The other day, our friends Mike and Lauren invited us over for some homemade Italian meatballs and spaghetti, which were absolutely delicious. I was always raised that when going to someone’s house for dinner, to never show up empty handed. This is a philosophy I try my best to uphold too. So I asked Lauren would I could bring and she suggested dessert. Easy-peasy. I decided to stick with the Italian theme and made an Italian berry tart.
I made the tart half with strawberries, so Larry would eat it, and half with a combination of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Either side, whichever one you chose, was delicious. So when you make this tart you can make it with any kind of berries you like, or no berries at all, and use cherries instead. Cherries or berries, I have made it both ways, and both ways are very, very good.
Italian Berry Tart
The dough was a slightly different version of a pate sucre or a sugar pasty dough. The Italian version is known as a pasta frolla and is the basis for most Italian tarts or crostate.
The Crust or Crostata
2 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp either lemon or orange zest
1 1 2/ sticks cold butter, cubed
2 eggs or 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Combine all the dry ingredients and the butter in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds or until it all resembles a coarse sand. Then add the eggs, cream and vanilla, and pulse again until it all forms into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using.
Once the dough is ready, roll it to your desired shape on a lightly floured surface.
The Custard and Fruit Filling
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 TBSP sweet liqueur of your choice
2 1/2-3 cups of your choice of berries
Preheat the oven to 350* F or 190* C.
Roll the dough to fill a 10 inch tart pan. Firmly press the dough into the sides and the bottom with your fingertips.
Add your berries to cover the bottom of the shell.
Combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, liqueur and salt and mix well, then carefully pour over the fruit, making sure to completely cover it all with the custard mixture.
Carefully place it into the oven and let it bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until the custard is set and the crust is lightly golden.
Allow the tart to cool completely then dust with powdered sugar.
This is most definitely a crowd pleaser. Everyone is going to love it. Lauren kept going back for a few more bites after we had finished. It is perfectly sweet without being overly sweet. In a word – Perfecto!
Have a great day Everyone. Stay cool, stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.