When I was young, in the summer mostly since that’s when they were available, we would often get custard fruit pies from the grocery store. I loved them, very thick very yellow custard covered in all sorts of fruits with a nice shiny jam glaze on top. It was easy to get and it meant hot weather. I haven’t had one in a very long time but when I was looking to make something light, fresh and not too sweet last weekend, I remembered those pies and decided to make my own version. Only with a graham cracker crust and a nice slightly vanilla infused homemade custard.
Now, I know making your own custard might seem a bit daunting for a lot of people but, believe me, it is worth it. It is so much better than any custard you can get with the instant powder kind of stuff, with a much more subtle taste, a nice rich consistency and a beautiful soft pale yellow color (definitely not bordering the neon yellow). And to be honest, it takes about the same time to make as the powdered custard which is not much time at all. Since nothing is yet in season here fruit-wise, I decided to go with the berries that were available. They were not as great as they are when they are local and in the season but they did just fine, berries are always good. Sliced kiwis or grapes or any fruit that doesn’t oxidize or turn brown would also work really well here.
Custard Tart with Berries
- 2 cups graham crackers crumbs
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 2 cups milk
- ½ vanilla bean (or ½ tsp vanilla extract)
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Sliced strawberries
Pre-heat your oven to 350F. In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, the tablespoon of sugar, the salt, and the butter. Press into a pie plate (I used a 9 inches one) and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In the meantime, prepare the vanilla custard. In a medium pan, heat the milk with the vanilla, bringing it to a simmer. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks together until it forms a very thick paste. Once the milk is simmering, pour about ½ cup of the yolk/sugar/starch mixture and whisk well to make sure there are no lumps. Add the mixture to the remaining of the milk and continue heating and whisking until it thickens. Once it gets to a custard consistency, remove from the heat and let cool a little (and remove the vanilla bean if using).
When the crust is cooled, pour the custard in it. Let cool completely and top with the berries. Refrigerate a few hours before serving.