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In many cultures, holidays are associated with certain type of food. Fourth of July is one of those holidays where everyone barbecues and hangs out with their friends and family. We had a fourth of July party that was relocated last minute to our house, and I wanted to make some patriotic desserts.

While I like baking pies, I wanted to serve a cold dessert since it has been a scorching summer. I found a recipe for a very patriotic looking custard tart made with white balsamic vinegar and fresh berries that are arranged in the shape of a star.

The tart without the berries can be made a day ahead of time, and the berries arranged on the tart the next day. To make the crust, flour, sugar, and salt are processed until mixed in a food processor.

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1/4 inch cubes of cold butter are added to the processor.

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The butter and flour are processed until the butter pieces are pea sized.

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Then an egg yolk and whipping cream are added to the processor, and pulsed until the dough becomes wet, and moist clumps form.

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I actually had to add a few more tablespoonful of whipping cream than the recipe called for, but I did it by the tablespoonful so I don’t accidentally add too much liquid. Do not over process the dough or your crust will not be crispy and buttery.

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Remove the dough from the processor and gather them into a rough ball. Wrap the dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge for at least 1 hour or over night.

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This step is very important because time will allow the dough to relax and the moist bits to fully integrate with the drier bits of the dough. After the dough rests, roll it out into a 12 inch round between two sheets of plastic wrap.

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Carefully transfer the dough round into a fluted round tart pan with a removable bottom.

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Trim the edges of the dough to be flush with the edge of the pan, and poke holes on the bottom of the dough with a fork.

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I let the pan chill for another 10-20 minutes in the fridge before baking the crust in a 375 degree oven for about 22 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Removed the pan from the oven and let cool to room temperature. The bottom of the crust may rise during the baking process, but it should come down by the end of the baking process or as it cools in the pan. If it doesn’t, just press the crust down until its flat.

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While the crust is cooling, I made the custard filling. Whipping cream and corn starch are stirred together in a bowl until the corn starch has completely dissolved.

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Then eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla are added to the bowl and whisked to blend.

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White balsamic vinegar can be found at whole foods or specialty food stores. The vinegar is boiled until reduced by half on the stove in a medium sauce pan. This step removes the liquid so the vinegar flavor is more concentrated. The addition of white balsamic vinegar in a sweet tart may sound strange, but the vinegar actually lends a delicate flavor to the dessert, and it also serves as a great contrast against the creaminess of the eggs and cream.

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Once the vinegar has reduced, sugar, water, and butter are added to the sauce pan. Stir until the butter melts completely.

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Bring the butter vinegar mixture in the sauce pan to a boil.

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Carefully pour the hot butter and vinegar mixture in a slow stream into the eggs and corn starch mixture, whisking to mix.

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Pour everything in the bowl back into the sauce pan and continue to cook on a medium fire, stirring continuously.

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Cook the mixture until it thickens and becomes custardy, remove the saucepan from the heat.

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Pass the custard through a fine metal sieve.

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This step will ensure larger cooked bits of eggs, like the ones below, will be removed from the custard, and your custard will be the silkiest and as smooth as it can be.

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Let the custard cool to room temperature, then pour the custard into the baked shell.

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Smooth the top of the custard, and keep in the fridge overnight until you are ready to add the berries.

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To assemble the star, I first filled in the star using the raspberries, leaving the center empty for the strawberries.

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Next I outlined the tart using blueberries.

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Once I finished outlining the tart, I filled in the space between the outline and the star with blueberries.

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Sliced strawberries are placed in the center of the tart, and it’s done!

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I love making desserts like this tart because they are delicious and beautiful to look at.

White Balsamic Custard Tart with Fresh Berry Topping

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