Thursday, October 15, 2009

So Long, Sweet Summer...

As the fog and mist creep back into the Bay, I had to post some photos of summer desserts.  Two of my favorite things to make:  tarte aux quetsches, and a strawberry custard tart. 


1 fully baked sweet tart shell (recipe below)
1 batch pastry cream
1 lb strawberries

Fill the tart shell with pastry cream. Hull and slice the strawberries, reserving one perfect strawberry, and arrange in a circle on top of the pastry cream. Put the one reserved strawberry in the middle.

Sweet Tart Dough
(Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom
rolling pin

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Toss the pieces of butter with the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. (If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter, or, if you are really in a pinch - two knives.)  Lightly stir the yolk, and slowly add it, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
To roll the dough into the pan: Butter tart pan with a removable bottom.

* If you want to roll the dough, chill it for about 2 hours before rolling (unless you've used frozen butter and the dough comes out of the processor firm and cold, in which case you can roll it immediately). I find it easiest to roll this dough out between two sheets of plastic film – make sure to peel away the film frequently, so it doesn't get rolled into the dough.
* You may also use the press-in method - you can work with the dough as soon as it's processed. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

 Prick the bottom with a fork four or five times. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes (I do it for nearly and hour) before baking.  It will help prevent the crust from getting giant air bubbles.

To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.

Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon (or prick it with the tip of a small knife). Bake the crust for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature.

Pastry Cream
(Tartine - awesome, awesome book)

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Add the salt, place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

When the milk is ready, slowly drizzle about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the hot milk and continue whisking until the custard is as thick as lightly whipped cream, about 2 minutes. The mixture must come just to the boiling point (slow bubbles, not boiling vigorously, or you will curdle the eggs, yuk). Remove from heat and immediately pour through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut the butter into 1 tbsp pieces and whisk into pastry cream 1 tbsp at a time until smooth.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming and put in the refrigerator to cool.


1 1/2 C of unbleached flour
1 stick unsalted butter (frozen, cut into small cubes)
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbl. sugar
1 egg yolk
1 Tbl. ice cold water
egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 tsp. milk)
Tart filling:
1.5 lbs. small plums, halved and pitted
2 Tbl. cassonade (raw sugar)
egg custard (2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg +1/4 cup sugar —- tempered with 2/3 cup of hot milk)
Directions for tart crust:

Cut the dry ingredients with the butter until you have pea-sized pieces. Add the egg yolk and cold water. Stir and combine. Add enough cold water until the mixture clumps in your hand.  Next, place the dough onto some plastic wrap and form a flat disk. Wrap and refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour.  Roll the dough to about 1/8 in. thick and gently place it on your tart pan. Using your fingers, gently mold the dough to fit the tart pan and crimp the edges. Put the whole thing back in the fridge for about 15 min. or so.

Then, in an oven preheated to 350F, blind bake the tart shell for 15 minutes.

Next, arrange the plums on the tart in whatever way you feel  - you can see how I've done it in the photos.  Bake the tart for 15 minutes – the plums will begin to soften.
Take the tart out of the oven and pour the custard into the tart, making sure it surrounds all the plums. Sprinkle the tart with cassonade.

Brush the outer crust with a little egg wash. Lower the oven to 325F and bake for another 30 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Bon apetit!


Anna said...

Um, yes please!! I am definitely going to have to try one of these this weekend! Please God let me find a good batch of strawberries in Bombay. :)

suki said...

that looks absolutely delectable. om nom...