Here’s one of my favorite desserts of all time, a classic summer tart filled with a lovely diplomat cream and lots of beautiful strawberries and raspberries. The tart dough is super-easy to make, coming together in a food processor, and once chilled, is just as easy to work with. The diplomat cream – pastry cream lightened with whipped cream – is a sweet, creamy foil to the fresh berries, while an apricot glaze gives the tart a polished look. I also brush the baked tart shell with a layer of raspberry preserves, which boosts the fruit flavor. Finally, I like to sprinkle the edge of the tart with finely chopped pistachio nuts, but you can use whatever nut you choose, or even a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
Makes one 11-inch tart, serving 8 to 10
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (244 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (122 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons (127 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened
- 1 large (50 grams) egg
Diplomat Cream Filling:
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
- 1 large (50 grams) egg
- 1 large (18 grams) egg yolk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ¼ cups (302 grams) whole milk
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons (21 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 6 tablespoons (87 grams) heavy cream
Raspberry Jam Layer:
- 1/3 cup (106 grams) seedless raspberry preserves
Red Berry Fruit Topping:
- 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) fresh ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and patted dry with a paper towel
- One 6-ounce (170-gram) container fresh raspberries, large ones cut in half
Glaze and Garnish:
- ¼ cup (80 grams) apricot jam
- ¾ teaspoon water
- Finely chopped pistachio nuts
Make the tart dough:
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt.
- Put the butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Scatter the flour mixture over the butter and pulse a few times to combine. Add the egg and process just until the dough begins to form a mass. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape it into a disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Make the pastry cream:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, egg, egg yolk and salt until blended. Continue to whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk and sugar over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until it just begins to bubble around the edges. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture until well blended, then pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking vigorously constantly, until it is boiling and thickened. Continue to whisk over the heat for just 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Pass the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a shallow container or bowl, scraping the bottom of the sieve with a rubber spatula to remove all the pastry cream. Whisk in the vanilla paste. Cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour. (You will add the cream later.)
Roll out the crust:
- Lightly butter an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Lightly flour a large work surface. Place the unwrapped dough disk on the floured surface and sprinkle some flour over it. Roll the dough from the center out in every direction, lightly flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. You want a round about 1/8 inch or slightly less thick and about 13 inches in diameter.
- Transfer the crust to the tart pan by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling it carefully over the pan. Press the dough first into the bottom of the pan and then against the sides. Roll the pin over the top of the dough to remove the excess dough. Lightly prick the bottom of the tart shell at 1-inch intervals with a fork. Chill the tart shell for 30 minutes before baking.
Pre-bake the tart crust:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the tart shell with a piece of parchment paper or lightly buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down, covering the edge of the crust so that it doesn’t get too brown. Fill the lined crust with pie weights, dried beans, or raw rice. Place and tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Bake the crust for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool the tart crust on a wire rack.
Finish the diplomat cream:
- Once the pastry cream has chilled, put the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until the whisk begins to leave trails in the cream. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chilled pastry cream until combined.
Begin to assemble the tart:
- Spoon the raspberry jam onto the bottom of the baked tart crust and spread it into an even layer that covers the bottom. Scrape or pipe the diplomat cream on top of the jam and smooth it into an even layer. Refrigerate the tart while you prepare the fruit topping.
- Cut the strawberries in half, and arrange them as you like on top of the filling, leaving gaps for the raspberries. Fill the gaps with the raspberries.
Glaze the fruit:
- Put the apricot jam and water in a small microwavable cup and microwave on high power for about 20 seconds, until the jam is melted. Stir well with a spoon to blend, then pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Brush the top of the berries with the glaze. Sprinkle the top edge of the tart with the chopped pistachios. Refrigerate the tart until ready to serve, preferably in an airtight container.