and half, whisking until the mixture is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved.
In a heavy sauce pan add the sugar and the seeds from the sugar, rubbing the seeds into the sugar with your fingers. (if you used vanilla extract add it at the end)
If you did not use a vanilla bean add the 1/2 c sugar, pinch of salt ,and 1 3/4 cup of half and half in a heavy sauce pan and and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Temper the egg mixture by slowly pouring about half of the boiling milk mix into the eggs (start with 1-2 T then add another 2 than another slowly, whisking the whole time)
Pour this egg mix through a strainer to remove any cooked bits of egg.
Return the remainder of the milk mix to the stove top and bring back to a boil. (if you put in a vanilla pod, remove it now) Once it is boiling, add the egg mix whisking briskly.
Continue whisking briskly for 30-60 seconds as the custard thickens to a pudding like thickness.
Remove from heat and whisk in the 1 T butter and t of vanilla extract.
Pour in a bowl to cool.
Grease plastic wrap and place directly on top of the custard so that you don’t get a hard film while cooling.
Let cool to room temperature and then cool in fridge until cold.
Whip whipped cream and fold in desired amount right before you put the custard into the crust.
I didn’t use much whipped cream, maybe a cup, and I might not use any next time, it’s up to you. There is plenty of filling.
On to the…
Crust – long ago I had some kind of yummy tartish thing that had a crust that basically tasted like one of These shortbread cookies (also known as the boring but still yummy cookie in the christmas cookie tin). It was delicious as a tart-like crust. So, I found a recipe that looked like it would make a similar crust.
This is a link to the Recipe I used for the crust, although I made some changes anciently that ended up working out well in the end. (I didn’t use the filling in this recipe however, I made the filling from the Pible.)
2 1/2 C flour
1 t salt
1 T sugar
2 sticks room temp butter
1 large egg
6 T heavy cream
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a mixer.
Once the dry ingredients are well combined add the butter and mix until well combined.
Whisk together egg and heavy cream then add to the flour/butter mix.
Mine was pretty sticky when it was mixed.
Form into a big flat saucer, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
Grease a false bottom tart pan
Once the dough is chilled roll it out.
Lay in pan, press the edges into the ridges. Cut off the excess leaving about 1/2 inch and then crimp or pinch into shape. Put in the freezer for 2 hours.
Heat oven to 375 F. Fill crust with tin foil and bean weights. Bake for 20-25 mins. Remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes.
DON’T FORGET THAT THE PAN HAS A FALSE BOTTOM WHEN REMOVING FORM OVEN. You have to hold the sides, not a flat palm in the middle.
Or this will happen:
And you’ll burn yourself.
Yeah. Then you’ll have to make “rustic” pie.
But whatever, it will still be delicious.
Let cool and fill with custard filling and pile on the berries!
Serve immediately and enjoy!