Sunshine Berry Tart


On this rainy Portland day, the sun has left us once again and while I am search for one little bright ray I don’t think it’s going to happen. Most of us in the culinary field will tell you that at some point we chose this profession because we love to please people with food. I am taking it upon myself to bring all of you a little sunshine from my kitchen to yours.

Since we are in the middle of Oregon strawberry season I can’t stress how important it is to gobble us as many of these luscious berries while you can. Mine rarely make it to the car from the Farmer’s Market, strawberries out of season really just don’t compare. So in celebration of the berries that are popping up, here is my berry tart recipe that will be a guaranteed winner at any dinner or BBQ.

SHORT DOUGH

1# powdered sugar

2# butter

3# AP flour

3 eggs

1 T vanilla

This is often called 1-2-3 dough and if you look at the ingredients you can see why. While this makes a gi-normous amount I figured I’d leave the original amounts so that you can see the ratios, it makes it easy to remember in a pinch without a recipe. Yes you can cut this down by a third no prob AND this freezes really really well. Make leftover dough into a 1” disc and wrap well in plastic wrap.

Okay for the procedure.

Throw it all in your mixer with a paddle attachment and mix. It’s that easy. Make sure your butter is room temp.

Now the dough needs to be COLD, butter shrinks when you cook it so if you want your beautiful tart to hold it’s shape you need to:

1) Roll the dough out while it’s cold- which is near impossible since butter is solid out of the frig-this is therapy and cathartic, beat it with your rolling pin- I mean it, beat it hard!

2) After you roll out your dough to about 1/8” thick lay it into a tart shell-preferably with a removable bottom, make sure you press it into the corners and refrigerate till it’s COLD before you bake it.

3)Put pie weights in the bottom, or dried beans- I recommend putting the beans in heat proof plastic wrap or tinfoil so you can get them out easily-

Bake at 375 for 10 min and then remove the weights and finish cooking all the way through.

PASTRY CREAM

16 oz. half and half

2 oz. sugar

2 ea. Eggs

1 ¼ oz. cornstarch

2 oz. sugar

1 oz. butter

1 t vanilla

Use stainless steel pan. Scald half and half with first 2 oz. sugar. Combine eggs, cornstarch, and sugar and mix until smooth. Temper liquid into egg mixture, return to heat until mix thickens. Pull off heat and add butter and vanilla.

Pastry cream will form a skin on top so if you aren’t going to use it right away wrap it will plastic wrap pressing it directly on top of the cream. Once it’s cold you can spoon it into the cooled tart shell and spread out so that it’s even.

Decorate and completely cover the top of your tart with fresh berries, kiwi, or favorite stone fruit. In order for your berries to retain their color and to look shiny and beautiful dilute a little jelly (apricot is classically used because it’s almost clear) with water and heat up till it’s a little runny and brush on your tart. This will seal it.

Refrigerate or serve!

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