With berries coming into season, now is a good time to start thinking about fresh berry tarts. Here is a terrific recipe from Nick Stellino, the public television chef/personality and host of Nick Stellino Cooking with Friends 2 (airing on NJN, Sundays @1 pm). The companion cookbook to the series is now available.
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2 pounds fresh berries, whole or cut in slices
1 cup apple jelly
11/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons chilled butter,�cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons cold water
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the pastry and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Place in an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and trim off the excess. Prick the pastry with a fork. Line the inside of the pastry shell with foil or parchment paper. Fill with dry beans and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove the foil (or parchment) and beans and cook the shell for 5 more minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool.
Prepare the Vanilla Custard, pour into the pastry shell and spread into a smooth layer. Carefully arrange the whole or sliced berries in concentric circles on top of the custard until it is covered. Heat the apple jelly in a nonstick saucepan. When it is warm and soft, use a pastry brush to spread the jelly on top of the tart and all the way around the edges of the pastry. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
For an alternate presentation (see photo), you can line six to eight tartlets with the pastry dough and proceed with the same recipe.
In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Using the pulse function only, add the butter a bit at a time, pulsing to combine. Add the egg and water and pulse again until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and form into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at�least 20 minutes until ready to use.
In a large saucepan, heat the half-and-half over medium heat.
Mix all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl with a wire whisk. When the half-and-half is hot, add half of it in a slow stream to the egg mixture, stirring continuously. Add the other half and continue stirring. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Click here for video demonstration of the dish.
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