Trying to figure out what to make for that fourth of July party coming up? Look no farther than this epic fig and berry tart. If you’re feeling particularly festive, you can even decorate it like the flag.
Few people get as excited as I do by summer fruit. Much as I love winter citrus season, there is nothing as exciting as the figs, berries, peaches, and nectarines that color your summer.
Sometimes you just need a treat
Although I usually post healthier and lighter recipes. This tart is not lighter than other tarts. It’s also not vegan, gluten free, or low-sugar. It is however delicious in small amounts and topped with the juiciest array of berries and figs.
Last weekend my mother was hosting a jazz concert with Danny Green Trio and Strings at her house in San Diego, and I was invited to help cook and set up the event. Not one to turn down a trip to San Diego, I hopped on a flight to San Diego with my favorite baking book, Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America. My mother had suggested a summery dessert and I settled on baking a tart, with the freshest array of berries I can find.
Though time consuming and labor intensive to make, this decadent tart is worth the effort, sure to impress even the harshest food critics. Please find the recipe below with tips on blind baking and getting that perfect tart dough.
Fig and Summer Berry Tart
Adapted from Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America
- 1 stick butter (at room temperature)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup water (at room temperature)
- 1cup uncooked black beans or rice (for blind baking)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tbs. vanilla extract
- 2 tbs. butter
- 1 cup strawberries
- 4 fresh figs
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup rasberries (I used yellow)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Set eggs and butter out to bring to room temperature. Note it’s important that your butter is just soft enough to cream but not melted, otherwise you will get a rougher, crunchier tart crust. I would suggest not microwaving your butter to soften.
Prepare the dough. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer on medium speed until light in color (approximately 2 minutes). Try not to cream to the point that the butter starts to melt. You want a thicker buttery consistency. Add the egg yolk and and blend until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the flour in and blend manually using a wooden spoon. The dough will become extremely crumbly. Turn out onto a large flat surface and do your best to press into a large disk. Add a sprinkle of water if dough is too crumbly to form a disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
As your dough is refrigerating, begin preparing your ingredients for the cream filling. Separate eggs and set yolks aside.
In a large bowl combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup of sugar (note not all of the sugar the recipe calls for). Mix and set aside.
Remove your dough from the refrigerator and place on a large flat lightly floured surface. Begin working dough into a ball adding sprinkles of water to help the dough stick. The dough should still be a little crumbly but not not so much that it can’t stick together. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Carefully roll out the dough so that it is slightly larger than your tart pan. Wrap your dough carefully around the rolling pin and carefully transfer it into your tart pan. Fill in any cracks for holes using your fingers to press excess dough in place. Roll your rolling pin over the edges of your tart pan to remove excess crust from the edges. Use a fork to puncture the crust about 8-10 times.
Partially blind bake your crust by covering with either parchment paper or tin foil and weighing it down with uncooked beans or uncooked rice. Cook covered for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil. Return to the oven and bake for approximately 5-10 minutes until crust is golden but not burnt. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare your filling. Mix cornstarch mixture with 1/2 cup of milk. Blend egg yolks with cornstarch mixture using a wire whisk until completely smooth.
Prepare an ice bath by filling a large wide pan with ice. Set aside.
In a large heavy flat-bottomed sauce pan, combine remaining half cup milk with remaining half cup of sugar. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil stirring carefully.
Remove from heat and temper egg mixture by gradually adding about 1/4 of the milk mixture and stirring vigorously to avoid cooking the eggs. Carefully add the rest of the hot mixture slowly in 1/4 increments stirring as you add.
Return the mixture to the sauce pan and cook over medium heat stirring vigorously until the mixture begins to bubble and your wish leaves a trail in the cream. As soon as you reach this stage remove from heat and mix in butter and vanilla. Transfer the pagan to an ice bath and allow to cool for approximately 30 minutes stirring ever 10 minutes.
One both your crust and your filling have cooled to room temperature, prepare your tart. Using a spatula, coat your tart crust with an even layer of filling to the top of the crust.
Using your berries and figs create a beautiful circular summery design. Remove outer ring from tart pan and impress all your friends and family with your culinary prowess.