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Easy Berry Custard Tart

I absolutely hate not sticking to my personal goal of posting one janiscakes recipe per week, and it’s honestly been killing me that I’ve been so sporadic lately.  I also personally hate the excuse of “I’ve been so busy!” (Honestly–raise your hand if you aren’t busy?  Anybody….?  Exactly!) …but, I’ve been busy.  (Ugh, I hate myself a little bit right now for even saying it.)  To clarify, in the span of three days, I:  1) bought a house  2) bought a new car  3) started a new job.  I then proceeded to travel for the new job’s orientation and training, finalize paint colors, buy furniture, and coordinate with various contractors to begin work on the home so it would be move-in-ready two weeks later.  This was all on top of spending all my “free time” (cough cough-what free time?) packing, patching holes in my apartment to ensure getting my security deposit back, officially changing my address with credit cards, the post office, magazine subscriptions,… and everything else that comes along with moving.  Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with an incredible husband who’s been right by my side through everything and picked up a ton of my slack.  I’m also really lucky to have the world’s greatest parents who have done everything they could to help ease the transition into all this new-ness.  Anyhow, please accept my most sincere apologies for missing a post or two.  I promise to hop right back on the wagon starting now!

It’s an understatement to say I’ve been crunched for time lately, but hey–a girl still needs dessert!  Enter this recipe.  What makes this tart so easy?  Rather than making pastry cream, fill it with vanilla pudding instead!  I know the “Cook and Serve” pudding takes (slightly) more effort to make than the instant does, but it’s hardly any more work and the flavor of the cooked pudding is soooooo much better for this recipe!  It comes out deliciously rich and creamy and much more closely mimics custard.  Enjoy, my friends!

Easy Berry Custard Tart
Yield:  8 servings
Time:  15 minutes active; 3 hours total

For the crust:
1½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup (8 tbsp.) cold (frozen!) butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of half an orange

For the custard filling:
1 cup skim milk
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 box (3 oz.) of “Cook and Serve Vanilla pudding” (not instant pudding)

For the topping:
4 cups total of mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries…)
Confectioner’s sugar
Whipped cream

1.  To make the crust, combine the following ingredients in a food processor: flour, sugar, salt, butter.  Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

2.  Whisk together the egg yolk, milk, vanilla, and orange zest.  Pour into the food processor and pulse to combine.  Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch diameter tart pan (or regular pie pan).  To help it slide right out after it’s baked, be sure to grease the sides of the pan, too!  Firmly press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the pan.  Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Gently prick the surface with the tines of a fork.  Line with parchment paper and pour in pie weights (if you have them).  Bake at 425ºF for 5 minutes.  Remove the pie weights and parchment paper.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool at room temperature.

3.  In a medium sized saucepan, whisk together the skim milk, whole milk, pudding mix, and vanilla.  Bring to a light boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for 2-3 minutes, until thickened.  Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared crust.  Allow to cool at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes, then top with fresh berries.   Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving, 2-24 hours.  Garnish with whipped cream and lightly dust with confectioner’s sugar prior to serving, if desired.

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