Monday, March 8, 2010

Tarts: Part II

So now that the crust is covered, what to do next?

Really, there are many options and you can be creative and create your own or search the many tart recipes that exist in cookbooks and online. So far, I have just tried two fillings; pastry cream with fruit and homemade caramel with toasted walnuts. Both were very good.

Again, the recipes are from a pastry class that I took at Whole Foods…although I did adjust the measurements to standard cup measurements rather than grams (because I don’t have a kitchen scale). My conversions may not have been precisely accurate, but they worked okay.


Fruit Tart (Pastry Cream with Fruit)

(The pastry cream does require some TLC, it’s not something you can start and just walk away from. You need to be able to give it some dedicated time.)

2 cups skim milk (the recipe just called for milk, but I used skim milk and it tasted great)
4 egg yolks (large size eggs)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup sugar
vanilla extract to taste (I think I used about ½ teaspoon or more)

Whisk yolks, cornstarch, and sugar together in a bowl.

Place milk in a sauce pan and heat over medium, to almost boiling.

Remove milk from stove, and slowly temper egg mixture into hot milk. (I actually slowly put some of the milk into the egg mixture first and then returned the egg mixture into the remaining milk in the pan.)

Return to the stove, cook stirring continuously to avoid cooking the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook at least 4 minutes at a boil. (It took quite a while for the mixture to come to a boil.)

Continue to cook and stir until custard becomes shiny. Smell should be sweet, not starchy.

Remove from heat, cool slightly then add vanilla to taste. (The pastry cream was delicious, even on its own.)

(I let it cool a little longer after I added the vanilla.)

Pour the pastry cream into the crust. (I left the crust in the pan while I poured in the filling. I also did not pour all of the pastry cream into the crust, just enough to fill it most of the way.)

Arrange your favorite fruits on top of the pastry cream. (Place the fruits in a pattern or design; or just put them on randomly, whatever you prefer.)

Brush over the fruit with a glaze. In the class they melted apricot preserves and used that, but I prefer this glaze:

¼ cup sugar
pinch of salt
½ tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 cup water

In a sauce pan, combine sugar, salt, corn starch, orange juice, lemon juice and water. Cook and stir over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, allow to cool but not set up. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over the fruit.

Place the tart in the refrigerator to chill before serving.

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