- 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.