Fruit Tart

Fruit_tartNothing like a fruit tart.  One of my favorites.  The key is the pastry cream. 

I made a crust earlier in the day.  You really need to make a crust in a tart pan where the bottom comes out.  Otherwise, just pick up a pre-made crust and bake it without anything in it. Remember to put rice or beans over tin foil on top of your crust when you bake it otherwise the crust will rise. The fruit tart is made after the tart is cooled.

Pastry Cream –
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
3 T. cornstarch
1/2 stick of cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 T. vanilla extract

Take the half and half and 6 T. of the sugar, salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Stir just a little bit to make sure the sugar is dissolved.  I actually don’t turn this on until I have finished the second step.  Just makes it easier.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until combined.  Whisk in the other 2 T. sugar until the mixture is  creamy.  About 20 seconds or so.  Then whisk in the cornstarch until the mixture becomes pale.  That takes about 30 seconds or so. 

When the half and half mixture simmers, turn off the heat and gradually whisk half of that into the egg yolk mixture.  This will temper the mix.  Then return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping down the sides with a spatula.  Return the medium heat and whisk constantly until bubbles burst the surface.  The mixture will start to thicken quickly.  About 30 seconds of so and then take it off the heat.  Now whisk in the remaining butter ( already cut into small pieces ) and the vanilla until totally incorporated. 

Strain the pastry cream through a sieve into a bowl.  Then wrap with saran wrap, pressing the saran directly down on the cream so that no skin is formed.  Let this sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or until cold to use.  You could let is stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Also, since you aren’t using a vanilla bean with this mixture, you really don’t need to strain before putting in a bowl.  I didn’t. 

When the cream is cold.  Use a spatula to evenly spread the cream into your saved tart crust.  Choose your favorite berries such a raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or even cut up kiwi to layer on the top.  The trick to getting the berries to glow is before laying them over the pastry cream, use a little bit of apple jelly tossed into the fruit to give it that sheen.  It makes for a better presentation.