With the arrival of spring, various types of fruits are becoming available at the markets. This elegant, jewel-coloured dessert is a perfect treat and it pairs well with champagne. Don’t be alarmed at the length of this recipe.. it is quite simple to make.
9″ fluted tart pan with removable bottom, or 4 mini pans
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 C cold, unsalted butter
1/4 C granulated white sugar, I prefer baker’s sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
In a medium bowl, whisk flour and salt until incorporated. Beat butter in a mixer, or your method of preference, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until fluffy and light. Gradually incorporate the egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture mix until a ball forms, carefully not to over mix as this will harden the crust. Flatten pastry dough and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 25-30 minutes, or until firm.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough to a 12″ circle that is about 1/8 inch thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter, and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting and turning the dough a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center outwards to get uniform thickness). To make sure the dough is the correct size, place tart pan over the rolled pastry dough. The pastry dough should be approximately 2″ larger in diameter than the tart pan.
When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll it around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour, and unroll onto top of tart pan. Lay dough in pan and lightly press into bottom and sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin across the top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for approximately 20 minutes to chill.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line unbaked pastry shell with buttered parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights (you can substitute with beans), making sure the weights are filled to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake crust on center rack for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack before filling.
Vanilla Pastry Cream:
1 1/4 C whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/4 C granulated white sugar, I like baker’s sugar
2 Tbl cornstarch, sifted
2 Tbl all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
In a small saucepan, boil milk and vanilla (if using beans, scrape the seeds into the milk and include the pods). In a medium saucepan, gently whisk the yolks, sugar, cornstarch and flour until well blended and a thick consistency. While still whisking, drizzle in about 3/4 cup of the warm milk over egg yolks to warm them. Continue to whisk as you slowly incorporate the rest of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and whisk constantly, bringing to a boil. Keep mixture at a boil, continuing to whisk, for approximately 1-2 minutes, remove from heat and strain vanilla bean through fine strainer, seeds can be left in mixture. The consistency of the cream should be smooth and silky. Transfer into a bowl and let cool for approximately 5 minutes. You can place a piece of plastic wrap over the cream so a skin does not form. Refrigerate until cold and ready to use. This can be made a day in advance.
Approximately 3 Cups of various fruits of your choice. I find fruits that aren’t too juicy work best, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, citrus fruits and plums.
I sometimes like to add toasted almond slivers
I sometimes like to add toasted almond slivers
1/2 C apricot jam or preserves
1 Tbl Grand Marnier (you can substitute other liqueurs or water) I plan to use Chambord next.
Heat the apricot jam or preserves and liqueur in a small saucepan over low-medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any pieces of fruit. If using, add the liqueur. Let cool until slightly warm.
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 should fall away.
Spread a thin layer of apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of the tart shell. Let glaze dry 30 minutes. Spread the pastry cream evenly onto the bottom of the baked tart shell, filling about 3/4 full.
Arrange fruit in overlapping circles, or any design you like. Rewarm glaze and brush lightly onto fruit. Serve immediately or refrigerate (remove 20-30 minutes prior to serving).
Bon appétit! xoxo, B