I had some time on my hands over the weekend, so I decided to do a little experimenting! I have been wanting to find a good fruit tart recipe; I made one with a cream cheese-based filling some time ago, but it wasn’t good enough to warrant a second try. Fruit tarts are something I want to be able to pull out of my back pocket – you can’t deny its loveliness, and making it seemed to call more for planning ahead rather than any particular trick or skill. So, armed with a big cup of joe this morning, I set out to find my favorite fruit tart recipe.
There are 3 main parts that go into making a fruit tart (similar to the nigiri sushi I posted last week): the pastry crust, pastry cream, and fruit. Of the pastry crusts, recipes seemed be divided among Pâte Brisée (shortcrust / shortbread pastry) and Pâte Sucrée (sweet pastry). Of the pastry creams, recipes were divided among the cream cheese-based filling and a vanilla custard-based filling. The fruit is, well, fruit. So off to the world wide web I wet! Since I had already tested (and didn’t like) a cream cheese-based filling, I limited my pastry cream experiment to vanilla custard-based fillings.
Pastry crust contestants:
Pasty cream contestants:
And the winners were.. Tasty Bite Blog’s pastry crust and Ladurée’s pastry cream!
Frankly, you couldn’t go wrong with any of the above choices, but if I had to choose, those are the two I would pick. As a general realization, I noticed that I liked pairing a sweet pastry cream with a non-sweet pastry crust. The sweet crusts (like Joy of Baking’s) tasted great on their own – maybe I could try making a shortbread of sorts next time.
Anyway, here are the recipes!
Pastry Crust (courtesy of Karen from The Tasty Bite Blog)
1 1/4 cups AP flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
Pinch of salt
Step 1: Mix together flour and sugar. Combine butter with dry ingredients (I simply used my hands, covered with a plastic glove, to mash it all together).
Step 2: Once the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, add the iced water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together (do not overknead!). Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hr.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out the rough, and press into the pie/tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork so that the dough doesn’t puff up so much. Bake for 15 min, or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Pastry Cream (courtesy of Ladurée)
1 whole vanilla bean
400 ml whole milk
4 egg yolks
30g corn starch
25g unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
Step 1: Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and use the tip to scrape the seeds into a saucepan. Add the milk and vanilla pod, and bring it to a summer. Remove from heat, cover immediately, and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until slightly pale. Add cornstarch.
Step 3: Remove the vanilla pod from the saucepan, and reheat the milk, bringing to a simmer. Pour a third of the hot milk over the egg yolk / sugar / cornstarch mixture to temper the yolks. Whisk together, and then pour that mixture back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil while constantly stirring with a whisk, making sure to scrape down the sides of the pan with a spatula.
Step 4: Remove from the heat, and pour the cream into a clean bowl. Allow to cool for 10 minutes so that it is still hot but not boiling, and stir in the butter.
Fruit Tart (bringing it all together)
Step 1: Once the pastry crust has cooled, spoon in the pastry cream and smooth the top.
Step 2: Add whatever fresh fruit you’d like, in whatever way you’d like, and that’s all there is to it! Enjoy!!