Berry Tart

Now that I more or less snitched on Aunt Alice for telling me she baked a cake that she bought and then sending me a recipe for the cake (which the one she served wasn’t) it is now confession time.

Once, when we had company and I cooked the entire meal, including several hors d’oeuvre, fish course, entree and salad, but bought dessert (a fruit tart with raspberries on top), the one recipe someone wanted was — you guessed it — the fruit tart.

The woman, whose name was Nina, asked if I made it.

I lied and said yes.

So it was kind of awful when she asked for the recipe. Which I sent, a la Aunt Alice. Not THE recipe. Just A recipe.

It is a great recipe though. It’s just that I hadn’t had time to prepare it.

So, Nina, I hope you’ve been enjoying the recipe all these years, even if it wasn’t THE one.

For everyone else — try this sometime. It’s delicious.

Fruit Tart


1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons cold shortening

3-4 tablespoons cold water or milk

Place the flour, sugar and salt in the workbowl of a food processor. Cut the butter and shortening into chunks and add to the workbowl. Process on pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of the cold liquid and process, then add more liquid but only as much as is necessary for the ingredients to come together into a soft dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, knead into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to place in a 9 or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the dough in the tart pan gently and cut off any excess dough from the edges. Cover the dough with aluminum foil. Place pie weights or dried beans over the foil. Bake the tart crust for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and the foil, prick the dough with the tines of a fork and return the crust to the oven for another 10 minutes or until browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. 

Pastry cream and fruit:

1-1/2 cups whole milk

5 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons kirschwasser or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

raspberries or strawberries (about 2 pints)

6 tablespoons red currant jam

1 tablespoon kirschwasser or brandy

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until hot; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together at medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until thick and light. Stir in the cornstarch and mix until thoroughly blended in. Turn the mixer to lowest speed and gradually add the hot milk. Mix until smooth and well blended. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, for  about 8 minutes or until very thick. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the kirschwasser or vanilla and the butter. Strain the mixture if desired, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Makes 2 cups

Just before serving, fill the baked tart shell with the pastry cream. Top with the berries. Melt the currant jam and 1 tablespoon kirschwasser or brandy in a small saucepan until melted. Brush the jam over the berries.

Makes one tart serving 8 people