French Raspberry Tart

This is a classic: a cookie dough crust topped with a thin layer of pastry cream, lots of flavorful fresh raspberries, and a bit of raspberry glaze to bind them together. Strawberries are an obvious substitute, but I only like to make this with small, perfectly sweet, height-of-season strawberries. Larger, out-of-season berries have less flavor and produce a lot of water when they are cut. Mulberries, blackberries and blueberries in season sidestep the water issue. See the end of the recipe for instructions for making an accompanying glaze for these berries.

Makes one 10-inch (25-cm) tart, 8 to 10 servings


Pastry Cream

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Raspberries and Glaze

3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

2 tablespoons water

3 half-pint baskets fresh raspberries, about 1 pound, picked over but not washed

One 10-inch Cookie Dough Tart Crust, baked and cooled (see below)

  1. For the pastry cream, combine the milk, cream and half the sugar in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Place over low heat and bring to a full boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the yolks and then whisk in the remaining sugar. Sift over and whisk in the flour.
  3. When the milk mixture boils, whisk it into the yolk mixture. Strain the mixture back into the pan and place over medium heat. Use a small, pointed-end whisk to whisk constantly, being sure to reach into the corners of the pan, until the cream comes to a full boil and thickens. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Scrape the cream into a glass or stainless steel bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface. Chill until cold.
  5. A few hours before you intend to serve the tart, make the glaze. Combine the jam and water in a small saucepan and stir to mix. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Strain the glaze into a bowl, rinse the saucepan and return the glaze to the saucepan, and cook over low heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes.
  6. Use a small offset spatula to spread the cooled pastry cream in the tart crust.
  7. Put the berries on a bowl and drizzle on the slightly cooled glaze. Use a small rubber spatula to fold the berries and glaze together gently. Scrape the berries into the tart crust on the pastry cream and arrange them in an even mound.
  8. Unmold the tart and slide it from the pan base to a platter.

Serving: Use a sharp, thin knife to cut the tart into wedges.

Storage: Keep the tart at a cool room temperature until serving time. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers.

Variations: To substitute strawberries, use strawberry jam for the glaze. Arrange the berries on the pastry cream and use a brush to apply a thin coat of the glaze.

To substitute any of the other berries mentioned above, use a neutral-flavored jelly such as currant or apple instead of the jam. Omit the water. Crush 1/2 cup of the berries, add them to the jelly and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Strain and reduce the glaze as above. Continue with the recipe at step 6, above.

 

Cookie Dough Tart Crust

I like to include some ground almonds in this dough for extra flavor and texture, but you may omit them. Since the almonds don’t absorb any liquid, the dough will work exactly the same way with or without them; no need to make adjustments. This recipe makes enough for two crusts, but the instructions below are for rolling and baking a single crust from half the dough.

Makes about 1 1/2 pounds of dough, enough for two 10-inch tart crusts


1/4 cup slivered or whole blanched almonds, finely ground

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into 16 pieces

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

One 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom

  1. Combine the almonds and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. No visible pieces of almond should remain. Use a thin metal spatula to scrape away any of the mixture caked up in the corner where the bottom meets the side of the bowl.
  2. Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. (If not using the nuts, start here and add the sugar.) Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse again until the dough forms a ball.
  3. Invert the dough to a floured surface and carefully remove the blade. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a thick disk and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. You may prepare the dough several days in advance and keep it refrigerated, or double wrap and freeze the second piece of dough, defrosting it in the refrigerator overnight before use.
  4. To form a tart crust, remove one of the pieces of dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften at a cool room temperature for about 20 minutes, just until it is soft enough to roll without cracking, but still firm. Unwrap it and place it on a floured surface. Use the palm of your hand to press it to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
  5. Flour the work surface and the dough and gently roll the dough into a 13-inch disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed.
  6. Fold the dough in half and slide both hands under it, palms upward, and transfer it to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan. If the dough cracks or tears you can press it back together.
  7. Evenly fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against both the bottom and side of the pan. Trim away any excess dough at the rim of the pan by rolling over with a rolling pin or scraping it away with the back of a paring knife.
  8. Finish off the top edges by pressing outward against the side of the pan with your thumb and down at the same time at the top of the crust with your index finger.
  9. Slide the tart pan onto a cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight before baking.
  10. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350˚F. Pierce the chilled tart crust all over at 1-inch intervals with a fork. Line the crust, bottom and sides, with a 14-inch disk of parchment or wax paper and fill with dried beans or other small weights.
  11. Bake the tart crust until it is dry looking and set, about 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, and continue baking until it is evenly light golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  12. Cool the crust on a rack and use it the same day you bake it