Summer berry tarts

Along with the grilled peach crostinis, I also made some berry tarts that day. The stores seem to be trying to get rid of all the berries, so there's a lot of offers going on. I bought a whole kilo of strawberries for £3.99! So I ended up buying a whole lot of different types of berries and planned to photograph them.

But I couldn't let them go to waste, so I made some tarts with crème pâtissière, topped with these lovely summer berries.

Sweet Pastry Crust:
195g flour
113g unsalted cold butter, diced into squares
50g icing sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Mix the flour and icing sugar. Add the butter and work lightly into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. You can do this using a food processor or by hand. Add the beaten egg and gently work the dough just until it forms a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C and place rack in center of oven. Lightly butter and flour your tart pans. Roll the chilled pastry on a floured surface and line the tart pans with it.

Prick the pastry with a fork and blind bake with baking beans/rice/whatever your fancy for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180C and continue to bake the crust for another 10-15 minutes or until dry and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

Crème pâtissière:
1 cup whole milk
3 tbsp cornflour
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
50g butter
½ vanilla bean

Dissolve the cornflour in ½ cup of cold milk. Add eggs to cornflour mixture.
Combine the rest of the milk and the sugar, and if using the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from half the pod and add to milk and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and slowly drizzle hot milk mixture into the egg/cornflour mixture, whisking constantly. As the eggs become more comfortable with the hot temperature, you can add the milk more quickly.

Pour this back into the saucepan and cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the cream comes together. It will take a while, but once it starts, it will move quickly. Keep stirring until the cream has become thick. Cook until you see one or two bubbles pop from the cream, to make sure to cook out the chalky texture of the cornflour.

Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl. Beat in softened butter and if using the vanilla extract, add it here. Place over a bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Cover with plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from building up. Keep over ice or in the refrigerator until use.

I like to add whipped cream to the crème pâtissière to make it lighter and more mousse-like. To assemble these tarts, simply fill the cooled tart cases with the pastry cream and top with your choice of berries. Garnish with mint leaves and serve. If that doesn't say summer, what does?