Did you know grilled sardines can be considered a summer tea time food? Neither did I, but the “Royal Teas” cookbook says it can, and even included a nice recipe for the fish with salsa verde. Has anyone in the Royal Palace ever smelled grilled sardines? Do they think it goes with a nice afternoon get together? I’m confused.
Instead of subjecting my tea party guests to smelly sardines, I chose the classic Summer Berry Tartlets.
I’m seriously still not over the sardines bit. They’re a dish that’s eaten in my country during our popular saint parties (#extremelycatholiccountry), and they make everyone and everything reek for the duration of the evening.
Maybe my country is just too windy, I don’t know. Anyway, onto the berry tartlets!
Berry tartlets are one of my favorite tea time sweets, I eat it practically every single time I go out for tea because they’re pretty and sweet and delicate. Before this, I never attempted to make them, though, because they looked overly complicated and had french components.
Let’s see how difficult (or easy) these tartlets are to make!
Summer Berry Tartlets
A British take on a French classic, by Mark Flanagan
For the Crème Pâtissière
- 170 ml milk
- 2 eggs free range
- 40 grams unrefined caster sugar
- 8 grams unsalted butter chilled
- 9 grams cornflour
- 1 split vanilla pod (or vanilla extract)
- 100 grams white chocolate
- summer berries
Preheat oven to 190 C.
Roll the sweet pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 2mm. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, then cut out disks for tartlets and line the molds carefully. Rest for another 30 minutes.
Bake in the oven using ceramic beads (or dry beans) for 15 minutes or until the edges start to golden. Remove ceramic beads (or dry beans) and allow to rest.
Boil milk and vanilla and remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale.
Fold cornflour, add hot milk while stirring.
Heat mixture again until it starts to thicken, then add the butter.
Set aside to cool, covering with cling film to prevent a skin from forming, then chill in the fridge till required.
Brush the inside of the tartlets with the melted white chocolate. Allow chocolate to set.
Fill each tartlet 2/3 of the way up with the crème pâtissière before tipping with berries.
My baking process:
While I’m very happy with the final result, both aesthetically and taste-wise, I did take a few shortcuts:
- A single vanilla pod costs 10€ so I just used vanilla extract;
- There was a sweet pastry dough recipe on another page of the Royal Teas book, but I didn’t have time to make it, so I went storebought dough (no regrets);
- I completely forgot the white chocolate step, oops;
- I still haven’t bought ceramic beads, so I used dry chickpeas instead.
Even with all those changes, I still think I did pretty well! I used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
My Summer Berry Tartlets:
The Royal House’s Berry Tartlets:
From the money shot angle:
Clearly, I put way less fruit in mine than the Royal House, mostly because my shell was so fine I was afraid it would break, but I really did love the delicate balance between all the elements.
Let this be a lesson to all of us, dear reader: just because something looks complicated doesn’t mean it actually is, and we should try to do it if that’s what we want!