I recently shared the recipe for these berry tarts in my weekly Facebook live video. These berry tarts are not only deliciously creamy and sweet, they are perfectly festive for the upcoming French holiday, Bastille Day.
Since the United States and France share similar flag colors of red, white, and blue, many of the festive desserts that we create for American Independence Day can be used for Bastille Day as well.
Interestingly, Bastille Day or what France knows as their Independence Day, also falls in the month of July (it’s on July 14th be precise). So, if you’re a major Francophile like me, don’t say goodbye to strawberries and blueberries quite yet.
There are plenty of yummy Bastille Day desserts we can make with them, including these berry tarts.
These berry tarts comprise of a scrumptious graham cracker crust with a creme patissiere (pastry cream) filling.
Pastry cream can seem like a recipe reserved for the professional chef, but it’s really not. It’s actually quite simple to make. The only trick with pastry cream is that you need to watch it like a hawk.
After you’ve combined the hot milk with your egg and sugar mixture, the batter is poured back into a saucepan and whisked over the stove. You should whisk the entire time and pull the pastry cream just when it’s starting to thicken and coat the back of a spoon.
If you neglect your pastry cream, it will clump to the point where you can never really get it smooth again. Otherwise, if you follow the recipe as outlined, a couple clumps may be possible but nothing you can’t fix with a handy sieve.
The tarts are topped with some sliced strawberries and blueberries, which are arranged in any which way that you like.
The best part is that you can make these berry tarts ahead of time. This way, you can focus on creating that amazing French steak with red wine sauce that you want on Bastille Day, and simply pull these ready-made berry tarts out of the fridge afterwards.
Mini tarts made with graham cracker crusts, pastry cream, and fresh berries arranged on top. A delicious and festive make-ahead dessert!
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 1.25 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 8 crackers, crushed)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
For the Pastry Cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the topping
- 2 cups strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
Create the graham cracker crust first by stirring the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together until you get a wet sand-looking mixture. Distribute the crumbs among 5 ramekins, patting the crumbs down flat in the ramekins using a flat-bottom glass or other round flat object.
Bake the graham cracker crusts for 10 minutes at 350°F. Remove the ramekins from the oven and let them cool on the counter.
Create the pastry cream by warming up the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Do not let the milk boil. You want to warm the milk until it's hot and steaming, but not yet simmering.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar together. Once it's slightly more pale in its yellow color, add the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk everything to combine.
Slowly stream in the hot milk to the egg batter, adding the milk in small batches and whisking the batter vigorously as you pour in the milk. Once the two are completely combined, pour the entire batter back into the saucepan and move back over to the heat.
Whisk the batter over low heat until it begins to thicken and easily coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not take your eyes off the batter and do not stop whisking. As soon as the batter begins to thicken, take the saucepan off the stove and pour the batter into a clean bowl. If you have a few stubborn clumps, simply pour the batter through a sieve before pouring it into the clean bowl.
Stir in the vanilla bean paste, then place a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream. Chill the pastry cream until cold.
To assemble, scoop pastry cream into each of the prepared ramekins. Cut the strawberries into thick or thin slices (however you prefer) and arrange them, along with the blueberries on top of the pastry cream. Cover them all with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.