Dress to impress I always say. These fresh Berry Tarts are spectacular to the eye to serve the to your most discriminating friends, they might even try to rummage through your kitchen looking for that pink bakery box because they may not believe you made them. Wonderfully simple to prepare with a little help from my friend named "Pepperidge Farm".
1 - 16 oz. pkg. frozen Pepperidge Farm Pastry sheets-2 sheets
4 cups prepared 'Bird's' custard
Peel of 1/2 Lemon
2 - 1/2 pints Raspberries, rinsed and dried
2 - 1/2 pints Black Berries, rinsed and dried
3 Tbls. Apricot Jam
Defrost puff pastry sheets in the refrigerator overnight, never out on the kitchen counter where the dough becomes too soft to work. Carefully unfold each of the two sheets so as not to tear along the crease line and make your own cuts to create four squares from each sheet (total 8 squares). Cut a 1/2-inch corner off each square and save. Moisten all sides with a little water and fold over edge about 1/2-inch creating a nice edge to hold your filling. Moisten the new folded corners with water and place the triangle corners on top that you cut off earlier. Dock each tart by using the tines of a fork to poke holes so the center of the tart does not rise too much while baking. The center may need to be tamped down halfway through baking. Bake as directed in a 350-degree oven (center rack) until beautifully golden, approximately 25 minutes, cool.
I use 'Bird's custard which is an English custard stove top product. If you are familiar with Bird's Custard, I doubled the recipe to make 4 cups cooked custard. While cooking the custard on the stovetop I included the lemon peel from half a lemon to lightly perfume the custard. If you do not have Bird's Custard, use your favorite stove top vanilla pudding recipe reducing the liquid by one third. I do not recommend instant pudding. Remove lemon peel after cooking and cool. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard/pudding when cool enough to do so to not form a "skin" and chill in the refrigerator.
When ready to serve place a tart shell on a pretty dessert plate, spread approx. 1/2 cup on custard/pudding mix, arrange whole berries in a pleasing pattern. Brush with apricot jam on the berries and tart edges for a glossy finish. Sprinkle with sanding sugar (coarse grind sugar) for sparkle and a delicate crunch.
Makes 8 tarts.
OPTIONAL: Omit the apricot jam glaze and sprinkle with powdered sugar for a lacy appearance.
NOTE: Baked shells freeze well for a week. To use, remove from freezer and place in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes to crisp up. Shells will crisp up as they cool.
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