tart with raspberries and vanilla pastry cream

for this weeks weekend herb blogging, hosted by ulrike this week, i wanted to cook or bake something with my favourite berry - raspberries! raspberries are super-berries: they possess almost 50% higher antioxidant activity than strawberries, three times that of kiwis, and ten times the antioxidant activity of tomatoes. they got loads of vitamins, too and the best thing about them is that they are not only really healthy but yummy, too. sometimes i think it's almost a shame to cook something with them. they taste so sweet and delicious that they are best eaten fresh from the garden - maybe a small shower of vanillasugar - but really it cant get any better than a pure sweet little raspberry.

i made a tart with a light pastry cream (sorry, still got butter in it...) that is topped with some raspberries i got fresh from the market. the peppermint is optional but i always find it adds a wonderful dash of freshness to this sweet little number.


ready baked pastry shell*

for the pastry cream:
500ml whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
a generous pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
110g sugar
2 large eggs
40g butter, cut in small cubes

about 500g fresh raspberries
fresh peppermint leaves, to garnish

r the pastry cream pour milk, vanilla seeds and salt in a pan and put over medium heat. bring just to the boil - but make sure the milk doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan (this will add a horrible burn-taste to this wonderful cream!).
mix the sugar, cornstarch and eggs in a mixing bowl until smooth. slowly add about 1/3 of the milk mixture into the sugar/egg-mixture and whisk constantly. then pour this mixture back into the pan and - while constantly whisking - heat up again. in a dash this will thicken beautifully - whisk until you reach a wonderful thick-creamy vanilla-cream. remove from heat immediately and pour into a bowl (if you want to be an overachiever, you can pour the cream through a thin sieve into the bowl. it adds a more silky and softer consistency, but this is really only when you want (or have) to show off!). stir with a rubber spatula from time to time to release the heat. then add the butter cubes - one after the other, always whisking until smooth before you add the next one.
cool cream and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the cream to prevent forming a skin on the surface. keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.

to assemble, place ready baked & cooled pastry shell on a cakestand, fill pastry cream into shell and top with raspberries. garnish with fresh peppermint leaves.

*mix 125g soft butter with 90g sugar until pale. add one large egg , when incorporated, add 250g flour. mix until dough just comes together. roll into ball, flatten, wrap in clingfilm and let rest in the fridge for an hour or so.
then roll out between two sheets of baking paper and fit into a 20cm round pastry tin. fill with baking beans (i usally take some uncooked chick-peas) and bake at 180c° for about 15 minutes. remove baking beans and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden. let cool.