The creme patissiere or pastry cream is a thick custard filling made by cooking milk, eggs, sugar, some flour over the stove. Corn flour is added to help thicken the mixture. Vanilla pods are usually boiled together with the milk before the seeds are scraped out and added to the mixture. Since I do not have any vanilla pods, I substitute with pure vanilla extract. This pastry cream tastes way better than most store bought tarts which I believe the custard fillings are made with custard powder. I do not have a well trained palette, but I have made enough fruit tarts to be able to tell the difference. The recipe may look super long and complicated, but the crust and pastry cream can be made ahead of time, and when ready to serve, you are left with the simple task of putting them together.
Aspiring Bakers #5: Fruity March hosted by Jess of Bakericious. I am glad I am finally able to participate in this event. Thanks Jess for hosting this round and Small Small Baker for championing this monthly baking event :)
Fresh Fruit Tart
(makes one 18cm tart)
80g cake flour
20g almond powder (grounded almond)
30g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15g) lightly beaten egg
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon* cornflour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon* plain flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
fresh fruits such as strawberries, kiwi fruits, orange, peaches, etc
- Lightly grease an 18cm tart pan (with removable base) with butter, set aside.
- Toast almond powder at 100 degC for 10 mins. Stirring in between. Let cool.
- With a manual whisk, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Dribble in the egg, whisk and mix well. Add in the almond powder and fold with a spatula. Sieve over the flour and fold in with the spatula. Gather the mixture to form a dough.
- Flatten the pastry dough to form a round disc. Roll out the dough in between 2 sheets of baking paper (I used two plastic sheets cut-out from clear plastic bags) to about 23cm in diameter. Remove one side of the baking paper/plastic sheet. Gently lift up the other sheet of baking paper/plastic (with the pastry dough still on it) and flip the pastry dough over the prepared tart pan. Remove the baking paper/plastic sheet. (Don't worry if some parts of the pastry broke off. It can be moulded easily back into the tart pan.) Mould the pastry into the tart pan, smoothing the edges and the rim carefully. (If the pastry is too soft to handle, chill the rolled out dough in the fridge for 10~15 mins before moulding.)
- Prick the pastry surface with a fork (this helps to prevent the pastry from puffing up when baking). Cover and chill the moulded pastry in the fridge for 20mins (this helps to prevent the pastry from shrinking too much after baking.)
- Brush the top of the rim with some egg wash (optional). Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 degC for 20~25 mins or until the pastry is lightly golden browned. Let cool before removing the crust from the tart pan.
- In a saucepan, bring milk slowly to the boil and remove from the heat.
- In a mixing bowl, with a manual whisk, whisk egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale and thickens (takes a couple of minutes). Sieve over the corn flour and plain flour. Whisk until the mixture becomes smooth (a few quick stir).
- Add in the hot milk gradually to the yolk mixture, whisk constantly to prevent curdling.
- Pour the mixture over a sieve and return it to the saucepan. Heat gently, stirring constantly with a whisk or a wooden spoon until the mixture just starts to boil. When it boils, continue to stir constantly for another 1 minute, the mixture will become thick and hard to stir. It is important to stir the mixture constantly as it cooks so that it thickens but doesn't turn lumpy.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract (or other liqueur such as Grand Marnier, Brandy, Kirsch, Rum as desired).
- Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface of the pastry cream with cling wrap (this is to prevent a skin from forming). Set aside to cool completely. Keep in fridge until needed. When ready to use, just whisk it with a spoon and the cream will become spreadable.
- Spread the pastry cream evenly onto the pastry crust. Top with sliced fruits. Best serve on the day it is made. Keep for one day if refrigerated.
Recipe Source: adapted from (1) Delicious!! Baked Cakes, Ikuko Omori, (2) Fresh Baked by Louise Pickford