Make the most of ripe and juicy British berries while they’re in season with this luscious fruit tart. The addition of fresh thyme to the custard adds depth and a subtle earthiness to offset those sharp fruit flavours.
For the Pastry
- 175g plain flour
- Small pinch of salt
- 100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 egg yolk
- Zest of half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- Cold water
For the filling
- 280ml double cream
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
- Zest of half a lemon
- 5 or 6 fresh thyme springs
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 75g caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2tsp cornflour
- 200g summer berries (we used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
- Icing sugar
- A few extra sprigs of thyme
- To make the pastry put the flour, salt and butter into a food processor and blitz until the two are well combined. Add the egg yolk, lemon zest and sugar and mix again. With the food processor turned on, gradually add a small amount of cold water- just enough to bring the mixture together as a dough; you don’t want it to be soggy. Tip the mixture onto a work surface and knead briefly, just to bring it together. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for half an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Grease and line a medium-sized tart tin (we used a 36x12cm fluted tin).
- Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a floured work surface. Roll it out until it’s the thickness of a £1 coin and big enough to line the tin. Gently lift the dough into the tin, easing it into the corners. Trim the edges and prick all over the base with a fork. Chill the pastry case in the fridge for 15 minutes; this will help prevent it shrinking in the oven.
- Once it’s nicely chilled, line the inside of the pastry case with baking parchment and fill it with baking beads if you have some; if not you can use uncooked rice or dried beans. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove the pastry from the oven, take out the baking beads and leave to it cool. Turn down the oven temperature to 180°C, gas mark 4.
- To make the custard filling gently heat the cream, ground almonds, lemon zest and thyme until the cream begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and leave the cream to infuse for ten minutes. In a separate bowl whisk the egg, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and corn flour together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Bring the pan of cream back to simmering point then turn off the heat and pour the cream over the egg mixture, stirring as you pour it in. Strain the custard through a sieve.
- Arrange the fresh berries inside the pastry shell. Pour the custard over the berries to fill up the pastry case then carefully place it in the oven. Bake the tart for around 25 minutes, until the custard is lightly set.
- Once it’s cooled, dust the tart with a light coating of icing sugar and a few sprigs of thyme. Serve with double cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.