Because the fruit is not baked in this type of tart, the shell needs to be prepared and baked ahead of time. It is then filled with French pastry cream and the berries, and glazed.
1 unbaked pâte sablée, or sweet pie crust
2 cups dried beans
1 sheet of aluminum foil
1 cup pastry cream (see recipe below)
1/2 pound (250 g.) fresh raspberries
3 tbsp. raspberry or red currant jelly
Begin by making the pâte sablée. Plan on using a tart pan or pie pan about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. When you pat the dough into the pan, make sure that the sides are sturdy, especially if using a tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the tart shell in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (400 F, 205 C).
Line the chilled tart shell with aluminum foil and fill with the dried beans. Their weight will keep the unfilled shell from puffing up while it is baking. It doesn’t matter what type of beans you use, and you can save them for another use once they’ve cooled off after baking.
Place the tart shell in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until it is golden brown. Remove the shell from the oven and immediately remove the foil and beans. Allow to cool.
While the tart shell is cooling, prepare your crème pâtissière — French pastry cream.
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. cognac or 1 tsp. vanilla
In a medium-size saucepan, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a wire whisk until the mixture becomes smooth and turns a paler yellow. Whisk in the flour.
In a separate saucepan, heat the milk to simmering. Do not let it boil.
Pour the hot milk in a thin stream into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Now place the pan over a medium flame and heat until it thickens to the consistency of custard, about 5 minutes. While it is heating, stir it with a wooden spoon to detach any lumps that may form on the bottom of the pan.
When the mixture has thickened, whisk and continue cooking for one minute more.
Remove from heat, stir in the butter and cognac or vanilla, whisk again and set aside until ready to use. If you are making the pastry cream well in advance, turn it into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Wait to assemble the tart until the baked shell and the pastry cream have cooled to room temperture.
Spoon the pastry cream into the tart shell and spread it evenly over the bottom. Place the raspberries on top in concentric circles.
Heat the jelly in a small saucepan until it liquifies. Using a pastry brush, dab a little jam on each berry. Then spoon the rest over the cream to give it a bright red color.
Refrigerate the tart until ready to serve it. Serves 6.
* Chosen by FrenchEntrée.com to celebrate 100 issues of FrenchEntrée magazine
I once made a similar tart w/ strawberries and I put the liquified currant jelly on as a glaze. When I went to serve it, I discovered it wound up melting the whole tart! If you let the jelly cool, it’s no longer liquid. What’s the secret?
The secret is to use a pastry brush — a paintbrush with fine, natural bristles will do — and to dab the warm jelly on each berry without drizzling it on the tart. Then when the jelly cools to lukewarm, you can drizzle what’s left onto the tart.