Sunday, September 6, 2009

Number 15: Fruit tarts

Today was barbecue/high school friends reunion get together thing so I made fruit tarts, because you need a lot of people to eat up the custard before it goes bad. It was pretty successful. The barbecue, I mean. Fresh salsa and guac, carne asada, all the toppings and fruit tarts. Good summer dinner, although I'm still hungry. Those boys eat a lot.

I love the smell of strawberries and the way the colors of fruits collide on a tart - usually, I use kiwis, strawberries and blueberries but the blackberries were so amazing-looking at the market I skipped out on blueberries. Raspberries were just for fun.

I read on some food blog that the perfect tart crust recipe is like a baker's little black dress, and I agree. I love my crust recipe - it's buttery and crisp and perfect.

So here's the recipe. I used the same pastry cream recipe as the eclairs, just minused the chocolate. Wanted to try a simpler recipe without having to measure grams.

Fruit tarts
For the shortbread crust:
250 grams butter (unsalted)
125 grams confectioners sugar
1 gram salt
1 egg
360 grams cake flour (plus extra for rolling)

For the pastry cream:
2 cups (500g) whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75g) sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or one vanilla bean stick)
2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

To make the crust:
note: using an electric mixer makes this much easier, but use the paddle attachment
1. Soften the butter. Sift in the powdered sugar and salt and cream the butter until it pales slightly
2. Mix in the egg
3. Mix in the flour
4. Turn out the dough onto a piece of clear plastic wrap, slightly floured
5. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. If you must use it soon, freeze it for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees for flatter tart crusts, 365 for taller crusts
6. Take the dough out from the fridge and turn it out onto a slightly floured work surface
7. Flatten so it is 1/4 inch thick
8. Press into tart mold (?) and poke a couple holes onto the bottom with a fork
9. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden on the edges. Let cool

To make the pastry cream:
1. If you're using vanilla beans, scrape seeds into milk and let sit for 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.
2. Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.
3. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.
4. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled.
5. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).
6. Stir in the vanilla extract if using, and then remove the pan from the heat.
7. Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.
8. Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments.
9. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

- The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

- In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.
- Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.
- I washed and dried the fruit beforehand, glazing it with a simple syrup to get a shine. Jam also works.
- Also, if you want, you can replace some cake flour with ground almonds.


Gala said...

yum. I love little fruit tarts and yours look super cute!

Kristin said...

I used this recipe to make a tart today and it turned out pretty well. Biggest complaint is having to convert grams to cups, but the internet helped with that. =)