I do love the pie but my favorite is the tart. Nothing quite like pastry cream. I made this tart for the weekend guests. I also tried a new crust from an article in the Boston Globe that Ellen ( a reader of this blog ) sent me. I really liked the crust. It isn't easy to make a crust out at the beach with all the salt air but this turned out just fine. I also used a new recipe for the pastry cream. Emily picked up Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and I tried that. Interesting is that she uses corn starch which I have never used but that ingredient basically insures that the cream will gel. The final key is apple jelly. I learned that trick in a baking class. Take just a little bit of apple jelly and toss the fruit in it before putting it on top of the tart. That is where the shine comes from.
|teaspoon baking powder
|cup solid vegetable shortening, cut up
|tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up
|tablespoon distilled white vinegar
|tablespoons ice water
Use a cuisinart, makes life so much easier. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse until mixed ( a few times ). Add in the vegetable shortening ( something I rarely use but went with it ) and butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles little crumbs. Toss the sugar over the top and pulse again. Now add the liquid ingredients ( I whisked together the egg, vinegar and water in a small bowl before pouring into the flour mixture ). Pulse until a ball begins to form. Pour the mixture on a counter and cut into two pieces. Work each into a ball ( don't knead but just make sure all the flour that didn't get wet works into the wet mixture ). Wrap each ball in saran wrap and put in the fridge until it gets cold. I actually used this dough 30 minutes later but I would prefer to wait 2 hours.
To roll out, put between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll over the top of a removable bottom tart pan. Cut off the extra dough and fork prick the bottom and then refrigerate to cool. What I liked about this dough is that it was really easy to roll out and didn't get crumbly when using.
Once it is cool, put tin foil over the entire tart, pushing it down so there is no air and fill to the top with beans or rice. I keep a big batch of this in my pantry that I use over and over again for this. Bake at 350. After about 20/30 minutes, take a look and see if the pastry has started to set. Once it has, take off the tinfoil and let the tart continue to bake until browned, about 10 more minutes. Cool.
2 cups whole milk ( I only had 2 % so I used 1 1/2 cups of that and added in another 1/2 cup of cream which I happened to have but I could have easily just used 2% milk for the entire thing)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean split ( I didn't have this either so I used 1 tbsp. vanilla extract )
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp. unsalted butter cut into small pieces
In a saucepan, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla and salt. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. A few minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. I actually did this prior to warming the mixture in the saucepan. This is one of those recipes where you really can't wait around in between each step, so be prepared.
One the mixture is ready, take about 1/2 cup of it and pour into the cornstarch mixture constantly whisking. Continue until the entire mixture is incorporated, about 1/2 cup at a time but do it quickly. Then take the mixture and pour it back into the saucepan and cook over a medium heat, continually whisking. In about 2 minutes, the mixture begins to thicken. It happens quite quickly.
Take the mixture off the heat, add in the butter ( the butter stops the mixture from cooking – again already cup up ) and continue to whisk until the butter has completely melted and totally incorporated.
Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (pushing the plastic wrap right to the surface of the cream so there is no air). Refrigerate for a few hours until cool.
Once the tart and the pastry cream is cool, it is time to make the tart. Put the cream inside the tart and use a spatula to even out the cream. Now add whatever fruit you want on the top. Be creative. Use the apple jelly sparingly to start until you get the shine you are looking for.