I decided to make this festive tart since I had leftover pastry cream from the Strawberry Cream Cake and a few leftover blueberries from testing compote. If you don’t have leftovers like I did, I included a half batch recipe of the pastry cream. And use whatever berries you like! Cherries and strawberry slices would be nice red stripes, anything can get covered in the confectioners’ sugar for the white stripes, and blackberries and black raspberries can sub for the blueberries.
Makes 9 to 12 servings
Puff Pastry Base:
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Half-Batch Lightened Pastry Cream:
- 1 cup (240 grams) milk, divided
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks (37 grams)
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (116 grams) heavy cream
- 3 pints of fresh berries, such as raspberries and blueberries
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Make the Puff Pastry Base:
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Place the puff pastry sheet on a work surface and roll it out to a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Trim the edges so that they are even and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. With a paring knife, score a 3/4-inch border around the pastry. Using a fork, prick inside the border the dough all over, but not the border itself. Brush the dough with the heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is golden brown and puffed up. Transfer the base to a wire rack and cool completely.
Make the Pastry Cream:
- In a medium mixing bowl, add about ¼ cup of the milk with the cornstarch and egg yolks and whisk to combine.
- In a medium saucepan, add the rest of the milk along with the sugar, set over medium heat and whisk occasionally to melt the sugar. Bring to a simmer.
- Once at a simmer, slowly add the milk mixture to the eggs, whisking continuously to temper. Add back to the saucepan and continue to whisk as it thickens. Once the mixture thickens, cook and whisk for another minute.
- Remove from heat, add the butter and then the vanilla, whisking to combine. Transfer mixture to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap allowing it to adhere to the surface to prevent a skin and cool completely in the refrigerator.
- In a clean bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Add 1/3 of the mixture to the pastry cream to lighten it and then fold in the balance. Use immediately or stash in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to one day.
Assemble the Tart:
- If the center of the tart shell is too puffy to add the cream, lightly press down with a meat tenderizer to flatten slightly, leaving the borders intact.
- Spread the pastry cream in the middle of the tart, smoothing out as evenly as possible.
- Decorate the top with berries as desired. If making an American flag, dust every two rows of red berries with confectioners’ sugar to make stripes, using a piece of parchment paper to cover the other rows so they remain red. Serve immediately or stash in the refrigerator up to 4 hours. Best served the day of, but leftovers can remain cold for another 1 to 2 days.