Lemon Berry TartPhoto Credit : Kristin Teig | Styling by Liz Neily & Thomas McCurdy
This tart may look as though it’s made with puff pastry, but it actually uses a “rough puff” dough, which is much easier to make. While there are several steps to the recipe, none of them are difficult, and learning this technique will allow you to produce all manner of sweet and savory tarts with whatever fruit or vegetables are on hand. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a new skill and a go-to recipe for entertaining.
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
4 tablespoons unsalted butter,at room temperature
First, make the lemon pastry cream: Combine all ingredients except the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and has the consistency of pudding, 5 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl, then add the butter and stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing onto the top of the pastry cream, and refrigerate until well chilled. The pastry cream may be made up to five days ahead.
Then, make the pastry:
1 ¾ cups (250 grams) bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
17 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
8–10 tablespoons cold water
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon coarse sanding sugar
Whisk together the flour and salt, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two butter knives until it is well incorporated and the largest butter chunks are pea-sized. (This step can also be done in a food processor).
Gradually drizzle in 8 tablespoons water, stirring just until the mixture forms a cohesive ball of dough, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons water if necessary. Shape the dough into a 6-inch square and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. With a pastry brush, remove any excess flour.
Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, with one side folded into the center, then the other side folded on top of that. Roll the rough out again to a 12-by-8-inch rectangle and repeat the folding process, then do it once more, for a total of three trifolds. If the dough gets too soft during this process, pop it into the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up. The finished dough should have streaks of butter marbled throughout. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until very cold and firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°. On a floured work surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle approximately ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, trim the edges to make them straight, resulting in a rectangle approximately 11 inches by 15 inches. Fold the outer inch of each edge in on itself to form a border, then use the pizza cutter to trim the outer ⅛ inch of each edge to expose the layers of puff pastry.
Use a fork to prick holes all over the inside of the tart shell. Place the dough (still on the pan) in the freezer for 10 minutes, or until the dough has become cold and firm.
Whisk the egg yolk, then use a pastry brush to brush it onto the edge of the dough, taking care that the egg does not drip down the outer sides of the tart. Sprinkle the edge with sugar.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove and immediately use an offset spatula to press down the inside of the crust, which may have puffed up. Let cool.
2 cups assorted fresh berries (you can also add sliced peaches or other fruit)
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
5 basil leaves, very thinly sliced
Just before serving, fill the pastry shell with the chilled pastry cream and top with your favorite fresh berries and fruits. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh basil. To serve, cut into squares.