berrytart with creme lègere

hello weekend! due to the total absence of summer around here, lets drool over some sweet summer berries. they are the gold of summer. jucy, full of flavour and colour.
its what i crave, when summer is finally here, trying to use every opportunity to buy a punnet of strawberries, grab a hand full of blueberries or - and this is heaven - go pick my own raspberries. 

summer berries are the aroma of home. for me, everything started with berries.
my wonderful grandmother had this big garden where she allowed us to pick fresh rasberries, look for wild strawberries and go all gaga climbing the cherry tree to harvest the first fresh cherries. the older i get and the longer i cook, i start to realize that this is the place where i learnt how to taste.
she teached me how a real rasberry tasted like. how juicy it got to be, to be the real mccoy. the soft texture that still held its form.

over 30 years later i still picture myself and grandmother picking berries, putting them into my harvesting basket. i was not only the youngest but also the smallest of the family, so she made sure to buy me a special tiny one, she would carefully tie around my little body.  it feels like yesterday. i can still taste the aroma of those freshly picked berries in her garden. - sadly, grandma is gone, but the aroma of sweet berries will always remind me of her.

and in that sense i do believe that "home is where a berrytart is..."

You dont really need much more, if you have a generous colander full of freshly picked berries. Maybe a tart shell, a soft creme lègere - a dust of powdered sugar. you know, sometimes heaven is pretty easy.
grandma would agree!


for the sweet shortcrust pastry (from eric lanlard):
makes 250 g
115 g flour
50 g unsalted butter, cut in small cubes
25 g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, mixed
1 tablespoon milk

for the creme lègere:
500 ml full fat milk
5 egg yolks
125 g sugar
45 g flour
1 vanilla pod, seeds sraped out
about 100 - 150 g full fat cream

about 500g of mixed fresh berries
powdered sugar, for serving

make the shortcrust pastry first: sift the flour into a mixing bowl. add butter and rub in with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, make a well in the centre. beat egg yolk with vanilla extract, add to well and form into a soft dough. wrap into clingfilm and let rest for about an hour. then knead dough minimaly, roll out very thinly between two sheets of baking paper (its a little tricky but hang on in there!).  prepare a 23 cm round loose-bottomed flan tin, by greasing it with some butter, then line with the pastry. trim excess pastry by rolling a rolling pin across the top. prick the base of the pastry with a fork.

line with greaseproof paper and fill with ceramic beans. blink bake at 200 °C for 10 minutes until pastry is golden. remove beans, and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the base is dried out. let cool. then mix 1 egg with 1 tablespoon milk and brush tart with mixture to seal it.  put aside.

to make the creme lègere mix vanilla seeds & scraped out podswith the milk and put on medium heat. whisk egg yolks and sugar in your kitchen aid until very pale and creamy. then add flour and mix. when milk is just starting to boil, pour half of it onto the egg mixture, mix - put back in the pan, mix well and bring liquid back to the boil, mixing all the time so nothing burns! cook for 1 minute from the point at where the creme first starts to boil. remove from heat and pour into a rectangular dish. cover surface immediately with baking paper and let cool.
before filling the tart, whisk cream, then fold it carefully into 300g of the cooled pastry cream. add more whipped cream if you want to have a lighter texture.

add it to the baked pastry shell, even the surface, then sprinkle generously with the berries. dust with powdered sugar before serving.