Oh boy, it’s been a while since I’ve sat at this computer, checked email or anything related to blogging. Am I coming or going? I’m simply not sure! At the moment I have one thing on my mind.
Have I ever told you that I’m petrified of grasshoppers?
One summer . . . while picking raspberries . . . a large beastly grasshopper jumped in my hair . . . and got stuck! In my fury to remove it, it kicked and screamed back!!! Long story short, it was not pretty picture.
Today . . . it happened again. I just about pulled all my hair out, trying to retrieve it!
I don’t believe that my husband will cut down the Raspberry bushes, so . . .
There is only one thing left to do. Cut all my hair off! I don’t have much, so it won’t take long.
Most of the beautiful berries we’ve been picking have carefully been placed in the freezer, or given to neighbors. I did manage to squeak out one delicious dessert a couple of weeks ago. Yup . . . the pictures have been sitting in my camera just waiting for me to do something, anything with them.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks; Le Cordon Bleu. Since I’m most likely not going to a world-renowned cooking school anytime soon, the best I can do is pick up a few of their beautiful instructional cookbooks. Trust me, it is money well spent. If you can, pick up Le Cordon Bleu – Dessert Techniques. It’s hard to put down and you’ll learn a lot.
I really haven’t been sitting eating bon bons, or leisurely paging through cookbooks or baking. It’s all about Raspberry picking, peas, beans, tomatoes, salsa and a great big garden. You know, you hear it from me every year. This year, I will just leave it at that.
I’ll give you a few more pictures & some notes though . . . just in case you have time to make this yummy Fruit Tart.
Here is my chilled sweet pastry dough. This dough is very much like a shortbread cookie. It wasn’t soggy, even on day 2. In fact, there was one piece left on day 3. It still was not soggy!
Make sure that you follow all my notes through the recipe. Hint: the egg white wash, before filling with pastry cream.
Here is my 8-9 ” Tart pan with removable bottom. This is the size that the original recipe calls for. I could tell immediately, that it’s waaaaaay too much dough for the tart pan. I assumed it was . . . I had never used this pastry dough before.
I grabbed a larger Tart pan.
Much better! Once patting the chilled pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 to 30 minutes. Before placing in a preheated 400 degree oven, lightly prick bottom of the pastry crust with the tines of a fork. (This helps prevent it from puffing up while it bakes) You could also line the shell with foil and use dry beans or ceramic beads to prevent this. If it does puff up a bit – don’t stress, just take a fork and prick it lightly….it will fall back down!
After baking the Crust, follow the notes on brushing the baked shell with egg white and placing it back in a warm oven until the wash is dry. Let cool them remove the crust from the tart pan. Cool.
Prepare the apricot glaze and the pastry cream.
Notes: This sweet pastry is much like a shortbread cookie, not pie crust.
I love pastry cream . . . as is. My husband prefers it a bit lighter. To compromise, I whip one cup of whipping cream and fold it into the cooled pastry cream, before spreading it in the cooled pastry shell.
That is purely optional however. I do sweeten the whipped cream ever so lightly with powdered sugar when whipping it.
Now it’s time to arrange your berries & fruit, any ‘ol way you prefer, on top of the pastry cream. I’ve used raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
The glaze is optional as well, but it makes the dessert look really shiny and pretty. You just want a thin layer brushed across the fruit. Refrigerate your beautiful Tart until you’re ready to serve it.
Let it come to almost room temp before serving to guests. This is best served the day you assemble it, but we enjoyed it the next day as well.
This is one of those desserts that looks too pretty to eat. One bite convinces you to dive right in, however.
I hope to be back soon and I pray I still have hair!
- Sweet Pastry Crust:
- 1½ cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at
- room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Pastry Cream:
- 1¼ cups (300 ml) milk (whole or 2%)
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch
- Apricot Glaze: (optional)
- ½ cup (120 grams) apricot jam or preserves
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 cups (720 ml) fruit (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, kiwifruit, bananas, plums, pineapple, melon, etc.)
- Sweet Pastry Crust:
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or just until firm (can place in freezer for about 10-15 minutes.)
- Lightly butter and flour, or spray with a non-stick vegetable/flour cooking spray, an 10 to 11 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Evenly pat the chilled pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Lightly prick bottom of pastry crust with the tines of a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Place tart pan on a larger baking pan and bake crust for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and continue to bake the crust for about 15 minutes or until dry and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before filling. Can be covered and stored for a few days.
- notes: This is optional, but after baking crust, whip 1 egg white until lightly frothy. With a pastry brush lightly brush the baked crust. Place crust back into the warm oven until the egg wash is dry and set. This will ensure that they crust doesn't get soggy when you add the pastry cream. Cool crust on rack.
- Pastry Cream:
- In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together. (Don't let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.) Sift the flour and cornstarch (corn flour) together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla bean just to boiling (just until milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.) Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture. (The vanilla bean can be washed and dried and placed in your sugar bowl to give the sugar a vanilla flavor.) Then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat. (Stir in vanilla extract if using instead of a vanilla bean.) Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Beat or whisk before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.
- Apricot Glaze:
- Heat the apricot jam or preserves and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid (melted). (Can also heat in the microwave.) Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.
- To Assemble Tart:
- To remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan, touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto your platter.
- Spread a thin layer of apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of the baked tart shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry (about 20 minutes). Then spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place fruit randomly on top of cream or in concentric overlapping circles, starting at the outside edge. After arranging the fruit, rewarm the glaze, if using, and gently brush a light coat on the fruit. If not serving immediately, refrigerate but bring to room temperature before serving. This fruit tart is best eaten the same day as it is assembled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.