Parisian Fruit Tart

Another great dessert from the Miette cookbook.  Read more about my love of it here.  This is surely a very spring/summer confection, and I must admit that I am late in posting it, so keep it on your back burner until next blueberry and strawberry season.  It’s really quite delicious.  The dough has a shortbread consistency which pairs wonderfully with the rich pastry cream.  And then the flavors and pop of the fresh fruit on top is wonderful.

Pate Sucree Tart Shell:
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 large egg yolks
4 to 8 tablespoons heavy cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and beat until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of the cream.  Add to teh flour mixture and mix until just combined.  If the dough does not come together into large chunks, slowly add the remaining cream, a little bit at a time, until it does.  Gather the dough into a ball, pat it into a disk, and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap.  Divide the dough to make the portions you need and again pat gently into disks.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough disk into a round about 1/4 inch thick and about 1 inch greater in diameter than the pan you are using.  Drape the rolled-out dough into the tart pan(s), gently pushing it into the bottom edges and against the pan sides to make a strong and straight shell.  Trim the edges flush with the rim of the pan(s) using a sharp knife, or roll the rolling pin over the edges to cut off excess dough.  Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350° and bake the tart shells until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.  Store fully baked shells, wrapped tightly in plastic, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Pastry Cream filling:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
7 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 to 2 pints mixed fresh fruits – pick whatever is in season and looks good (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, nectarines/peaches, apricots or figs)

Pour the milk into a medium pot.  Use a sharp knife to slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk.  Put the pod in the milk as well.  Heat the milk until almost boiling (bubbles will begin to form at the edges).  Cover and let steep for 1 hour if time permits, otherwise proceed as directed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth.  Set the bowl on a kitchen towel or nonskid surface and whisk the egg mixture while pouring about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the mixture to temper.   Gradually pour in the rest of the milk, whisking constantly.  Pour the contents of the bowl into the pan and set over medium-low heat.

Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a slow boil, about 2 minutes.  Immediately strain the cream through a fine-mesk sieve into a clean container.  Discard the vanilla bean.  Let the pastry cream cool to room temperature, 10 minutes, and then whisk in the butter.  You want the butter to be incorporated without being melted.

Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until well chilled, as least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

To assemble:
After the pastry cream has been well-chilled (I’d say 2 to 3 hours) and your tart shell is completely cool, its time to assemble!  Spread the cold pastry cream evenly into the tart shell.  Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.  Just before serving, top with the fruit.

these tartletttes are adorbs

Makes: one 7 or 8 inch tart plus several mini tartlettes
Time: several hours but can be spread out over a period of 2-3 days
From: Miette

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