Fourth of July and a White Balsamic Custard Tart with Berries
Have I already mentioned how much I love holidays? Well, I think the Fourth of July might be one of my favorites. It may not be as exciting as Christmas or as sentimental as Valentine’s Day, but I think it’s one of the funnest holidays and definitely the most care-free. There’s nothing like presents or candy to distract from anything and all it comes down to is family, friends and some nice food and weather (and maybe a little fireworks too, for good measure). It’s a holiday where people like me can get a little crazy and happy with themed colors in clothes and food, but people who really couldn’t care less for special events or festivities don’t have to actively take part in anything. And really, with a setting of smoky barbecues and summer sunshine, how could anyone dislike the Fourth of July?
Mine was spent like the probable majority of everyone else’s: with food, family and friends. My two sisters visited home (my whole family except my lone brother stuck out in Wisconsin for the summer), and my boyfriend Waylon came over. After starting the day by eating a red white and blue breakfast, I spent my day by alternating between dabbling in the kitchen and laying in the sun on the deck reading my book. My time in the kitchen was mostly consumed by that treat of a tart pictured above and below, but I also spent some time making some molasses ginger baked beans and a corn and cabbage slaw with a cilantro-orange dressing. Besides those things, for dinner we all had beef burgers, some salmon and chips and homemade guacamole my sister made. The dinner was alright, but nothing too spectacular. Although I enjoyed both the salad and baked beans, I’m not sure I would be quick to make them again.
But the dessert, oh I loved it! I forgot to mention my real biggest reason why the Fourth of July is (almost) my favorite holiday–it gives me an excuse to make a big, themed dessert. If I would have pulled something like this out of the fridge on a normal weeknight, my mom would probably curse me for “making us all fat” or something silly like that. But on a holiday? I have full reign to make something beautiful and high in calories for the sake of festivities.
But really, this tart is too good to save just for holidays. I think the wonderful thing about a fruit custard tart is that it’s pretty and rich enough to dress up for a holiday like the Fourth, but it’s seasonal and fresh enough to be enjoyed any day (forget my mom’s reproaches about sweets). Even though I themed it with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries for a patriotic look, any and all other berries and soft fruits pair just as sweetly. The balsamic in the custard gives it an almost sour kick that I really enjoyed. Almost everyone else loved it too, although my mom found it to be too much. I think if I were to make this again (which I will), I would use less white balsamic vinegar, maybe a third of a cup, before reduction. The crust was rich and perfect with the tart-sweetness of the berries and custards. It was also really easy to work with and press into the edges of the pan. All in all a great fruit custard tart recipe–a wonderful treat any summer day.
White Balsamic Custard Tart with Fresh Berry Topping
From Bon Appetit
Amy’s Notes: As mentioned above, I would use a little less balsamic than called for, unless you’re sure everyone is agreeable to it. Also, I arranged the berry topping differently than suggested in the recipe and is reflected in the pictures.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon whipping cream (I used about two)
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 large strawberries, hulled, sliced
2 1/2-pint containers blueberries
1 1/2-pint container raspberries
For the crust, combine flour, sugar, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until coarse meal forms. Add egg yolk and cream. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Press dough evenly into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Pierce dough all over with fork. Chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crust until golden, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 22 minutes. Cool.
For the filling, stir cream and cornstarch in medium bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Add eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla; whisk to blend.
Boil vinegar in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water, sugar, and butter. Stir until butter melts; return to boil. Gradually whisk vinegar mixture into egg mixture; return to pan. Whisk until custard thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Strain into bowl; cool. Spread custard in prepared crust. Cover and chill tart at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
For the topping, arrange strawberry slices in star pattern in center of tart. Arrange raspberries in star pattern. Surround with blueberries. Cover loosely and chill until ready to serve. (Can be made up to 6 hours ahead.)