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Raspberry Tart with Pastry Cream

Raspberry tart: ultimate beauty.

One 9-inch tart


About 30 minutes active time and at least 4 hours of chilling, not including making and baking the Pâte Sucrée


Pies, dumplings, galettes. Let us count the ways pastry can make love to fruit. None, however, in our view, approaches the elegance of a low, fluted pastry shell embracing a crown of berries. The crisp, melting properties of fine pâte sucrée; the chilled, simple lushness of perfectly cooked pastry cream; the signature scent and flavor of ripe, supple berries dabbed with currant glaze—these elements unite in a particularly expressive way. When the balance is just right, the result is so dazzling that it steals the season.

But there are, inevitably, problems associated with fruit tarts. We feel compelled to name a few: crusts can be underbaked, too hard, too thick, or lacking flavor; pastry creams come gummy, lumpy, too thin, and too sweet; berries might be underripe, sour, or tasteless, or the tart might have too few of them. Neglect of a single element will douse the whole effect. And there’s more. Something a fresh berry tart will absolutely not put up with is a two-day stint in the fridge. In fact, were a fruit tart truly expressive, it would probably say, “Eat me quick!”

This recipe represents a double engagement for Anson Mills aristocratic Colonial Style Fine Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour. It is so ethereal, so like angel dust, that the tart pastry falls into layers like mica rather than forming the round, fine-pored crumb associated with butter cookie dough. The finished pastry is shattery-crisp, its flavor at once clean and buttery, a lovely balance of just-sweet, just-salt, and just-vanilla.

We use this flour in the pastry cream, too, with luscious results.

Baking Notes

We chose raspberries for this tart because they are easy to prep, unnecessary to clean, and simple to arrange. They are also tender and gentle, thrillingly fragrant, and jellied on the tongue. We build the center of the tart a bit higher for maximum visual impact and eating enjoyment—there is nothing quite like a party of raspberries in your mouth. Strawberries, sliced or whole, would be lovely here, too. Or mixed berries, season permitting. Just remember: ripe, seasonal, and organic. Most organic berries can go without a shower, which is good, because strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries really hate getting wet. (An exception to this rule would be super-sandy strawberries.)

equipment mise en place

To make the pastry cream, you will need a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or a medium mixing bowl; a whisk; a fine-mesh strainer; a deep, narrow bowl; a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan; a wooden spoon; a ladle; and a rubber spatula.

To finish the tart, you will need a thin metal spatula, a flat serving plate or 9-inch cardboard cake round, a small saucepan, and a pastry brush.

  • for the pastry cream:

    • 6
      large egg yolks

    • 2
      cups half-and-half

    • 0.75
      ounces sifted Anson Mills Colonial Style Fine Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour (about 3 sifted tablespoons)

    • 7
      tablespoons sugar

    • Pinch of fine sea salt

    • 1.5
      ounces (3 tablespoons) cold European-style butter, cut into 3 pieces
    • teaspoons vanilla extract


    Make the pastry cream: Combine the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the half-and-half in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or medium mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the sifted flour and whisk vigorously until the mixture is satiny smooth and free of lumps. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a deep, narrow bowl.


    Heat the remaining half-and-half, the sugar, and salt in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the mixture reaches a simmer, pull the saucepan off the burner and ladle about ½ cup of the hot half-and-half into the yolk mixture to warm it (fig. 2.1). Whisk the yolk mixture well. Repeat with another ½ cup of half-and-half and whisk the yolks well. Return the saucepan to the burner and pour the warm yolk mixture back into the saucepan all at once, scraping the measuring cup or bowl with a rubber spatula and vigorously whisking the half-and-half in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and bubbles burst on the surface, 20 to 30 seconds. Allow the pastry cream to bubble for 10 seconds. (Unlike crème anglaise, pastry cream is supposed to boil.) The pastry cream should be thick and glossy (fig. 2.2).


    Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the cold butter and vanilla into the pastry cream to cool it (fig. 3.1). The cream will become glossier. Pour the pastry cream into the strainer, scraping the saucepan with a rubber spatula. Knock the cream through the mesh by tapping the rim of the strainer with the handle of a wooden spoon (fig. 3.2). Press the plastic wrap directly against the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or overnight.


    Remove the outer ring from the tart pan in which the pâte sucrée was baked (fig. 4.1). Slip a thin metal spatula between the tart pan bottom and the bottom of the pastry crust, then slide the tart shell onto a flat serving plate or a 9-inch cardboard cake round. Spoon the cold pastry cream into the shell and smooth it with the back of the spoon.


    Bring the jelly to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until slightly thickened, but don’t allow it to reduce and thicken too much. (If it does, add a teaspoon or so of water and return to a simmer.) Meanwhile, arrange the raspberries tapered ends up on the pastry cream in concentric circles, starting at the center and using the tallest berries; the height of the berries should gradually descend as they move toward the edge of the tart. Using a pastry brush, drip the hot jelly over the raspberries without striving to paint each berry. The beads of jelly will look beautiful as they gel. For optimal enjoyment, serve the tart within a few hours.

    1. 2.1
    2. 2.2
    1. 3.1
    2. 3.2
    1. 4.1