Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fresh Fruit Tartelettes

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I made these a while ago and debated on whether or not to post the recipe, mainly because it’s long and I’m lazy. This recipe was really involved and I just didn’t feel like typing it all out. But these have a fantastic taste with the berries and the cream, and they look beautiful when assembled. I will definitely make them again, so I finally decided to bite the bullet and post them. It's not really hard, it just takes a lot of time to put together.

I made the pastry cream and tart dough in advance and assembled the tarts the next day. It was my first attempt at making pastry cream, which is why I chose a Cook’s Illustrated recipe; they take a lot of the guess work out of things.

I wound up with A LOT of extra pastry cream. I froze it, so it wouldn’t go bad until I could think of a way to use it up. I ended up just making some fruit parfaits with Grand Marnier whipped cream and quinoa clusters.

The pastry cream tasted fine after being frozen for a week or so; the texture was a bit off, but mixed with fruit and whipped cream you couldn’t really tell. Next time I will scale down the pastry cream recipe so I don’t have so much leftover.

Fresh Fruit Tartelettes
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Makes 6-8 tartelettes

Your choice fresh seasonal fruit
Pastry cream (recipe below)
Tartelette shells (recipe below)
Apricot glaze (recipe below)
Whipped cream, optional garnish

For the pastry cream:
2 c half-and-half
½ c granulated sugar, divided
pinch table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 Tbl cornstarch
4 Tbl unsalted butter, cold and cut into 4 pieces
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Heat half-and-half, 6 Tbsp sugar, and salt in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.

Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Add remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and whisk until sugar has begun to dissolve and mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Stir in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually add some (~¼ c) half-and-half into yolks, and whisk to temper. Then add tempered egg yolks to saucepan, return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer mixture to medium glass bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 48 hours.

For the dough:
6 oz (1 c + 2 Tbl) flour
4 oz (1 stick) cold butter or shortening, cut up (or combination of both; I use half butter half earth balance shortening)
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl finely ground almonds (opt)
Pinch kosher salt
3-4 Tbl ice water

Combine flour, sugar, and ground almonds in bowl, add butter and using a pastry cutter (or your fingers) cut butter until mixture has plenty of pea-sized chunks.

Add a pinch of kosher salt and gradually add water, Tbl at a time, until dough just comes together. Flatten into disk and refrigerate at least 15 minutes before rolling.

When ready to roll, preheat oven to 325 F. Roll out dough into disks, press into tartelette pans, press flatted palm over tartelette pan to trim off excess dough.

Place small squares of aluminum foil or parchment paper into each tartelette pan, filling with pie weights or dried beans. Place on baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Remove pie weights, then return shells to oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, til crusts are golden brown.

Cool about 10 mintues on wire rack. Remove from tartelette pans and cool completely on wire rack. If not immediately assembling tartelettes, store in airtight container.

For the fruit glaze:
apricot jam or preserves
Grand Marnier

Add a couple Tbsp apricot preserves to a small microwave safe bowl. Add ~½ tsp water. Microwave 10-20 seconds, til liquefied. Stir in Grand Marnier to taste (~½ tsp or so). If too thick for spreading consistency, add a bit more water

To assemble the tartelettes:
Using a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of tartelette shell. Allow the glaze to dry ~20 - 30 min. Spread some pastry cream into the tartelette shell, filling until about ¾ full.

Pile on your choice of fresh fruit (I used blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries). Try to cover with fruit so that no pastry cream is showing.

After arranging the fruit, gently brush a thin coat of the apricot glaze on the fruit, the idea is to make the fruit look shiny. If not serving immediately, refrigerate. Take out about 30 minutes before serving to give the fruit and cream a chance to warm to room temperature.

Fruit tarts are best eaten the same day they are assembled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. I stored everything separately and assembled the tarts two at a time on the day we were going to eat them. I also topped them with a dollop of whipped cream.

Source: adapted from Talida Bakes via foodbuzz

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