THE PROOF THE PUDDING by Rhys Bowen: Chef Pierre’s Berry Tart Recipe

In my novel, The Proof of the Pudding, my heroine, Lady Georgiana—35th in line to the throne in 1936—acquires a French chef who becomes so popular, that he is invited to cook a charity dinner at Blackheart Manor—a house famous for its poison garden. Are we then surprised when several guests are poisoned? Could it be the berry tart?

Here is his recipe. It’s fiddly but delicious. And I assure you no poisonous ingredients are involved:

Enjoy while you read The Proof of the Pudding, and work out who put poisonous berries into the tarts and why!

Happy Reading,

Rhys Bowen

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6-8 servings

Prep Time

70 mins

Cook Time

20 mins

THE PROOF THE PUDDING by Rhys Bowen: Chef Pierre’s Berry Tart Recipe

For the dough
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • I egg yolk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cold water
For the pastry cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Dash of brandy or Grand Marnier (optional)
For the topping
  • 2 cups mixed berries (slice strawberries if using)
  • 1 cup fruit jelly (currant or raspberry)
  1. To make the dough: Place flour, salt, sugar in food processor. Add butter and pulse about 7 times to break into little pieces.
  2. Mix egg yolk with water in a small bowl. With processor running, add egg mixture until dough comes into a ball. Remove dough and wrap in plastic wrap.
  3. With a rolling pin, roll dough in the plastic to fit a 10-inch tart pan. Remove wrap. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place dough in pan, pressing sides and bottom. Use a paring knife to trim the top edge of the dough so it is even with the rim of the pan. Prick pastry with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Place parchment or foil over pastry and cover with baking beads or dried beans. Bake 10 minutes. Remove weights. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Make the pastry cream: In a medium saucepan, stir sugar and cornstarch. Stir in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil. While heating milk, Beat egg slightly, in a small bowl, then slowly stir in small amount of the hot sauce. Slowly pour egg mixture into sauce, stirring to prevent lumping. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add a dash of brandy or Grand Marnier if desired. Cool completely,When cool, cover with plastic wrap, pushing it onto the of the pastry cream. Chill for an hour. Using a standing mixer, whip heavy cream and vanilla. Remove pastry cream and fold in whipped cream.
  5. Remove tart crust from pan and place on a serving platter. Spread filing evenly into the tart shell using spatula. Top with berries.
  6. Melt jelly with 1 tablespoon of water in a small saucepan, whisking until thin. With a pastry brush dab the fruit with a thin layer of jelly. Chill until ready to serve.