We love berries, baked in crumbles or pies, mixed into smoothies and sorbets, and eaten fresh out of hand. There are mounds of them in the markets this week, so we're in berry heaven. This delicious tart is one of our favorites, adapted from a recipe by Andreas Viestad of "New Scandinavian Cooking" -- the very dependable pâte sucrée sweet crust is from The Martha Stewart Cookbook, and will even stand up to the extra rolling it inevitably gets when the kids see the rolling pin come out of the cupboard.
If you don't have one of these varieties of berries -- blackberries seem to have a much shorter season here than blueberries and raspberries -- use any combination totalling about 18 oz. This may be a little much for the pan, but you can either eat the rest or save them for garnish. I've used mascarpone when I can't find crème frâiche, and it works well too, although I like the crème frâiche a little better -- the filling will be a bit thicker.
Summer Berry Tart
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
5 egg yolks, divided use
4 tablespoons ice water
1 cup (8 oz.) crème frâiche
1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
6 oz. each raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries
For the tart crust, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, and add the sugar. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Lightly beat 2 egg yolks with the ice water, and add to the flour and butter mixture, mixing with your hands until the dough just holds together, but do not overmix or the crust will be tough.
Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, flattening it into a disk. (This will make the dough easier to roll.) Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly-floured board until about 1/4 inch thick. Gently press the dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom, without stretching the dough. Trim the edges about 3/4 inch longer than the top edge of the pan, and fold this edge in, pressing gently; this extra thickness will help strengthen the edges when you remove the tart from the pan. (Gather the remaining pâte sucrée into a ball and chill for up to a day in the refrigerator or a month in the freezer. It will probably be enough for another full-sized crust.) Lightly press an empty tart pan or pie plate on top of the crust; this will act as a weight and prevent puffing and shrinking while the crust bakes. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the tart shell for 15 minutes. Remove the extra pan and return the pastry to the oven for a few minutes, to let the pastry dry out. Let the tart shell cool on a wire rack before filling.
For the filling, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the specks of seeds with the tip of a sharp knife; mix this into the crème frâiche, and discard the pod. Add the sugar, then 3 egg yolks, and mix well.
Put the berries into the tart crust, reserving some for garnish if you like, and pour the crème frâiche mixture evenly over the top. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the center is set and golden brown. Garnish with reserved berries, if desired.
Cover and refrigerate any leftovers; this will keep for a day or two.
Makes 1 tart. Preparation time, about 1 hour, plus 1 1/2 hours chilling time for the tart crust.