Quick and Easy Summer Berry Tart
A Modern Twist on a Fruit Tart With a History
There is no easier cake to make than a summer berry tart! If you have less than an hour to spare and berries to use, then simply throw a handful of ingredients into a bowl, mix, bake, prepare a pudding at high speed and decorate with whatever fresh fruits you might have in the fridge.
The exquisite taste and attractive decoration will get you points for creativity when you serve this tart, and nobody will ever know how rushed you were to bake it.
We are used to living life at high speed, and sometimes even a little time to indulge is hard to find. Luckily, we have ready-made mixes that help speed up the process of baking.
Those familiar with this blog know that I advocate healthy eating, organic everything and a big fat NO to pesticides. But, for this occasion only (because time was extremely tight), I chose to make a quick pudding using a packed mix rather than real eggs. A bit of food engineering involved, true, but this happens extremely rarely in my kitchen.
The pudding mix I used is German made and available online. In Europe, it is available in any food shop and is largely used.
If you have an extra half an hour to spare, I explain how to make pudding from scratch and using fresh products in my Tiramisù recipe. The only difference is that you will not need to add mascarpone for this tart recipe.
Of Tarts and Puddings
There is a bit of a culinary debate over the origins and proper making of tarts. Although the Greeks and Romans have made something similar in antiquity, tart baking has evolved and changed through the ages.
Today’s recipe apparently has the beginnings in the kitchen of the Tatin sisters, French hotel owners in the XIX century. Busy as they were (wow, lack of time seems to have been a problem always!), one of the sisters forgot to add dough to her pie. She added it later during baking and thus invented the upside-down pie. Mistakes create masterpieces; what can I say?
A tart can have a crusty base or a fluffy sponge filled/topped with what I have always called pudding – essentially, a vanilla cream made by boiling egg yolks, sugar, corn/potato starch and milk together. Some call it custard, but I will stick with pudding.
I prefer a fluffy sponge because I can use syrup to make it moist, adding flavour to the tart. On rare occasions, if no children are involved in tasting, I replace the syrup with liquor and get an even better boozy fruit tart.
Ingredients for Summer Berry Tart
I used raspberries (red and yellow) for this tart, strawberries and blackcurrants freshly picked from my little allotment, washed, drained, hulled, and sliced (the strawberries). You can use any summer berries in any combination as long as you know and trust the source. I cannot stress enough the importance of avoiding pesticides all together in foods!
For the fluffy sponge
Organic large eggs
Organic coconut sugar
Oil (rapeseed, preferably – because it is cold-pressed. If possible, avoid refined oils – vegetable, margarine and all “spreads”, canola, soybean, corn – as you would pest!) A while ago, I read that there is one molecule difference between plastic and margarine! Imagine what people spread on their toast!
Almond milk/semi-skimmed cow milk, organic
Organic white flour
Rock/sea salt (not “table”)
For the pudding
1 sachet of pudding powder
Optionally, follow the instructions in the Tiramisù recipe
For the syrup
For the gelatine pellicule
1 gelatine sheet
How to Make Summer Berry Tart
For this tart, I used a flan dish of 24 cm in diameter, oiled and floured.
Make the sponge by literally throwing all the ingredients together in a large bowl and whisking with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes. Usually, I separate eggs, add everything individually and generally spend more time on the sponge batter. It made no difference to the consistency, so this will be the only method I’ll use from now.
Place the batter in the tray and bake on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven. Check the sponge is baked thoroughly, turn it upside down as explained in the recipe card and place it on a cooling rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the pudding by following the instructions on the sachet. Add vanilla essence for extra flavour if needed or even a tablespoon of liquor if you prefer to keep the same taste as the syrupy sponge.
Cool and whisk the pudding to smoothen it. Add it to the top of the sponge and level nicely.
Decorate with the berries of your choice.
Using a brush, smear the gelatine over the berries to help them set (it also helps to keep a fresh, vibrant colour for longer).
Refrigerate the summer berry tart for two-three hours before cutting. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or coffee of your choice, a bubbly or a glass of liquor.
Summer Berry Tart
- Large mixing bowl
- Electric mixer
- Baking dish
For the sponge
- 2 eggs
- 100 g coconut sugar
- 60 ml cold water
- 60 ml oil cold-pressed rapeseed
- 180 g plain white flour
- 10 g baking powder
- ¼ tsp fine salt
For the syrup
- 50 ml water
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 lemon zest and juice organic
For the pudding
- 1 sachet Vanilla Pudding
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- ½ l almond milk
For the topping
- 300 g any summer berries organic
- 1 sheet gelatine
- 2 tbsp water
- Prepare the baking tray by oiling and flouring the base and walls. I used rapeseed oil but butter is OK too.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C fan oven/375°F/gas mark 5
- Place all the ingredients for the sponge in a large mixing bowl and batter for 5 minutes with an electric mixer.
- Pour the content into the baking tray and level it nicely with a large silicone spoon without pressing down.
- Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Perform the toothpick test to check that the sponge is baked thoroughly. Allow extra baking time if required.
- Let the sponge in the baking tray and slightly cool on a cooling rack.
- Using oven gloves, place a large plate/cake stand over the baking dish and turn it upside down. Bang it to the table gently if needed to remove the sponge from the baking dish.
- Allow the sponge to cool completely.
- Follow the instruction of the sachet to prepare the pudding. I used less sugar than suggested, but this is a personal taste.
- Optionally, you can add vanilla essence for a stronger flavour.
- Allow the pudding to cool completely before use.
- You might need to whisk it a little with an electric mixer before adding it to the sponge for a smoother texture (the pudding tends to become lumpy as it cools down).
- Follow the instructions on the gelatine sachet to prepare the gelatine.
- Leave aside to cool and thicken slightly before use.
- Wash, dry, zest and juice the lemon. Add it to water into a pan together with the sugar and bring to boil at medium heat.
- When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and stir occasionally. Boil for 3-4 minutes until it thickens slightly.
- Let aside to cool before use. Optionally, you can sieve the syrup. I prefer to keep the lemon zest for extra tartness.
Assembling the summer berry tart
- Using a spoon, pour the syrup over the top of the tart, making sure to cover all areas. The same technique applies to liquor; 4-5 tablespoons should suffice.
- When the syrup is absorbed into the sponge, place the smoothed vanilla pudding on top and spread it evenly.
- Decorate with summer berries of your choice (previously washed, drained and hulled).
- Smear the gelatine over the berries using a kitchen brush. You will obtain a nice, shiny pellicule that will help set the fruits into the pudding and preserve the bright colour for longer.
- Refrigerate the berry fruit tart for 2-3 hours before slicing it.