Amaretto Custard Fruit Tarts with Blackberries
Buttery, flaky pasty crust is brushed with jam, filled with creamy amaretto custard, and topped with fresh blackberries for delicious individual fruit custard tarts that are simple, elegant, and delicious.
These lovely little fruit and custard tarts are the perfect combination of buttery, flaky pastry, creamy amaretto custard, and plump, juicy blackberries. They are sweet, but not cloying. Flaky and creamy. Substantial, yet light and fruity. Also, every single component can be prepared days in advance of when you want to serve them, which makes them perfect for entertaining.
Serve them with a sprinkle of powdered sugar… or not. They’re good either way.
Fruit and Custard Tart Recipe Notes:
The Tart Pan
I like to bake these in six 4-inch tart pans. This is the perfect serving size if you want to serve a substantial individual dessert portion. They can also be cut in half, or even in quarters, something I also like to do with individual lemon tarts.
A couple of years ago, we hosted a brunch for New Year’s Eve and these made a lovely addition to the buffet table. I cut them each in half, so that guests would have room on their plates for several other items. Which didn’t prevent most of us from just taking two halves. But, at least we had the option.
You can also bake this as one 9 or 11-inch tart, if you prefer. The most important thing about the pan you use is that it’s non-stick and has a removable bottom. The buttery crust is flaky and delicate, as a good tart crust should be. Without a non-stick surface and removable bottom, it’s difficult if not impossible to get these out of the pan without breaking the crust.
If making a 9 or 11-inch round tart or square tart, one recipe should be the right amount. You might have a bit of pastry cream left over if using a 9-inch pan. Save it and treat yourself to a few spoonfuls of amaretto cream later in the week. Baker’s treat.
Perfect, Buttery, Flaky Tart Pastry
This recipe will give you slightly sweet, buttery, flaky pastry that is gorgeous next to the lush creaminess of the amaretto custard. Super flaky pastry is a double edged sword: Divine to eat, but easy to break when assembling the tarts. So, even thought the recipe says that it makes six 4-inch tarts, it will give you enough pastry dough for eight individual tart shells. Experience is a great teacher and over the years I’ve learned that having a few “just-in-case-one-breaks” shells, is a beautiful thing.
If you have eight 4-inch tart pans, bake 8 shells and then select the nicest looking 6 to fill and serve. If all 8 tart shells look good, you could even fill them a bit more shallowly with amaretto cream and serve all 8. If you only have six 4-inch tart pans, reserve the leftover dough in the refrigerator so that you can remake one or two shells if they break.
Dreamy, Creamy Amaretto Custard
This is essentially my favorite pastry cream recipe with some amaretto mixed in. I keep coming back to this pastry cream because it’s simple to make, silky smooth, can be made in advance, and accepts different flavorings well. The addition of gelatin makes it substantial enough to hold up to forkfuls of blackberry tart (or between layers of puff pastry in a Napoleon), while the addition of whipped cream keeps the consistency light and fluffy.
The addition of amaretto is optional, although it gives the cream a lovely almond flavor that is delicious with the buttery pastry and fruit. But, feel free to swap it out with another kind of liquor, or simply use a teaspoon or two of vanilla and/ or almond extract instead.
Blackberries…. or any berry.
I used blackberries for these little tarts because they were the freshest, plumpest, most delicious looking berries at my local market. But, any kind of berry or sliced fruit would be delicious. Use what you like and what’s in season.
The Secret to flaky custard tart crust: Coat the Tart Shells with Jam
This recipe calls for brushing the tart shells with jam before filling with pastry cream and fruit. Whatever you do, don’t get all in a hurry and skip this step. The jam not only adds more flavor to the tarts, it keeps the pastry crust from getting soggy, allowing you to make these a day or two in advance, or enjoy the leftovers for several days.
The key is to let the shells sit out uncovered on your countertop for a couple of hours, giving the jam a chance to dry out a bit. This will keep the pastry from getting soggy, even after filling with pastry cream and fruit. Which, brings me to my final recipe note…
Every single part of these fruit and custard tarts can be made in advance. 🙌
The amaretto custard can be made up to 6 days in advance: The base (without the whipped cream or amaretto) can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and then kept for another 2 days after adding the whipped cream and amaretto.
The pastry dough can be kept, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, and the baked tart shells can be kept at room temperature for another 2 days after that.
If you brush your tart shells with jam and allow the jam to set before filling with amaretto cream, the tarts can be assembled and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before serving.
Used in this recipe:
More Popular Fruit Dessert Recipes:
- 8-Layer Lemon and Blackberry Cake
- Triple Berry Plum Pie
- Crustless Custard Tart
- Strawberries and Cream Pie
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
- 24 oz. fresh blackberries
- 1/2 cup good quality berry fruit jam, any flavor
FOR THE AMARETTO CUSTARD:
- 1½ tsp unflavored gelatin
- 3 tsp cold water
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- ¾ cup whipping cream
- 4 tbsp amaretto liquor
FOR THE TART CRUST:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cold and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 5 tbsp vegetable shortening
- a small glass of ice water
MAKE THE AMARETTO CUSTARD:
- In a small dish, stir the gelatin and water together to combine. There should be just enough water to moisten the gelatin, creating a thick paste. Set aside.
- Add milk, sugar, salt, egg yolks and cornstarch to a 4-quart or larger heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk vigorously to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-low to medium heat, whisking constantly, at which point the mixture will have thickened to the point that the whisk will leave tracks as you stir. Remove from the heat and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds longer. Pour into a bowl.
- Break the gelatin into small pieces, dropping them into the hot custard. Whisk until the gelatin is completely incorporated, about 20 seconds. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap over the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 4 days.
- Using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until firm peaks form. Add the cooled custard and the amaretto, and beat on medium speed until fully incorporated and smooth. The Pastry Cream is now ready to use. If not using it right away, cover and refrigerate the cream for up to 2 days.
MAKE THE TART CRUST:
- Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine.
- Add the butter and vegetable shorting to the flour mixture. Pulse 5-8 times, until the mixture forms little balls, like moist crumbs. It’s important to pulse the food processor, not run it continuously so you don’t overwork the dough.
- Dump the mixture into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Use your hands to bring gently bring the dough together, tossing the flour-butter mixture with the water to moisten, then squeezing it together in your hands. Add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together. The dough should be just past crumbly and just coming together. You don’t want it to be wet enough to be sticky.
- Put the dough in the center of a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and cut into 6 even pieces. Roll out the dough, one piece at a time, into circles that are approximately ⅜-inch thick. Gently lift each circle of dough and lay it over one mini tart pan. Press the dough into the tart pan, pressing it into the corners and allowing about 1-inch of dough to hang over the edge. The excess dough will help keep the dough from shrinking down into the pan as the crust bakes and will be cut off later. *If you have enough tart pans, roll the dough scraps out – you should have enough to fill 2 additional tart pans. This will give you some leniency if one or two of your tart shells crack or break. Alternatively, store the leftover dough in the refrigerator so that you can bake another shell if one of them breaks.*
- Place the tart pans onto a baking sheet and line each with a small piece of aluminum foil. Fill each lined pan with pie weights or dried beans to weight it down. (*I find it easier to line individual tart pans with foil if I’ve shaped pieces of foil to the size of the pans ahead of time.)
- Bake the crusts for 15 minutes. Remove the crusts from the oven and lift out the foil and pie weights or dried beans. Prick the bottom of the crusts several times with a fork. Return the crusts to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the crusts are a rich golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. To remove the excess crust, roll a rolling pin over the edges of the tarts while still in the pan, breaking off the excess crust. Remove the shells from the pans. If making these ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap or place in zip top bags and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- If the jam you’re using is quite thick, stir approximately 1 tbsp warm water into the jam to thin it out a bit. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the inside of the baked tart shells with jam, coming all the way up the sides of the shell.
- Allow the shells to sit out on the counter, uncovered, for at least 4 hours before filling with pastry cream to allow the jam to dry out a bit. This will keep the tart shell crisp even after filling with pastry cream.
- Fill each tart shell with a generous amount of amaretto cream. Top with blackberries. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days. Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
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