We leave for Switzerland tomorrow, for the pre-teen camp with the French-speaking churches, and I’m leaving you with this French mixed berry tarte before I go!
I used a pre-made roll-out crust, which is new in France in the gluten-free variety. You can now get gluten-free versions of flaky crust (pâte feuilletée) and regular crust (pâte brisée). If you don’t have access to that, you can follow my instructions on the strawberry tarte recipe here for making a good gluten-free pie crust.
Honestly, it’s better to make your own, but sometimes the benefits of saving time outweigh the benefits of having a tastier crust. Especially when you’re already filling it with delicious pastry cream and mixed berries.
Roll out the crust (whether store-bought or homemade) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375°F or 180°C. Let it cool. (It’s not as pretty as when I make it myself).
I decided to use a bag of mixed berries I had in the freezer rather than buy fresh. You can totally make this tarte with fresh, and it will be prettier. If you do that, place the berries in a pretty concentric circle rather than pouring them on top. And you might still need to sprinkle them with confectioner sugar to add sweetness, but you won’t need to mix an entire cup in.
Otherwise, with frozen, take our your mixed berries from the freezer. And mix them with a cup of confectioner sugar.
You don’t need more because the pastry cream is sweet, but you need some because mixed berries are not as sweet as plain strawberries or blueberries. Mix them carefully so you don’t break the berries – easy when they’re frozen, not so easy when fresh or thawed.
Now it’s time to make the pastry cream. For more detailed instructions with step-by-step photos, you can click on the same strawberry tarte recipe, here. Basically, you’ll need to heat up the 2 1/8 cup of milk with the teaspoon of vanilla to the point right before it foams.
While that’s heating, mix 4 egg yolks with 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of corn starch, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/8 t salt.
When the milk is hot, pour it into the egg yolk mixture, while using a whisk to stir. Transfer it back to the pan and put it on low heat while stirring continuously. It will thicken all of a sudden. And let me tell you – you think it won’t thicken so you stop stirring and grab a drink out of the fridge and you come back to the pan, and voila! There it is already thickened! And with lumps.
Don’t stop stirring the pastry cream.
When it’s thick and perfectly smooth cover it with saran wrap to keep a crust from forming, let it cool, then put it in the fridge until chilled.
Spread that over the baked crust, and then pour the berries on top of that. If you’ve chosen frozen instead of fresh, it’s likely that juice will form. It’s okay. It will get soaked into the pie crust and flavour it even more, and will not be the worse for wear. Mine had lots of liquid, but by the time I served it the crust was solid, tasty, and marbled with color.
Here ’tis! Just in time for your evening meal.
A slice to serve for friends. And sure – go ahead and put a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, on top. But you don’t need to. It is perfect as is.
Here’s the printable recipe. Enjoy your summer, friends!
- 1 roll-out pie crust (or see link for how to make your own GF version)
- 2⅛ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 3T plus 1t corn starch
- ⅛ t salt
- A bag of frozen mixed berries (or enough to cover the tarte)
- 1 cup confectioner sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C or 375°F.
- Bake pie crust for 15 to 20 minutes - check on it and turn if it's baking unevenly.
- Heat the milk and vanilla.
- Whisk the yolks, sugar, corn starch & salt.
- When the milk is hot, pour it into the yolk mixture and mix it.
- Return mixture to pan and heat over low heat, stirring continuously until it thickens.
- Put the pastry cream in a bowl and cover with saran wrap.
- Let it cool, then put it in the refrigerator until chilled.
- Spread pastry cream on the cooled tarte, followed by the berry mixture.
- Put that in the refrigerator and serve cold.