I hope you’re not turned off by the thought of vinegar in a fruit tart. It makes the custard so bright and balanced, and it’s a delicious contrast to the rich eggs and butter. I’ve made this tart for years, which says a lot because I love the hunt for exciting new recipes. I always hesitate to waste a cooking opportunity on something I’ve already tried, but I just can't stay away from this white balsamic custard. The vinegar gets cooked down to remove any sharpness or pungency, and what’s left is transformed into an oddly refreshing, completely addicting, perfectly balanced tart. Add to that a thick shortbread crust and fresh, juicy berries, and hopefully, now you can see why this is the most perfect summer fruit tart. I always make this for the 4th of July-- it's a total crowd pleaser, and if you're feeling ambitious you can design the fruit into a beautiful, patriotic star design. You could also just toss the berries on in an eclectic fashion, like I did here, for a random mix of red, white and blue. Both ways are stunning.
A few notes about the recipe. White balsamic vinegar can sometimes be hard to find, but Trader Joe’s always seems to carry one if you’re struggling (and so does Amazon). I also don’t see why plain white wine vinegar wouldn’t work, but I haven’t tried it to be sure. The dough, for me, required a bit more heavy cream to bring it together, so don’t panic if it’s really crumbly— just add a touch more liquid and try again. And finally, I’m sure this tart will last in the fridge for up to a week, but you honestly won’t have to worry about shelf life here. The tart never sticks around longer than 2 days. At that point, it’s still delicious, fresh, and the crust is not yet soggy. Dig in!
white balsamic tart with fresh berries
makes 8 servings | recipe from Bon Appétit, July 2004
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon whipping cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 large strawberries, hulled, sliced
2 1/2-pint containers blueberries
1 1/2-pint container raspberries
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt and blend for 5 seconds. Add butter and blend in pulses to break the butter into small pea-sized pieces. Add egg yolk and cream, and continue to pulse until large, moist clumps of dough form. Turn out the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, and press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan. Prick dough all over with a fork and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crust until golden, pressing with back of fork if it begins to puff up, about 22 minutes. Cool.
In a medium bowl, stir together cornstarch and cream until full dissolved. Whisk in eggs, egg yolks and vanilla and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, 3-5 minutes. Add water, sugar and butter and stir until butter melts completely. Bring mixture to boil, then whisk a small amount into the egg mixture. Once fully combined, gradually add more of the hot vinegar mixture, whisking constantly, until all of it has been added. Adding too much too fast may cook the eggs.
Return custard to saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking until the mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes. Strain custard into a bowl and allow to cool to the touch, 15- 20 minutes. Spread custard in prepared crust, cover and chill at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Either arrange the fruit on tart in a decorative manner or scatter fruit on custard in a random fashion. Cover loosely and chill until ready to serve.
tart can be made up to 6 hours ahead