It’s been a while since my last post, I know. I actually have been quite busy baking for a recent dessert party, so you’ll be seeing some non-cake posts for a while. First up is a classic fruit tart. Despite my recent propensities to tinker with recipes, there is little I would want to mess with when it comes to this dessert.
My sister likes to remind me of a sad little story about me and fruit tarts. In my first trip to Paris during my college days, I salivated over these glistening tarts in the patisserie windows. Though I was backpacking throughout Europe and my budget was limited, I had passed by too many shops before I finally purchased one, which was carefully packaged in a cardboard box. I placed it in my bag to savor that evening. I had been wandering by myself that day and had gotten lost trying to meet up with my sister that evening, so it was a pretty miserable day for me. All I looked forward to was my precious tart. Well, as you’ve probably guess my now, by the time I opened the box, the perfect tart form was completely destroyed, its custard innards scrambled with fruit and broken shells. It was pretty sad. I learned a lesson that day about how the ephemerality and fragility of beauty.
I’ve made apple tarts before using the recipe here, but I’ve never actually attempted a fruit tart with tart dough and pastry cream. Despite my overbaking the tart shell, it was so simple, I wondered why on earth I haven’t made this before. The tart was extremely well-received.
Fresh Fruit Tart
Pastry Cream (recipe based on one from a class by chef Chad Pagano)
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
3 tblsp cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 stick (2 tblsp) butter
In a saucepan, dissolve first portion of sugar in milk, bringing to boil. Whisk egg and yolks in a bowl. Sift cornstarch and second portion of sugar into eggs and beat until smooth. Slowly pour hot milk into eggs in a steady stream (to avoid cooking eggs). Transfer mixture back to saucepan and reheat until boiling. Stir constantly. When mixture comes to a boil – it will be thick – remove from heat. Stir in butter and mix until melted. Transfer to a clean bowl and chill for at least three hours. I added a tablespoon of Cointreau to my pastry cream after the butter. Pastry cream can be flavored with other liqueurs, vanilla bean, chocolate, etc.
Sweet Tart Dough (from Desserts by Pierre Herme, by Doree Greenspan)
This recipe makes enough for three batches of tart dough. This larger quantity is recommended because it is easier to prepare a larger batch at once. It can be frozen for later use.
2.5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup lightly packed ground blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
3.5 cups all purpose flour
Beat butter on low speed in the bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment. Add rest of ingredients, except flour, and blend on low speed, scraping down sides occasionally. Add flour in 3-4 additions, still on low speed, just until mixture comes together.
Divide dough into three discs (for 10″ tart pans) and wrap each in plastic. Chill/rest in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or freeze up to a month.
Roll out dough a floured surface until it is large enough to come up the sides of the tart pan (about 1/8″ thick). To prevent sticking, keep rotating the dough. Trim edges by rolling the pin across the top edges of the pan, patching any holes as necessary. Chill dough in pan for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blind bake tart dough. Place parchment paper or foil onto dough and fill with dry beans or rice for 18-20 minutes. Remove paper and beans/rice and bake 5 more minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire rack and cool.
To assemble tart, spread pastry cream over shell. Arrange sliced fruits in decorative manner. Glaze with apricot jam, that has been heated and thinned with a little water. Strain jam and brush over fruits.