Friday, February 25, 2011

Berry Topped Pudding Tarts

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Elegant desserts doesn't always mean time consuming and difficult. In fact, these Berry Topped Pudding Tarts are a perfect example! Delicate puff pastry shells are baked and filled with a velvety smooth vanilla bean pudding, then topped with mixed berries. These would make a great addition to a brunch, tea party or just a snack to enjoy just because...


There are so many puddings out there but I find that vanilla is one of those flavors that kind of gets overlooked because it's so 'blah.'  However, the good thing about it is it's versatility and the many ways you can use it in other desserts. In my search for a vanilla pudding recipe, I came across this one from Smitten Kitchen. The use of a vanilla bean instead of extract makes a huge difference, although if you wanted, you could opt to use vanilla paste instead. This pudding is so creamy and good with a definitely vanilla flavor. Besides, you can't help but enjoy those little flecks of vanilla as you bite into the tarts. Paired with the buttery, flaky layers of the puff pastry shell and the sweet berries, it's a treat that's both light and indulgent at the same time.

Berry Topped Pudding Tarts
pudding recipe from Smitten Kitchen

2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1 large egg
1 package Pepperidge Farm pastry shells
1 cup total of fresh mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)


Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While it's heating, combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, then whisk in the egg. Once milk comes to a boil, add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl very slowly, whisking the whole time.

Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer. Divide the pudding among 6 dishes and chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, bake the pastry shells as directed on the package and allow to cool. When the pudding has set, spoon the pudding into the pastry shells.

Toss the berries with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar and top each tart before serving.


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