It’s a long day of baking today, so I’ll split the post in two. The assembling of the final products is always the fun part for me. This is especially true when it involves fresh fruit with such a brilliant punch of color and variation.
[See recipes below]
Drying and organizing raspberries.
Mini blueberry pies with a quick lattice top.
Crème pâtissière (pastry cream – recipe below) is dolloped into the tart shells before the fresh fruit are arranged.
The berries are glazed with the watered-down liquid strained from freshly-made apricot jam.
Summer tarts always end up taking on a(n American) patriotic sensibility and looking like a Fourth of July celebration.
A hot day – we have to work quickly.
We finish with 22 small pies and 50+ fruit tarts.
Pâte Brisée (Pie Crust) (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to ½ cup ice water
1. Put flour and salt in food processor. Pulse for 1 second just to mix. Add small pieces of butter and process for just 10 seconds until mixture becomes coarse meal.
2. Add ice water drop by drop and process not more than 30 seconds; dough should just hold together. If crumbly, add a little bit more water.
[If you don’t have a food processor, this can always be done by hand. Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Use pastry cutter or the back of a knife to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal, then add ice water drop by drop.]
3. Remove dough from mixing bowl and onto large piece of plastic wrap. Grab ends of plastic wrap over dough and press down into flat circle; this will make it easier to roll out later. Cover dough completely in the plastic and chill for at least an hour.
4. Lightly butter whatever pie dish or tart pan you wish to use. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled pastry to a thickness of approximately 1/8 inch. Place the pastry in the pan/dish, pressing into bottom edges and sides. Trim excess pastry. Chill until ready to use.
5. Heat oven to 375*C – 400*C (watch your oven and adjust temperature as appropriate). Line the pastry with aluminum foil, pressing carefully into corners and edges. Fill the foil with beans to weigh down the pastry, preventing it from puffing up. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. When pastry begins to light brown around the edges, remove foil and beans and continue to bake until pastry turns golden brown color. Let cool completely on wire rack.
Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1. Combine milk, vanilla and sugar in saucepan and bring just to a boil (don’t over boil). Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and 1 tbsp sugar until thick. beat in cornstarch and flour until well mixed.
2. Beat half the hot milk into egg yolk mixture. Combine this with the remaining hot milk and quickly bring to a boil, whisking rapidly to prevent scorching. Whisk continuously until thick. Remove from heat and pour into bowl to cool. Rub top with butter to prevent a skin from forming. Cover directly with plastic wrap and let cool completely.
3. For a lighter crème pâtissière, beat heavy cream until thick, to soft peaks, and fold this into the cooled crème gently with a spatula.
4. When ready, spoon the crème into tart shells and garnish as desired!
Mark Mothersbaugh – Mothersbaugh’s Canon