Whenever I go out for coffee, I like to treat myself to something sweet. Fruit tarts of any kind are a firm favourite of mine. However, I’m always slightly disappointed when the pastry cases are just filled with cream. The crème pat with the mascarpone in this recipe is delicious, certainly not disappointing. For these tarts, I chose strawberries that were quite small so that I could keep them whole. Some of the blackberries were outrageously large, which I just loved. For the pastry, I followed Eric Lanlard’s recipe from his book Tart it Up! This is the best pastry I’ve tasted and it works every time. I now only ever use his pastry recipes. Of course, if you’re short of time, you can always buy it.
Adapted from Waitrose Early Summer Harvest, 2014
375g sweet shortcrust pastry
2 tablespoons apricot jam
For the crème pâtissière
3 medium egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
350ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Eric Lanlard’s Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
(This makes 500g, you only need 375 for the berry tarts, but the pastry freezes well for 6 weeks)
200g plain flour
4 tablespoons golden caster sugar
200g unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl.
- Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre and add the rest of the ingredients.
- Use fingertips to mix and ingredients and make a dough.
- Turn pastry out onto a floured surface and gather into a ball.
- Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180°c /fan 160°c/ Gas Mark 4
- Roll pastry out onto buttered mini tart tins.
- Prick the pastry and chill for a further 15 minutes.
- Place a large piece of grease proof pastry over the case and fill it with baking beads, (or in my case dried split peas).
- Cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 10 minutes until the pastry is dry and crisp and the top edges of the tarts are golden.
- Preheat oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ Gas Mark 4.
- Make the crème pâtissière by whisking together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a heatproof bowl.
- Pour milk into a saucepan, add the vanilla and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from heat, strain through a sieve onto the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Return to the pan and set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Transfer to a bowl, press a sheet of cling film onto the surface (this will prevent a skin forming) and leave to cool.
- Once the crème pâtissière has cooled completely, beat in the mascarpone then spoon or pipe the mixture into the pastry cases and top with berries.
- Heat the jam in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Pass through a sieve then use a pastry brush to paint the glaze onto the fruit.
- Transfer to the fridge to chill for 1 hour before serving.