August 24, 2010
TWD- Easy French Tarts
It's Tuesday again and I found a comforting familiarity making tart shells and pastry cream. This week's recipe, the crunchy custardy peach tart, didn't exactly come to fruition this week. I prepped the shells Saturday (just a quick whirl of the ingredients in my food processor and pressed into the tart pans) and planned to make the real deal for Sunday dinner. Last minute at Church, though, my husband invited some friends for dinner and I found myself in a frenzy! Instead of making the actual recipe (and trying something new, not!) I whipped up a batch of pastry cream and topped half with madarin oranges and the other half with homemade apple pie filling. While it wasn't the real deal, you really can't go wrong with pastry and cream. Thanks to Rachel for the push to make this yummy dessert.
Come back later this week for Greek (it's my brother's birthday and we're going all out!)
"Slightly Lighted" Pastry Cream
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
2 1/2 cups 2% milk
4 large egg yolks
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.