This crème brûlée berry tart is a show stopper. But apart from being shamelessly pretty it is also two desserts in one. Why have a regular custard tart when you can brûlée the top so you get a thin layer of toffee crunch? The custard is flavoured with rose and it is topped with jewel like berries and redcurrants!
I have this terrible habit whenever I buy beautiful fruit. I can't just eat it, I want to put it on a tart or a cake to show how exquisite it is. And when I bought some perfect raspberries, blueberries and dainty little strawberries for Mr NQN's lunch I put them aside for this slightly inconvenient tart.
You see it wasn't the best day to be making a tart. I had lots of meetings and errands to run and I was in and out of our apartment. After the custard filling finished baking I decided to let it cool and run to the shops. I was on a simple but essential mission: to replace my lipstick as I had an upcoming video shoot that I needed it for. My stomach had been growling for an hour already and I was famished but I had set my eye on the long list of tasks and food had to wait.
I walked into the shopping centre and looked for a directory. There were no directories, just flashing ads on the screens. I googled the shop and the address came up but no floor and by then I had walked around two floors of the shopping centre. I might just skip over the bit where I asked someone about the shop's location and she just pointed me 20 metres to my left. Oops.
"I need this lipstick please," I said to the sales assistant breathlessly.
"Oh darling they don't make that colour any more," she said.
"Hmm okay, what's the closest there is?" I asked thinking about the tart that needed brûléeing and photographing at home and my stomach did another loud growl that I swear could be heard from a distance. She quickly got to colour matching and we got lucky on the first go and then she went to take one from the supply.
"Okay... I should have looked before but we are out," she said solemnly. "Sorry," she said sincerely. She took lipstick and my predicament seriously. I mean she just knew, do not mess with a woman and her lipstick.
My posture crumpled and I cursed out the lipstick gods. She started riffling around and turned around with an enormous smile on her face. "You will not believe what I found!" she said. And from behind she revealed a lipstick. "There was one stuck in the little hole!" she said excitedly.
"Yayyyy!!!" we both exclaimed.
"I feel like we need to dance," she said and I agreed and in the middle of Sephora we danced to the 80's music that was playing. After that we hugged and got all teary. I think we were both tired and hungry and well sometimes a little hat tip from the universe is all you need to give you unexpected joy.
And a slice or two of an inconvenient creme brûlée tart when you get home.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you feel that you are a lucky person? Do you ever spontaneously dance and hug people?
Crème Brûlée Berry Tart
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 45 minutes plus 30 minutes freezing time
Cooking time: 1 hour
- 135g/4.8ozs. butter, softened
- 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
- 1.5 cups plain all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornflour/fine cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons cornflour/fine cornstarch
- 1/2 cup caster or superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon rosewater
- 5 tablespoons caster or superfine sugar
- 200g/7ozs. fresh or frozen berries to decorate (or a mix of the two looks nice)
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Make the pastry first. Place the butter, icing sugar, two types of flour and salt in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on very slow speed until it has just come together. It will be very soft. Press into a 23cm loose bottomed tart tin on the base and sides. Prick the base with a fork and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. This prevents the base from shrinking once baked. Then bake for 20 minutes until golden and set.
Step 2 - While it is baking, make the rose custard. Heat the cream until almost boiling then turn down the heat. While you are waiting for it to heat up, whisk the egg yolks, egg, cornflour and sugar in a jug with the vanilla and rosewater. Add a ladleful of the hot cream mixture to the eggs and then add a few more ladles one at a time. Then return the mixture to the pan on the lowest heat and allow to thicken stirring to make sure that it doesn't stick.
Step 3 - Once the base is cooked, gently pour in the custard filling. Reduce the temperature to 150C/300F and bake for 30 minutes until the centre has a slight wobble. The custard will set further upon cooling.
Step 4 - Just before serving spoon extra sugar on top of the tart and then blowtorch. Place berries around the perimeter of the tart and serve.