Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fresh fruit tart

This is my very favorite fruit tart recipe (originally from Cook's Illustrated magazine.), and also a favorite with my family… I've made it at least a dozen times! It's nice to make for parties because you can make both the buttery tart shell and the vanilla custard (pastry cream) way ahead of time, and then just assemble with the fruit of your choice just before your guests arrive or before you head out to your party. Glazing the fruit of your assembled tart with rum infused jelly makes your tart look trĂ©s French-pastry-shop awesome. The recipe is difficult to find on-line so here it is.

Classic Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream

Pastry Cream:
2 C. half and half
1/2 C. sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks, chalazae removed
3 T. cornstarch
4 T. unsalted butter (cold) cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Tart Pastry
1 large egg yolk
1 T. heavy cream
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 C. flour
2/3 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 t. salt
8 T. unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2" cubes

Finishing glaze
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 tablespoon dark rum

For the pastry cream, heat half-and-half, 6 T. sugar and salt in saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.

Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 T. sugar and whisk until sugar has began to dissolve and mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer mixture to bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 48 hours.

For tart pastry, whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in bowl. Pulse to combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15, 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour up to 48 hours.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper. Transfer dough to tart pan. Set dough-lined tart pan on large plate and freeze 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375. Set tart pan on baking sheet, press 12-in. square of foil inside frozen tart shell and over edges and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.

When tart shell is completely cool, spread cold pastry cream over bottom and top with fresh fruit. Place apricot preserves and rum in a saucepan to heat, then brush the warm glaze over the fruit to give it a shine. Serve within an hour or two.

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