Pastry cream is nothing more than homemade pudding and this recipe is prepared with just six (pronounceable) ingredients. It might be almost as easy as opening a box of instant pudding. Except for the pesky part where Google plus a chemistry degree might be necessary to decode the ingredients on the box. When in doubt, go with simple. And homemade.
The recipe components make more than enough for a few desserts. Tart. Berry parfait. Or a berry streusel tart. Or pudding (pastry cream) in a cup topping with cooked berries. Or a pudding tart topped with oh, say, chocolate shavings. Lots and lots of chocolate. Or a tart with berries drizzled with melted chocolate. It’s the dessert that keeps on giving – in a good way.
Coconut milk is a really nice flavor change from plain vanilla. But, too much coconut milk and the pastry cream becomes a little bit like sitting inside a coconut eating coconut sludge. I’ve tried to make that work a hundred ways and it always comes out like big giant coconut and overwhelms the other ingredients. A little coconut goes a long way. It should be a light flavor with a hint of vanilla.
Use whatever berries you enjoy and find affordable. This year, with the big fat drought in California, each berry type has a turn at being more expensive than the others. One week the blackberries were very pricey and the next week the were just about giving them away. This week raspberries are having a turn at being spendy. Get what works for you.
All berries work well in the tart – a mix is nice just because it looks pretty and guards against some being more tart than others. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the berries are sweet until you get them home, washed and taste one. This season, the blackberries are a mystery. Some look like they would be perfectly sweet and they taste like sweet-tarts. Or lemon in disguise. Others that look almost unripe are perfectly sweet. Welcome to fruit on drought. Pricey, limited and a mixed bag of ripeness.
The amount of pastry cream in the bottom of the tart is totally up to you. I’m guessing there is a rule about that written in ink in some pastry book somewhere, but it’s your pastry cream. Use what you like. A little or a lot. We like a medium amount just because pudding is a favorite around here. But if I was trying to be fancy and making this for company I’d use less so guests would be less apt to have to use a spoon to scoop up the stuff that slips out of the cut tart. A shallow layer is more elegant when the tart is cut into pieces, but if it’s just us – we like a little tart crust with our pudding and berries.
Got pie crust? Got a few minutes to make pastry cream (aka pudding)? Got berries? You’ve got dessert. Lots of desserts.
|Coconut Cream Mixed Berry Tart|| |
- 300 grams Canteen flour blend (2⅓ cups) (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 113 grams unsalted chilled butter, cubed (8 tablespoons)
- 70 grams Spectrum shortening (5 tablespoons)
- 40-60 grams cold water (up to ¼ cup)
- 240 grams full fat canned coconut milk (1 cup)
- 720 grams whole milk (3 cups)
- 30 grams corn starch (4 tablespoons)
- 65 grams granulated sugar (1/3 cup)
- 4 extra large egg yolks (save whites for another purpose)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 240 grams mixed fresh berries (your choice) (about 1 ½ cups)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place an 8 or 9-inch tart pan on a baking sheet. In a food processor pulse together flour, sugar and salt until combined. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture forms coarse uneven crumbs. Add cold water a few tablespoons at a time and stop once the mixture forms a ragged and somewhat smeary ball of dough. You might not use all the water. Turn out onto plastic wrap and knead just until the dough comes together.
- Divide dough in half. Wrap half and freeze for another purpose (or make two tarts). Roll dough between sheets of plastic wrap and set into a tart pan. Save a little bit of dough to patch if needed. Bake the tart crust for 20-25 minutes or until it is golden brown. Use raw dough to patch any cracks and bake 5 minutes more. Place tart on a rack to cool completely before filling with pastry cream.
- In a large sauce pan whisk together coconut milk and whole milk with cornstarch and sugar until smooth. Add the yolks and whisk until smooth. Cook over low heat stirring frequently until the mixture bubbles and simmers for a few minutes until thick. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a container and cover the top of the pastry cream with plastic wrap. Cool until cream is at least room temperature before filling crust.
- Fill crust with a shallow layer of pastry cream. Save remaining cream for dessert parfaits or another tart. Add berries on top, pressing in a little - in any pattern you want, using as many as possible but leaving a little cream showing. Refrigerate tart until serving time. Best served cold and the same day.