Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Favorite French Tart

{printable recipe here}
Oh man, French tarts are one of my very favorite foods of all time. Really. I knew this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe would be a perfect addition to our Mother's Day Dinner. Of course by the time I made the pastry cream I realized that I did not have enough eggs! So instead of the last two yolks I just used one whole egg. I also used 2% milk since that's what I had. At this point I figured I might as well keep on so I cut a little butter. The final product? Still totally delicious. You probably shouldn't really trust me, though, because I'd eat pastry cream all day long if I could. I have to say, though, that this tart was gone in give minutes. There just wasn't time to put the glaze on top because we were so excited to eat it. Thanks for the perfect recipe choice, Cristine (find the real recipe on her blog).

Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day! I spoke in Church about my mom and motherhood and while I'm super glad it's done I appreciated the chance to think about how grateful I am to be a mother. Here's a side by side pick of my little man and Baby Strawberry (both 7 1/2 months, they sure look alike but wow there was a lot more of him to love if you know what I mean!)

One last thing... Will someone please tell my Tall Man to surprise me with this rectangular tart pan? Seriously? After reading everyone's tart posts I'm coveting one of these more than ever. I might even make him a rack of ribs in exchange- sound good?

My Favorite French Tart
by Anne Strawberry
{printable recipe here}

One fully baked 9 inch tart shell, recipe below
Half a batch of Vanilla bean pastry cream, recipe below
1 pound strawberries, washed, stems removed, and sliced in half (or fruit of any variety- this time I used 1 pound of strawberries, 3/4 cup blackberries, and 3 kiwis)
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
Powdered sugar, for serving

Line baked and cooled tart shell with the pastry cream, spreading evenly over the bottom of the shell. Arrange the strawberries in a pattern, squeezing in tightly.

Heat strawberry jam until warm and spreadable in the microwave or a small saucepan. Brush over strawberries to create a shiny topping. Slice and sprinkle each piece with a little powdered sugar (using a sieve) and serve.

Sweet Tart Dough
with Nuts
From Baking by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup ground nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc- just pulse in food processor with a little powdered sugar)
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 T) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, nuts, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in- you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal fakes and others the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, 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. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change- heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate and dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

To press the dough into the pan: butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy handed- press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferable longer, before baking.

To partially or fully bake the crust: center a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, against the crust. (since you froze it, you can bake it without weights). Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, carefully press it down with the back of a spoon. For partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack. To fully bake the crust, bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

"Slightly Lighted" Pastry Cream
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/2 cups 2% milk
4 large egg yolks
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
Seeds from one vanilla bean (optional)

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly--as I always do--put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.


Tia said...

beautiful pictures! I love your bright, cheery site and your adorable munchkins!

Holly said...

This looks sooooo good! Awesome pictures!! Cute little babies too;)

Peter M said...

Anne, this could be my favourite tart...almost too pretty to slice.

Those two cuties...I want to pinch their cheeks!

Marthe said...

Your kids look so cute!!!

Love your tart, the kiwi adds a nice hint of green to it!

Helen said...

Aww adorable pictures! This pie looks lovely, so colourful.

SiHaN said...

I totally snuck some of the pastry cream plain.. was delicious..

Flourchild said...

Yum your tart looks so good. Im sure everyone enjoyed it. It sounds like you had a Happy Mother's day!

Romaine said...

Wow--yours is truly a work of art. Your "lighted" version is also a great idea.

Nickki said...

No wonder you couldn't wait to eat this! Your tart looks so good. I loved this recipe. What beautiful children :-)

Mary Ann said...

I love the fruits you put on top- very beautiful. Cute babies!

honeymuffin said...

I "lightened" it up a bit too! Your babies are delicious!!

Rachel said...

Happy Mother's Day! Cute little strawberry babies! Aw. Your tart is very pretty, great job!

Cristine said...

Gorgeous tart! Your little ones are adorable! Thanks for baking along with me!

Pamela said...

Wow! They do look a lot a like. Both so beautiful! The tart is so gorgeous, too!

Mary said...

The tart looks wonderful! And your kids--so cute:)

Jodie said...

Beautiful tart! Adorable kids!

Queen B. said...


Katrina said...

I love that "slightly lighter" pastry cream!
Your tart looks gorgeous. How do you sprinkle pwd. sugar on just the black berries. I know, it's probably elementary.
Cute kidlets! I have four boys and they were all robust, so I know what you mean.
And sorry but fun for you to speak in church. Since we're moving soon and my husband was just released as bishop, I have a feeling we'll be speaking soon. Sigh. (So not my fave thing to do.)

Lauryn said...

oh the kids really do look so much alike!! Your tart looks gorgeous!! So glad it was a hit!!!

The Mortensens said...

Your tart is so incredibly beautiful! I love the idea of using kiwi. YUM! :)

TeaLady said...

I don't know what is sweeter - the kiddos or the tart.

♥peachkins♥ said...

She looks uber cute in green!

blowing peachkisses
The Peach Kitchen
peach and things

natalia said...

I absolutely love the babies !! Great picture !! Your tart is fantastic and I must confess I never add the butter to the pastry cream !!!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

super pretty tart--i'm sure it'll be a favorite of those two little cuties, too!

Carrian said...

mmm I have got to get a tart pan. This looks wonderful. So does that pizza by the way!

Jeannette said...

my mom would loooove this tart!!

Alice Van-Weed said...

the kids are so cute...and the tart looks exquisite...ahhh...so delicious to look at.. im so keeping this recipe to try out this weekend

Heather B said...

awww cute babies! And your tart looks pretty sweet too!

Leslie said...

They are so cute I can hardly concentrate on your beautiful tart! It's nice to know if can be lightened up.

Pam said...

What a delicious looking tart! Almost too pretty to eat! Cute children you have also!

Mary said...

Anne, this really looks delicious. Your little guys are just darling. I love your blog and will be visiting more often. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Nichi said...

About 90% of the time I forget the butter in pastry cream. Your tart looks delicious and your little munchkins are adorable!

CecilIa said...

You made me feel like trying this recipe out!! :) beautiful picture

Tracey said...

Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day Anne! The kids are both adorable and do look a lot alike :)

Your tart is gorgeous - great choices for the fruit! Sounds like it was a big hit.

Di said...

Your tart looks beautiful--I love the different colors. And I know what you mean about the rectangular tart pan. I finally bought myself one very recently because I'd seen so many tarts made with it on other blogs. =)

Kristi said...

Um...I really miss being your taster. When my man leaves me for a bit, can I be your taster again? Will you feel sorry enough for me? :o) It's cos you don't live as close anymore. I know. No more 10 PM brownie drops. It's sad times.