Fruit tarts are such a great thing to make when you really want to impress someone. The best part is they are actually quite easy, once you get the hang of it. For these fresh berry tartelettes feel free to top with any fresh berries you want, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, or more!
All traditional French tarts are comprised of two components: the tart shell and the tart filling. They can be savory or sweet, but there are a few classic combinations which never go out of style. When they are small or personal sized, they are called tartelettes, so these fresh berry tartelettes are meant to be for just one person.
If you want to make a large tart you absolutely can. This recipe will give you more than enough dough to roll out a standard size tart like I use for my lemon tart or the very rich chocolate tart. Don’t get this confused with my rustic blueberry tart which is more like a cross between a linzer torte and a pie.
As mentioned above, tarts are made up of two components. In this case, the shell is made from a standard pate sucree, and the filling is a classic creme patisserie. I’ve topped these fresh berry tartelettes with blueberries, but go ahead and use whatever fresh berries you like!
How To Make Fresh Berry Tartelettes
The first step to making these berry tartelettes is to make the tart shell. In this case we are using pate sucree, which is a sweet dough only used for dessert tarts. This is different than pate brisee which is most often used for savory tarts like quiche lorraine.
Pate Sucree Ingredients
Fortunately, pate sucree does not require any odd or hard to find ingredients. In fact, I often make tart shells just because I have all the ingredients and figure I will think up a new tart dessert in a day or two. The one thing I recommend, as with all baking recipes, is to correctly follow the weight requirements of each recipe.
150 grams Flour – All Purpose flour works well here. If you use cake or bread flour the crust may have unfavorable results.
50 grams Sugar – white granulated sugar is best in this recipe.
110 grams Butter – Use a quality butter with a higher fat percentage than standard American butter if you can find it. I recommend something above 82% fat (I use 82.5% fat butter for both my sweet and savory tarts).
1 large Egg Yolk
1 tbsp Milk
5 grams Vanilla Powder – if you want to use vanilla extract instead then measure out just a teaspoon.
1/4 tsp Salt
How To Make Pate Sucree Dough
Add all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, vanilla powder, salt) to the bowl of a stand mixer and let combine. You can also do this with a whisk as it all combines pretty easily.
Next add in the butter and let run until you have a crumbly, sandy mixture. If you squeeze the mix together with your fingers it will press together, but will fall apart quickly. You want your butter to be colder than room temperature, but it does not need to be super chilled like many American pie crust recipes.
Finally add in the egg yolk and milk. Run the machine until you have a clumpy, almost cookie-dough consistency mix. In fact, pate sucree does make pretty decent sugar cookies if you wanted to do cut-out shape cookies to decorate with kids.
Remove the pate sucree dough from the mixer and form into a ball. Place in a bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Then place the bowl in the fridge to chill for a couple hours.
Baking Tart or Tartelette Shells
When your dough is sufficiently chilled (cold but not rock hard) remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out to about a third of a centimeter (about 3-4mm).
If you are making a large single tart you will want to make the entire sheet quite uniform with no cracks or lumps. However if you are making tartelettes then you can divide the dough into smaller pieces which are easier to roll out.
Press the dough into your tart or tartelette molds so they are firmly compacted into shape. Then run a thin knife all along the edge to remove excess dough. I like to do this step already on my silicone baking mat so there is little movement.
Dock (poke holes) into the bottom of the shells, and then line the shells with foil. Fill with pie weights, dry rice, or dry beans. Place the tray into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180C or 356F.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes. Then remove the foil and rice and place back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes. If you see the tart getting too dark earlier in the oven then you can pull them out, that means your dough was likely too thin and is already fully baked.
How To Make The Best Creme Patisserie
Like many French dishes, the ingredients are simple – the technique is important. However the technique to make this creme patisserie is quite easy. The only thing you really have to watch out for is making sure the custard does not get too hot as you cook. Creme patisserie is the base for plenty of custard based tarts with juice infused fillings like a vibrant purple blackcurrant tart.
500 ml Milk
4 Egg Yolks
45 grams Potato Starch – you can substitute corn starch if you want.
75 grams Sugar – this is about 6 tablespoons plus one teaspoon.
2 grams Vanilla Powder – if you can use a scraped vanilla bean pod that would be even better
45 grams Butter – about 3 tablespoons. Try to use a European butter, or one with more than 82% fat content.
1 pinch Salt
Place a pan on medium-low heat and add the milk. Bring to a light simmer. While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla powder, and salt in another bowl.
Add the egg mix to the hot milk whisking constantly so the egg doesn’t cook and cause everything to curdle. When you have a shiny mixture add the potato starch and whisk, then drop in the butter and whisk that in until fully melted and combined. Your end mixture should be thick and shiny. Do not let the creme patisserie split – if it looks like it is getting too hot take it off the heat.
Move the creme patisserie from the pan to a bowl. Press down a sheet of plastic wrap directly into the custard to prevent a film. Let sit until the creme patisserie comes to room temperature, then place in the fridge to chill before filling the tartelette shells.
Making The Fresh Berry Tartelettes
Once your tart shells and your creme patisserie are room temperature/chilled you can begin making the tartelettes. Just spoon some of the pastry cream into the tart shell, and then top with your choice of fresh berries. Place them in the fridge to chill completely before serving.
What To Make With Extra Egg Whites?
Because this recipe calls for more egg yolks than the whites, you are sure to have some leftover whites you don’t know what to do with. Here are a few recipes that utilize those egg whites so nothing goes to waste!
Italian Amaretti Cookies – these almond flour and meringue based cookies are a delightful little Italian treat, which pairs perfectly with a shot of espresso.
Financiers – These French cakes go well with afternoon tea, and they use similar ingredients to the Amaretti mentioned above!
Cocktail Foam – Did you know that the foam in cocktails like a Summer on Corfu or the Treaty of Paris comes from an added egg white? Today you can sub in chickpea water or even artificial cocktail foamer, but for the original cocktail foam you’ll want an egg white.
Egg White Frittata – for a lower cholesterol version of a regular Italian frittata you can use only egg whites! In my opinion they make this baked egg dish even lighter than normal.
Pavlova – this traditional Australian dessert is essentially a baked meringue topped with fresh fruit and sometimes jam. The mini version makes a great party dessert to really impress your guests.
Fresh Berry Tartelettes
- 12 Tartelette Molds | you can use six and just bake in two batches
- 1 stand mixer | optional, but makes everything much easier
- 1 Baking Tray
- 1 Baking Mat | optional, if you don't have silicone then use parchment paper
- 1 Whisk | for the creme patisserie
- 150 grams Flour All Purpose flour works well here. If you use cake or bread flour the crust may have unfavorable results.
- 50 grams Sugar white granulated sugar is best in this recipe.
- 110 grams Butter Use a quality butter with a higher fat percentage than standard American butter if you can find it. I recommend something above 82% fat I use 82.5% fat butter for both my sweet and savory tarts.
- 1 large Egg Yolk
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 5 grams Vanilla Powder if you want to use vanilla extract instead then measure out just a teaspoon.
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 500 ml Milk
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 45 grams Potato Starch you can substitute corn starch if you want.
- 75 grams Sugar this is about 6 tablespoons plus one teaspoon.
- 2 grams Vanilla Powder if you can use a scraped vanilla bean pod that would be even better
- 45 grams Butter about 3 tablespoons. Try to use a European butter or one with more than 82% fat content.
- 1 pinch Salt
- 2 cups Fresh Berries this is just an estimation. You may need more or less depending on the size of your berries or which berries you choose.
- Add the flour, salt, sugar, and vanilla powder to the bowl of a stand mixer. Quickly whisk together.
- Add the butter and beat until you have a crumbly, sandy mixture.
- Add the eggs and milk and mix until you have a grainy, sugar cookie style dough. Remove from the mixer and place into the fridge to chill. Note: if your kitchen is very cold you might not need to chill the dough and you can go right on to the next step.
- Roll out your dough to about 1/3cm thickness. Drape it into your tart or tartelette molds on a baking tray and press the dough into the sides so it is evenly shaped. Poke holes on the bottom with a fork. Line the dough with foil and fill with pie weights, dry rice, or dry beans. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180C or 355F
- Place the tray into the oven to bake for 12-14 minutes. Take out and remove the foil/weights. Place back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and let the shells cool in the molds for a few minutes. Then knock them loose and place on a cooling rack until they come to room temperature.
- Add the milk to a pan on medium low heat.
- In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla powder, and salt.
- When the milk is hot, add the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Whisk in the potato starch and whisk continuously until you have a thick mixture. Drop in the butter and whisk that in, then pour the custard into a bowl.
- Press plastic wrap directly into the surface of the custard and allow to come to room temperature before filling the tartelettes.
- When the shells and creme patisserie are at room temperature, spoon the custard filling into the shell and top with fresh berries. Place in the fridge to chill for at least two hours before serving.
Fresh Berry Tartelettes
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