Berry-Tary-Buffet

Fresh Berry Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 inch tart shell
  • 2 cups flavor crème patissière
  • 5 cups fresh berries
  • 4 tbsp clear apricot jam
  • 2 oz icing sugar
  • 3½ oz green shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Preparation:

  • To make up the fruit tarts, spoon the crème patissière in a piping bag and pipe into the pastry cases
  • Layer in the fresh berries.
  • Put the apricot jam and 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small sauce pan and warm it through, so it loosens up and becomes more liquid.
  • Lightly brush the berries with apricot glaze.
  • To serve, place the tarts on a cake stand and dust with icing sugar, and garnish with mint tips or pistachios.

Sweet Tart Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

To make the dough:

  1. Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely – you’ll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that’s just fine.
  3. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition.
  4. When the egg is in, process in long pulses – about 10 seconds each – until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Heads Up – just before your dough reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working will change.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface.
  6. Very, very lightly and sparingly – knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
  7. If you want to press the dough into a tart pan, now is the time to do it.
  8. If you want to chill the dough and roll it out later (doable, but fussier than pressing), gather the dough into a ball (you might have to use a little more pressure than you used to mix in dry bits, because you do want the ball to be just this side of cohesive), flatten it into a disk, wrap it well and chill it for at least 2 hours or for up to one day.
  9. To make a press-in crust: Butter the tart pan and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t be stingy – you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don’t be too heavy-handed – you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don’t want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread texture.

For a rolled-out crust:

  • This dough is very soft – a combination of a substantial amount of butter and the use of confectioners’ sugar – so I find it is easier to roll it between wax paper or plastic wrap or, easiest of all, in a roll-out-your-dough slipcover.
  • If you use the slipcover, flour it lightly. Roll the dough out evenly, turning the dough over frequently and lifting the wax paper or plastic wrap often, so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases.
  • If you’ve got time, slide the rolled out dough into the fridge to rest and firm for about 20 minutes before fitting the dough into the buttered tart pan.
  • Trim the excess dough even with the edge of the pan.
  • Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To partially bake the crust:

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust.
  3. Bake the crust 25 minutes and then carefully remove the foil.
  4. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack; keep it in its pan.

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