This is a very simple, delicious, fresh and summery dessert. I did not follow a specific recipe; I just made a sweetened pâte brisée, some crème pâtissière (custard filling) and topped it all with berries. When done, they are very cute and pretty.
Sweetened Pâte Brisée
Adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cake flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) chilled butter, diced
- 4 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
- ½ cup ice water
- Drop the flours, salt, sugar and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times to break up the butter.
- Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately pour in the ice water, pulsing about 3 times. At this point, the dough should look like a mass of small lumps and it should just hold when you press a handful together. If it’s too dry, add a few more drops of water and pulse.
- Turn out the dough onto the counter and push blobs of dough with the heel of your hand in front of you. Gather the dough into a relatively smooth cake and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400F (204C).
- Cut the chilled dough in half and keep one half wrapped and in the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the other one into a circular shape about 1/8 inch thick or less. Now, you have to cut out circles for the base of the tartelettes. My tartelette kit comes with a cutter that is the right size for the mold. You can either use a tartelette pan or a muffin pan. If you use a muffin pan, you can use a round cookie cutter that will cut a round to fit the muffin mold. Place the rounds of dough into the greased molds and press the dough in place. You can make a design on the rim if you like. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.
- Grease the shiny side of a piece of aluminum and tear smaller pieces to fit the tartelette molds. Press the lightly against the tartelette shells on the bottom and sides and pour in beans or pie weights so that the bottom doesn’t rise and the sides don’t collapse.
- Bake for 7 to 8 minutes in the lower-middle level of the preheated oven until the shells are set but still soft. Remove the foil and pie weights, prick the bottom again with a fork and return to the oven. Bake for about 4 minutes more, until lightly browned.
- Let cool and remove the shells from the molds.
- Repeat with the rest of the chilled dough.
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup flour
- 2 cups boiling milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks with a wire whisk or electric beater and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is a pale yellow and forms the ribbon. (When you lift a bit of the mixture in the beater or whisk, it will fall back into the bowl forming a slowly dissolving ribbon on the surface.)
- Beat in the flour.
- Beating the yolk mixture, slowly pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets.
- Pour into a 2 ½ quart saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir with a wire whisk. As sauce beings to boil, it will get lumpy but smoothens out as you beat it. When the boil is reached, reduce heat to medium low and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure the custard doesn’t scorch in the bottom.
- Remove from the heat and beat in the butter. Then beat in the vanilla.
- Use immediately.
Forming the Tartelettes
- Tartelette Shells (recipe above)
- Crème pâtissière (recipe above)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries…)
- Pour spoonfuls of the crème pâtissière into the tartelette shells.
- Refrigerate overnight or until the custard is set and cold.
- Top the tartelettes with the berries of your choice.
- Serve cold.
Comments: These are quite easy to make but do take a while. They are fresh, light and not overwhelmingly sweet. I said to use the custard immediately because if you refrigerate it before doing so, the consistency will be more gelatinous and it will become harder to spread in the tartelette shells. If you wish, you can also make this one, large berry tart. You will only need one half of the chilled dough. Roll it out into a circular shape of 1/8 inch thickness and a few inches wider than your pie or tart mold. Proceed as stated above.
*You can eat any leftover crème pâtissière by itself like pudding or with fruits.