Friday, June 28, 2013

Classic French: Fruit Tarts


This month’s Classic French challenge was Fruit Tarts.  I keep forgetting that I do not own a normal sized tart pan, but I do have four small individual sized tart pans.  I had never used them until the other day.  Yes, this is my 3rd CF challenge, and my 3rd first time making said challenge dish. 

Trying to decide what tart to make took a while.  I searched my cookbooks for the best recipes, and settled on a pâte sucrée, (short crust pastry), blind baked, and filled with crème patissière, (pastry cream) and topped with fresh peaches. 


This is peach time in my neck of the woods.  I love a good peach.  Early in my pregnancy with my son, I craved a good peach. The kind that you can taste the sun in it.  You know what I’m talking about.  I wanted a peach I could bite into and the juice would drip down my chin.  Soft and sweet, with just a hint of tang.  But it was January.  I could have cried.  The really sad part is that when summer finally rolled around, I was not interested in peaches anymore.  BUT right now I can get those delicious peaches at our neighborhood produce stand.  Linda’s Produce is the best place in our area to get produce.  I just walk in and pick out which fruits and vegetables look good to me and then plan meals and snacks around them.  It’s a good plan.  


Peach Tart

This recipe will make 4 small tarts or one large one.  Buy enough peaches to spread over the tart, about 1 per person, but make sure you have more, just because. 

Pâte Sucrée
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, (I used vanilla sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I prefer fine sea salt)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3 teaspoons water

Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse until the butter crumbles look like peas.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of water. Add the egg mixture to the food processor and pulse until is starts to clump.  It should not be crumbly, add a little more water until it is nice and smooth and not crumbly.

Press the dough into the tart pan.  Try to keep the dough even and pretty. It’s all about the details from here on out.  Stick the pan(s) in the fridge for an hour or the freezer for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Blind bake by covering the crust with foil and lightly pressing it down. Fill the crust with dried beans or rice that you don’t plan on eating at this point, (keep them around for more blind baking later.) Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.  Peel back the foil, if it doesn’t come off easily, bake for another 5 minutes and try again. Take the foil and beans off and bake the crust for another 10 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool outside of pan on a rack.  Once cool, return to pan to be filled. 

Crème Patissière
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (vanilla sugar again!)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In a saucepan, heat the milk to just below a boil.  In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar for a couple minutes until it is lighter in color.  Add the flour and whisk.

Add the milk to the egg mixture, whisking quickly.  Keep whisking until all is smooth. 

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat to a boil, whisking the whole time.  If a lump appears, remove from heat and whisk until smooth.  Continue cooking and whisking until flour is cooked (a couple minutes), and everything is smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in extract.  Cover with cling wrap, pressing to the surface of the cream to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool and ready to use.

Filling the tart
1/8 cup apricot jam
teaspoon of water (or so)

Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 10-30 seconds.  Remove to cold water bath.  Peel the peaches starting at the stem end and working down.  Thinly slice the peaches and set aside.

In a small heat proof bowl, mix the jam and water together.  Heat for 30 second in the microwave then stir until smooth, add more water or heat for longer if needed. You want a smooth but not runny glaze. Brush the inside of the crusts with the glaze to protect it from getting soggy.

Fill the crust to almost the top with the cream.  Leave room for the fruit! Arrange peach slices in a pattern to cover as much cream as possible.  Brush the tops of the peaches with the remaining glaze to make them glisten.  You can place the tart pan on top of a tin can.  Carefully pull the sides of the pan down to leave the tart hovering above.  Remove the bottom of the tart pan if you are brave, or just serve the tart as is. 

The tarts can be refrigerated for a short time, but plan on eating them the day they are made.  Cream and crusts can be made ahead of time for stress free entertaining.  Always hold the tart pan from the sides and not the bottom, you don’t want to destroy the tart!

I’m also linking this to Simple And In Season.  I’ve just learned of this and look forward to getting new ideas for eating what is in season!

Simple and in Season