May 2011
Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Pastry Cream

This fruit tart was series of failures for me. It tasted great in the end, but it was a long road to get there. First, I made my tart crust too thin, so the bottom crust ended up dark brown and cracked. I realized only after the fact that my tart pan was bigger than the 9 inch tart pan the recipe was designed for. So, after a run to the grocery store for more butter, I increased the recipe by 1/2 and made a successful tart shell.

My next failure was the pastry cream. Never making pastry cream before, I wasn’t sure what to look for when it was done. It never thickened up on the stove, but as novice to pastry cream,  I put it in the fridge thinking it would thicken in the fridge. Well, if didn’t, if  you can tell by the pictures. While it tasted good, the fruit was too heavy and sunk to the bottom. My lesson here for you is keep cooking the cream until it thickens up, it will thicken up, just be patient!

I didn’t get a chance to remake the pastry cream as I was out of time, and out of ingredients, but I took it to a picnic anyways. Everyone there thought it tasted great, even if the pastry cream was a little runny. I can’t wait until I have an oppourtunity to make this again so I can learn from my mistakes, and pull of a gorgeous fruit tart like you see in magazines. :)

Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Pastry Cream
1 9-inch tart pan

Ingredients:
For the tart dough:
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the pastry cream:
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
2 large kiwis, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
6-9 oz. raspberries
1/2-1 cup blueberries
1/2 pint strawberrries, halved.
Apple jelly, for glazing

Directions:
Start by making the tart shell, whisking together the egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bowl; then set aside.  Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Process briefly to combine.  Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture, and process into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses.  With the machine running, add the egg and cream mixture and combine until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds.  Press the dough into small round disk, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round.  Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan.  Press the dough to the sides of the tart pan and remove the excess off the top.  Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.  

Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 375° F.  Set the tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen shell and over the edge, and fill with pie weights.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights.  Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.  Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a  fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

To assemble the tart, spread the cold pastry cream evenly over the bottom of the tart shell.  Arrange the fruit on top of the pastry cream as desired.  Heat the jelly in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, just until slightly melted and easy to stir.  Using a pastry brush, paint a light layer of jelly over the fresh fruit. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Source: Adapted from Baking Illustrated as seen on Annie’s Eats

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4 Responses to Fresh Fruit Tart with Vanilla Pastry Cream

  1. Erin says:

    I have never made pastry cream before either, so thanks for the tip! Sounds like a wonderful tart though – yeah for summer with creamy, fruity desserts!

  2. Nicole, RD says:

    That looks perfect for the spring/summer weather we’re FINALLY going to get this weekend…yum!

  3. That looks beautiful! and so delicious!

  4. Liz says:

    Absolutely gorgeous tart! YUM!

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