I have some exciting news to share today—I’m hosting a free class all about natural lighting, and you can read more + sign up for it here! As you can probably tell from the images I share here, lighting makes *such* a huge impact on photo quality, and I am so incredibly excited to share my go-to lighting techniques with you in the class 🙂 And as for this grape custard tart, well…my grape vine didn’t produce as much fruit this year as I’d hoped, but I was able to gather enough of them to whip up this delicious almond custard base with a sweet homemade grape jello layer on top!
Now, I know grape jello and custard might sound strange, but trust me when I say that this cool, creamy, and fruity flavor combination is absolutely bonkers good together. Plus, this isn’t the same as that boxed grape jello from the store. Nope, this is homemade grape concentrate, made with fresh, sweet, juicy grapes, a touch of sugar and water, and a pinch of gelatin. It’s concentrating down all that tannic sweet summer grape goodness into a single vibrant layer on top of the classic almond custard, and it makes for quite the end-of-summer treat.
There are longer steps in this recipe (like soaking the almonds for the custard, and freezing the crust for an hour), so make sure to read through the whole recipe before you make it so that you can pace it out accordingly. It’s not difficult to make, there’s just a lot of down time while you wait for things to cool, basically. As for the garnish on top of the grape custard tart, I stuck to the same color palette as the grape concentrate and went with fresh purple figs, thinly sliced plums, and some fresh grapes for good measure. But you can feel free to use whatever fresh fruits you have on hand 🙂
Grape Custard Tart with Fresh Fruit
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter cold and hard
- 8 to 12 tablespoons ice water
- 1 cup blanched slivered almonds soaked for 3 to 8 hours in filtered water
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks whisked
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 6 ounces purple grapes de-stemmed
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 2 cups fresh fruit such as figs, sliced plums, and grapes
Crust & Custard
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, almond meal, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Grate the butter in the large hole of the grater above the bowl, stopping to stir and coat the butter bits in the flour mixture every 30 seconds.
- Pinch the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles the texture of damp sand. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing it with a fork, until the dough just holds together when you squeeze a fistful of it in your hand.
- Roll out the dough into a circle until it is 1/4-inch thick, and transfer it to a 9-inch deep-dish tart pan. Press the crust into the pan, and trim off the excess overhang.
- Poke it all over with fork and place it in freezer for 1 hour.
- For the custard, strain the almonds and discard the soaking liquid. Puree the soaked almonds with the milk, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt at high speed until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a piece of tin foil and press the greased side into the crust in the pan and par-bake for 25 minutes.
- While the crust is par-baking, you can finish preparing the custard. Empty the almond mixture into small saucepan and place over medium low heat, stirring every 3 minutes. Once the mixture is hot but not boiling, remove it from the heat and ladle some of the milk mixture into a medium bowl with the egg yolks, whisking them together rapidly. Continue until you’ve added about half the hot milk mixture to the yolks, then empty the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and place it back over medium low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk vigorously until smooth. Continue cooking until the custard has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Once the 25 minutes of par-baking for the crust are up, remove the foil from the crust and pat down any air bubbles that have risen up. Place a casserole dish half-full of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven. Pour the custard filling into the tart crust and place the pan back in the oven on the center rack. Bake until the edges of the custard are set but the middle is slightly jiggly, about 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door. Allow the tart to cool completely in the oven (allowing it to cool slowly will prevent cracking of the custard). Then remove the tart from the pan.
- Heat the grapes, 1/4 cup of the water, and the sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and break apart the grapes with the end of a wooden spoon, releasing their juices. When all the grapes have burst (about 5 minutes), remove the pot from heat and strain the mixture through a metal mesh sieve or colander, reserving the grape juice, and pressing on the grape skins to extract as much liquid as possible. Compost the skins and reserve the liquid. You should have about 3/4 cup grape concentrate.
- In a very small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of cold water and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- While the grape juice is still very hot, whisk in the gelatin mixture and continue stirring until the gelatin has dissolved. Use an ice bath to cool the grape juice down to room temperature.
If you don't know what that means, get a large bowl and add a few cups of ice cubes to it. Get another bowl that's small enough to nest inside the large bowl and set it inside. Pour a bit of cold water into the larger bowl, taking care not to over-fill it—you DON'T want water to get into the center bowl. Pour the grape gelatin mixture into the center bowl and whisk it. It will cool down very quickly.
Once the grape mixture has cooled to room temperature, remove the center bowl from the ice bath and *gently* pour the grape mixture on top of the custard in the tart. Place the tart in the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours to solidify the grape gel. Before serving, garnish with fresh fruit. Serve chilled.