This mixed berry and lemon custard tart is spring and summer on a plate. Classic, buttery tart dough is flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, baked until crisp, brushed with jam, then filled with lemon curd, fresh strawberries, and both blackberry and raspberry pastry cream.
There are several components to this tart, but none of them are difficult or time consuming. And, aside from the tart's assembly, all can be done in advance.
The main filling is my favorite pastry cream, flavored with raspberry and blackberry jam. I LOVE this pastry cream and have used it in all sorts of recipes published on this blog - Classic Napoleon, as a Chocolate Eclair filling, in doughnuts, in mini blackberry amaretto tarts, blended with mascarpone cheese and sandwiched between layers of olive oil cake, in a black and white chocolate tahini tart, and as the filling for Coconut Cream Cake, to name just a few.
It's one of those staple recipes that I keep coming back to because it's simple to make, incorporates other flavorings well, can be made days in advance, and is so freaking delicious that I have a difficult time not eating it straight from the pan. Also - and this is super important - it includes gelatin which means you can pop it into the freezer and it will maintain it's consistency. You'll notice in the recipe instructions for this tart, that I suggest that very thing. Pop this tart in the freezer for a few minutes before serving and slicing it will be so much easier.
I wanted to flavor this tart with the taste of fresh berries, so my first inclination was to puree some berries and mix them into the pastry cream. This, however, is a terrible idea because when you add enough berry puree to make the pastry cream actually taste like berries, you end up with a soupy mess.
To maintain the pastry cream's consistency, a few tablespoons of jam works much better. In the tart you see here, I used blackberry and raspberry jam. But, use any kind of jam that sounds good to you - just make sure it's high quality.
I also decided to use a jar of prepared lemon curd instead of making it from scratch. Making lemon curd is not difficult, but it does add an extra step and more time. In this tart, the lemon curd is an essential supporting role, but supporting nonetheless. Using a high quality prepared jar of lemon curd saves time and doesn't affect the finished taste of this tart at all.
Classic Tart Pastry
The shell for this tart is a classic tart pastry, made from flour, eggs and butter. I've added in a few spices to flavor it and add some warmth. Make the dough in the food processor, let it chill, roll it out, and blind bake it before filling it with lemon curd and pastry cream. All of this can be done up to 3 days in advance if you like.
Even though I chose to make this tart in a rectangle pan, it works just as well in a round one. The shape of the pan is not important - the removable bottom is. I have a lovely glass tart pan that I never use because the bottom doesn't fall out. And trying to get a baked tart crust out of a pan that doesn't have a removable bottom - or, trying to serve neat slices of tart from inside a pan - is a pain in the you-know-what. Make this tart in whatever shape pan you like. Just make sure the bottom and sides of the pan separate.
It is important to assemble the tart the day you plan to serve it because of the layer of fresh strawberries.
If you really want to assemble the tart in advance, leave the strawberries out. They get juicy in there and will make your tart kind of soggy after a while. But, if you can serve the tart within 6 hours of assembly, the fresh strawberries add flavor and texture that's totally delicious.
Used in this recipe:
Other Recipes You Might Like:
- Lemon Loaf Cake
- Black and White Chocolate Tahini Tart
- Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Cream
- Individual Blackberry Amaretto Custard Tarts
- Classic French Napoleon
- Lemon Berry Snack Cake
FOR THE TART DOUGH:
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch chunks
FOR THE TART FILLING:
- 1 recipe Pastry Cream, chilled (*Only use ½ cup whipping cream)
- ¼ cup berry jam (any flavor)
- 10 oz lemon curd
- 10 medium size fresh strawberries - about 8 oz
- 3 tablespoon raspberry jam
- 3 tablespoon blackberry jam
- Fresh raspberries and blackberries to decorate the top of the tart (optional)
MAKE THE TART SHELL:
- Add the egg yolks, heavy cream, and vanilla to a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, salt, and powdered sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the pieces of butter to the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal - about 10 pulses.
- With the machine running, pour the egg mixture through the feed tube and process just until the dough begins to stick together, about 8-10 seconds. Be careful not to overprocess.
- Turn the dough out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and knead 2 or 3 times to bring the dough completely together. Flatten the dough into a 6-inch disk, wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
- After chilling, unwrap the dough and lay it on a lightly floured work surface. (If the dough has been in the refrigerator for longer than 1 hour, you might need to let it sit at room temperature, covered, for 10 minutes or so to allow it to soften up a bit.) If using a 9-inch round pan, roll the dough into an 11-inch circle. If using a rectangle pan, roll the dough into a rectangle that's at least 20-inches long and 10 or 11-inches wide. Use flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface or rolling pin as you roll it out. It can also be helpful to have a large spatula handy, to slide under the dough from time to time to keep it from sticking to your work surface.
- Gently wrap the dough around your rolling pin and then unroll over your tart pan. Lifting the edge of the dough, gently ease the dough into the pan. Press the dough against the sides of the pan and into the corners, wrapping the edges of the dough up and over the sides of the pan.
- Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to cut any excess, overhanging dough from the pan and create a clean edge. If any of the dough inside the pan is too thin or torn, use pieces of excess dough to reinforce and repair.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the freezer and line with a double layer of aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights or beans. Return to the oven and bake 5-10 minutes longer, until the shell is fully baked and golden brown. Remove from the oven to a wire rack and allow to cool completely in the pan before proceeding.
FILL THE TART: (Fill the tart with the pastry still inside the tart pan.)
- Heat ¼ cup jam in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, just until it's slightly runny. Use a pastry brush to completely coat the inside of the cooked and cooled pastry shell with jam. Let the shell sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour, and up to 4 hours, to allow the jam to set.
- Spread the lemon curd over the bottom of the tart shell in one even layer.
- Remove the stems from the strawberries and cut them into thin slices. Layer the strawberry slices over the lemon curd in an even layer.
- Divide the pastry cream in half; add 3 tablespoons raspberry jam to one half and 3 tablespoons blackberry jam to the other half. Stir to combine the jam and pastry cream.
- Fit two pastry bags with large open star decorator tips (cupcake tips). Fill one bag with the raspberry pastry cream and the other bag with the blackberry pastry cream.
- Squeeze generous "stars" of pastry cream into the tart shell, over the strawberries, alternating raspberry and blackberry.
- Decorate the top with fresh berries if you like and gently remove the tart from the pan.
- Chill the tart for at least 1 hour before serving. To make slicing easier, put the tart in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before serving.
NOTE: This tart is best the day it's assembled. The pastry and pastry cream can be made several days in advance.
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