Cakes, Pies & Tarts, Dessert

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

Nicoletta February 12, 2017

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Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream,  a buttery, crumbly pate sucrée, filled with a delightful, silky vanilla bean pastry cream and topped with fresh raspberries, blueberries, and a grating of lemon zest. To celebrate our two years of incredible blogging adventure.

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

N: It’s hard to believe that tomorrow our blog is turning two! Two years for Loreto and I food blogging in our bustling kitchen, sharing the space, meals, experiences, and inspirations.



L: I remember the night in Rome with friends sharing food, conversation, and company. It was there that someone said you two are so passionate about food, why not start a food blog. Nicoletta and I looked at each other, and the story began. Two years have passed and I feel we have accomplished and learned so much. Our kitchen has been a place of creativity and passion, sweat, and tears. This food blogging is really hard work. In our eyes so worth it.

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

N: Yes, it’s hard work and one that deserves respect. Loreto says it’s not for the faint hearted. It starts in the morning with breakfast and it goes on indefinitely. There are the actual cooking and baking times, creating or adapting recipes, taking pictures, editing those pictures, uploading them to the site, and writing the content. Then, it’s time to share the fruits of our labor on all social media where we also connect and interact with the beautiful community of bloggers. Sometimes we think blogging is just a virtual experience but luckily for us, we have brought it to the physical realm. We have been fortunate to meet in person other food bloggers and develop wonderful friendships that we cherish immensely. Looking forward to the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference in Ottowa this year, and hoping to make many more friends. 

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

L: Just last weekend we had Margaret from Kitchen Frau and her husband Raymond over for a lovely dinner, and we had such a wonderful time. We prepared many different dishes taking us from Italy to Asia, ending the night with a beautiful dessert that Nicoletta created inspired by her cooking class at Duchess Provisions, and one that we decided would commemorate our two year anniversary.

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

N: Following my true passion, this year I decided to take some more time off my real work (in Rome, Italy), and dedicate my efforts to the blog. There are times I miss the part where I get ready and dressed up to go to work, instead of lounging around in my yoga attire every day. But all the time I am dedicating to the blog is already paying off. Plus, I get to bake whenever I feel to. And that happens a lot. You’re maybe thinking that an impressively layered cake, frosted and topped with fresh flowers, fruit, ribbons, candles, and hoopla would have been more appropriate for an Anniversary. Maybe one day. I love the simplicity and complexity of a pate sucrée, that turns into a beautiful berry tart filled with a silky vanilla bean pastry cream.

L: For me, I have a full-time job, so it is not unusual for me to be up at 3:30 am writing my posts. I know you may think that’s nuts but I seem to have lots to say in the wee hours of the morning. Actually, I have always been an early riser, even in my teens.

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

L: I am with Nicoletta on the simpler cakes, like the simplicity of this tart bringing it back to bare essentials, and giving it its due reward, which is absolutely, and luxuriously, delicious. Our motto has always been to use great ingredients that are grown with sincerity and wholeness, and this Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream, I think it exemplifies just that! Starting from the tender flaky crust, with its buttery, melt in your mouth experience. Coming through the velvety, creamy, vanilla pastry cream that leaves your tongue in a state of bliss, only to be awakened by the tartness of the raspberry, the freshness of the blueberries, and if that wasn’t enough, another eye-opening from the lemon zest. What a rush!

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

N: I was very happy with how the tart turned out, worthy of a pastry shop! And everybody enjoyed it, even our neighbours, since with the excess dough and pastry cream I made little fruit tartlets that we home delivered. Here’s to our first 2 years blogging as a couple! Two years of learning, growing, making mistakes, and moving forward into the future. Not forgetting where we came from, where we want to go, and staying true to ourselves.

L: I would like to say, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all our supporters far and wide, the wonderful comments that we so enjoy reading and responding to, and finally to the creative force that enlightens our every day!

Song of the day: “True”, by Spandau Ballet.

Anniversary Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream and Fruit

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: makes 1 (14-inchx5-inch) tart + few (3-inch) tartlets or 2 x 8-inch tarts 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Tart
  • Method: Baking


Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream,  a buttery, crumbly pate sucrée, filled with a delightful, silky vanilla bean pastry cream and topped with fresh raspberries, blueberries, and a grating of lemon zest. To celebrate our two years of incredible blogging adventure.


Pate Sucrée (from the Duchess Bake Shop Cookbook):

  • 245 g (1 and 1/2 cups) organic, unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 75 g (2/3 cup) icing sugar
  • 35 g (1/3 cup) almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 145 g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, organic, free run
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pastry Cream:

  • 365 g (1 1/2 cups) whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced open lengthwise
  • 80 g (1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp) natural cane sugar
  • 80 g (about 4 large) eggs, organic, free run
  • 12 g (1 Tbsp) cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 40 g (3 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed


  • 1/2 cup organic raspberries
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp plum (or apricot) jam
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • fresh lemon zest


Pate Sucrée:

  1. Sift the flour, icing sugar, almond flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Add the cubed butter and mix on low speed until the mixture looks sandy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix on low just until the dough barely comes together (some dry ingredients may still be visible).
  4. Empty the dough out onto a wood surface (counter) and press it down with the palm of your hand to work in the last dry ingredients.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a square. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 2-3 hours (or overnight) before rolling out.
  6. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Lightly flour your work surface and both sides of the dough so that it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin or the surface.
  7. Roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thick, giving the dough a 90-degree turn after each roll, flipping it over frequently, and adding flour as needed.
  8. Roll it up onto the rolling pin and unroll it onto the tart pan. Gently press the dough into the tart pan and up the sides, then with the rolling pin roll over the top edge of the tart pan cutting the excess dough (or run a sharp knife along the top to trim off the excess dough).
  9. Using a fork, lightly poke holes in the bottom of the shell so that no air bubbles form while baking.
  10. Refrigerate the shell for about 15 minutes before baking. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 375° F (190° C).
  11. Bake the shell for 16-18 minutes, or until edges and base are light golden brown.

Pastry Cream:

  1. Heat the milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan until scalding.
  2. While the milk is heating, place the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until the yolks have lightened in color and are a bit frothy. Whisk in the cornstarch and salt.
  3. Remove the vanilla bean from the heated milk and using the back of a knife, scrape the seeds back into the milk.
  4. Slowly drizzle the hot milk into the yolk mixture while continuing to whisk. Once all the milk has been added, transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and place over medium heat.
  5. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil, and continue cooking and whisking for 5 minutes more.
  6. Remove from heat. Immediately strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Add the butter and whisk until smooth (or use an immersion blender).
  7. Cover the pastry cream and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until set.

Assembling the tart:

  1. Use a spatula to slightly break up the cold pastry cream. Fill the tart shell with pastry cream to just slightly below the rim, spreading it out smoothly with a knife or a small offset spatula.
  2. Arrange the fresh berries on top.
  3. In a small pan on the stove, gently melt the jam with the water, and brush it generously over the top of the fruit. Garnish with fresh lemon zest. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months. The prep time includes the resting time for the dough and the chilling time for the pastry cream.

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Ricetta in Italiano:

Anniversary Berry Tart with Vanilla bean Pastry Cream

Crostata di Compleanno ai Frutti di Bosco con Crema Pasticcera alla Vaniglia


Pate Sucrée:

  • 245 g di farina 00
  • 75 g di zucchero a velo
  • 35 g di farina di mandorle
  • 1/4 cucchiaino di sale
  • 145 g di burro non salato, a cubetti, a temperatura ambiente
  • 1 uovo grande
  • 1/4 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia puro

Crema pasticcera:

  • 365 g di latte intero
  • 1 baccello di vaniglia, tagliato nel senso della lunghezza
  • 80 g di zucchero di canna naturale
  • 80 g (circa 4 uova)
  • 12 g (1 cucchiaio) amido di mais (o fecola)
  • 1/4 cucchiaino di sale
  • 40 g (3 cucchiai) di burro non salato, a temperatura ambiente, a cubetti
  • Guarnizione:
  • lamponi
  • mirtilli
  • 2 cucchiai di marmellata di prugne (o albicocca)
  • 1 cucchiaio di acqua
  • scorza di limone fresco


Pate Sucrée:

  1. Setacciare la farina, lo zucchero a velo, la farina di mandorle e il sale nella ciotola di un mixer.
  2. Aggiungere il burro a cubetti e mescolare a bassa velocità finché il composto raggiungerà la consistenza di granelli di sabbia.
  3. Aggiungere l’uovo e la vaniglia e continuare a mescolare a bassa velocità ma non troppo (alcuni ingredienti secchi possono essere ancora visibili).
  4. Svuotare l’impasto su una superficie di legno e premere verso il basso con il palmo della mano per lavorare gli ultimi ingredienti secchi.
  5. Formare l’impasto in una palla, poi appiattirla in un rettangolo. Avvolgerlo in plastica e conservare in frigorifero per 2-3 ore (o tutta la notte).
  6. Prendere la pasta dal frigorifero. Infarinare la superficie di lavoro ed entrambi i lati della pasta in modo che non si attacchi.
  7. Stendere la pasta ad uno spessore di circa 1/2 cm, girando l’impasto di 90 gradi dopo ogni volta, capovolgendola di frequente, e aggiungendo la farina, se necessario.
  8. Arrotolarla sul mattarello e srotolarla sullo stampo da crostata. Premere delicatamente la pasta nello stampo e sui lati per farla aderire, poi con il matterello passare sopra il bordo superiore dello stampo per eliminare la pasta in eccesso (o usare la lama tagliente di un coltello sul bordo superiore per togliere l’eccesso di pasta).
  9. Usando una forchetta, praticare fori sul fondo in modo che non si formino bolle d’aria durante la cottura.
  10. Mettere in frigorifero a riposare per circa 15 minuti prima della cottura. Nel frattempo, preriscaldare il forno a 190° C.
  11. Cuocere la crostata per circa 16-18 minuti, o fino a quando i bordi e la base risultino leggermente dorati.

Crema pasticcera:

  1. Scaldare il latte e il baccello di vaniglia in un pentolino (non farlo bollire).
  2. Mentre il latte si sta riscaldando, mettere lo zucchero e tuorli d’uovo in una ciotola e sbatterli con una frusta fino a quando i tuorli avranno assunto un colore chiaro e saranno un po ‘schiumosi. Aggiungere l’amido di mais (o fecola) e il sale.
  3. Togliere la bacca di vaniglia dal latte riscaldato e con il dorso di un coltello, raschiare i semi e rimetterli nel latte.
  4. Lentamente versare il latte caldo nei tuorli, continuando a sbattere. Una volta che tutto il latte è stato aggiunto, trasferire la miscela di nuovo nel pentolino a fuoco medio.
  5. Mescolando costantemente, portare il composto ad ebollizione e continuare la cottura per altri 5 minuti.
  6. Togliere dal fuoco, passare immediatamente la crema pasticcera attraverso un colino a maglia fine per rimuovere eventuali grumi. Aggiungere il burro e mescolare fino a che sia liscia e omogenea (o usare un frullatore ad immersione).
  7. Coprire la crema pasticcera con pellicola di plastica direttamente a toccare il bordo superiore e raffreddare in frigorifero per 2-3 ore.

Assemblaggio della torta:

  1. Utilizzare una spatola per mescolare la crema pasticcera ormai fredda. Riempire la crostata con crema pasticcera fino al bordo, aiutandovi con un coltello o una piccola spatola inclinata.
  2. Disporre i frutti di bosco freschi sulla crema pasticcera.
  3. In un pentolino sul fuoco, diluire delicatamente la marmellata con l’acqua, poi con un pennello spalmarla generosamente sopra la frutta. Guarnire con scorza di limone fresco.
  4. Mettere in frigorifero fino al momento di servire.


L’impasto si mantiene in frigorifero per un massimo di 4 giorni e in freezer per un massimo di 2 mesi.

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  • Avatar
    Reply chef mimi February 13, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! When do you take the crust out of the pan, before you fill it?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 13, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Thank you Mimi, so much! The crust is amazing, a buttery, crumbly pate sucrée…I wait since it’s fully cold and I use a pan with removable bottom. The pastry cream, too, has to be cold, or at least cool.

      • Avatar
        Reply chef mimi February 13, 2017 at 11:27 am

        Oh, of course! I love those! Maybe I’ll order that shape pan just so i can make this for Easter!

        • Nicoletta
          Reply Nicoletta February 13, 2017 at 11:42 am

          It is a pretty shape, and those new ones don’t even need to be buttered and floured. So easy to bake and take the tart off after. Thank you, Mimi!

  • Avatar
    Reply annie@ciaochowbambina February 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Happy Anniversary, my friends! Beautiful post! I loved reading about your journey as much as I love your berry tart! So happy that the two of you are part of this blogging world! It has been my pleasure to know you through this experience and to learn from you, always! <3

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 13, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Oh Annie, we’re so happy to have you among our friends, virtual for now, but one day maybe we will meet! You always have such nice, supportive words for us! Thank you so much!

  • Avatar
    Reply kmroehl February 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Congratulations on two years! That’s awesome. This tart looks DIVINE–a perfect way to celebrate.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 13, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you so much for celebrating with us! It is really a good tart 😊!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop February 14, 2017 at 5:55 am

    Congrats on two years! Your recipes are so stunning and intriguing! This berry tart looks wonderful, especially with the vanilla bean pastry cream!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 15, 2017 at 7:14 am

      Hi Kathy, thank you so much! This is the best tart we’ve had so far, for the wonderful pate sucrée and the combination with the vanilla bean pastry cream and berries.

  • Avatar
    Reply Eyecandypopper February 15, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Congratulations on 2 years! I wish I would’ve been this good after 2 years! haha You guys got it going on 😉 And this tart looks beautiful. I can taste it just looking at it! MMmmm! I love fresh fruits on top of lightly sweetened desserts. Best of luck for the next blogging adventures!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 15, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Thank you Gabby! They have been two most incredible years and we are excited for what’s coming! Not because we made it, but this dessert is outstanding! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Balvinder February 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Absolutely gorgeous tart…Happy blogiversary! What a beautiful and delicious way to celebrate it.
    Looking forward to many more delicious treats from you!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 16, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Thank you Balvinder! Two wonderful years blogging and many more to come 🙂 . This tart was perfect!

  • Avatar
    Reply karrie @ Tasty Ever After February 17, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Happy 2 years!!!! I love SLS and very happy that you two love it too (because that means you’ll be around forever) 🙂 This tart is so beautiful and very worthy of a pastry shop! Wish I lived closer so I could have come over for dinner too, although maybe you and Loreto can make it to Boston this summer so we can finally meet up (fingers crossed). Hope you both have a wonderful weekend!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 19, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Thank you, Karrie! We’re so happy to have started a food blog because it brought many beautiful people in our lives, like you! We do we want to meet up with you and J! It’s definitely in our plans this summer, we’ll try to make it work 😉 . This tart is amazing, by the way!

  • Avatar
    Reply Sue Ringsdorf March 2, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Happy Two Years!! I love your blog and I love the look of these tarts!! Kudos to you. 💞

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 2, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Thank you so so much, Sue!! We put a lot of love in what we do and are so grateful to each one of you!

  • Avatar
    Reply nourishandfete March 5, 2017 at 6:52 am

    This looks delicious, and it’s so wonderful that taking more time for the blog has already been paying off. Happy anniversary!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 5, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Thank you so much! Blog work is hard work but so rewarding 😉 !

  • Avatar
    Reply Sasha @ Eat Love Eat March 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    So lovely! Congratulations on two years! Your 2 year blog anniversary was just 4 days before mine :):)

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 6, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you Sasha, and happy 2 years blogging to you as well!

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