Saturday, September 22, 2012

Flour Bakery Tarts, Fruit + Pastry Cream and Chocolate

I not so recently made these tarts for a family dinner. It's been a few years, I think, since I've made a fruit tart, but I was quite pleased with these. There's nothing wrong with a beautiful platter of fresh fruit, but this just makes it a bit more special. The recipe is made up of components from a few of Joanne Chang's recipes. I had first heard about Joanne Chang's Chocolate Truffle Tart from another blogger who mentioned it in one of her posts and a search turned up the following recipe on Baking with Lisa. I decided to take the same tart shell and make fruit tarts by using a pastry cream from another one of Joanne's recipes.
The tart shell sounded very promising because according to other bakers, the fact that there is no water in the tart shell means less shrinkage(Seinfeld, anyone?) in the oven. Surprisingly, even without pie weights, these tart shells did not shrink significantly and came out very nicely. I decided to make individual tarts because they're easier to share and fruit tarts can be difficult to cut nicely. The tart dough was easy to make and although it was a bit crumbly out of the fridge, it's easier to work with when you warm it up slightly with your hand. You can also just patch up holes if you need to as the dough is very forgiving. I did poke the bottoms of the tart shells with a fork to allow steam to escape, but that may not be necessary if you're using a tart ring as suggested in the recipe since steam may be able to escape from underneath.

The baked chocolate truffle filling is rich, but pleasingly so and is exactly like the texture of a truffle, go figure. I topped the chocolate tarts with raspberries simply because I had them around and I like raspberries, but feel free to leave as is and dust with cocoa. As for the mixed fruit tarts, I've made pastry cream many times, but was excited to try this one as it uses cake flour instead of cornstarch. It came out great and while it's hard to tell the difference, this one seems a bit softer than pastry creams made with cornstarch. Both are good and Joanne also seems to use both cake flour and cornstarch in her recipes, so it depends on whatever you feel like or have in your kitchen.
Since the pastry cream comes from an eclair recipe, I used a bit more whipped cream to lighten the pastry cream than what is listed in the recipe below. I think the pastry cream filling for a tart should be a bit lighter, so start with what is listed below and whip up some more cream if you would like it lighter. Top the fruit tarts with whatever is in season and looks good from your market.

Chocolate Truffle Tart and Mixed Fruit Tart
Recipe from Joanne Chang via Baking with Lisa and Food and Wine

Pate Sucree(Tart Shell)
1 stick unsalted butter(4 oz), room temp
1/4 cup(50 g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt or 1/4 tsp fine salt
1 cup(140 g) all purpose flour
1 large egg yolk

Cream butter, salt, and sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the flour and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Add the egg yolk and mix on low speed until it just comes together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough with a rolling pin to a 1/4 inch thick. Fit into a 10 inch tart ring and trim off excess. Poke the bottom of the shell with a fork so steam can escape. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Bake tart shell for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. (I made individual tart shells with about 50 g of dough for each tart shell and baked them for about 15-20 minutes. I got 20 small tart shells from 3x the recipe above.)

Chocolate Filling for Chocolate Truffle Tart
Makes enough filling for 1 10-inch tart shell or 12 individual tarts

8 oz(228 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup(180 g) heavy cream
1/2 cup(120 g) milk
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 tsp kosher salt, half the amount of fine salt

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.  Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat cream and milk over medium heat until almost simmering. Pour the milk and cream over the chocolate and let sit for a little bit before whisking. Whisk until chocolate is melted, add egg yolks one at a time, then the butter and salt, and whisk until incorporated.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the prebaked tart shell. Bake about 15 minutes or until the edge starts to set and the center is still wiggly. Let cool for a few hours on a wire rack. Dust with cocoa before serving or top with raspberries about an hour into cooling like I did. Best served the day it's made at room temp.

Pastry Cream for Mixed Fruit Tart
Probably makes enough filling for 1 large tart or 12 individual ones, slightly adapted

2 cups whole milk
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 cup granulated sugar + 2 tbsp
5 tbsp cake flour
pinch of salt
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
Mixed Fruit(Figs, berries, plums, nectarines, peaches, grapes, etc.)
Heated Apricot Preserves or Currant Jelly for glazing fruit

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, vanilla bean, and seeds until almost simmering. Whisk the sugar, cake flour, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg and egg yolks. Slowly add the hot milk mixture a little at a time, whisking constantly.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil while whisking until the pastry cream thickens. Strain pastry cream through a sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, let cool a bit, then refrigerate at least an hour until cool.

Whip the cream by hand with a large whisk or with a mixer until soft peaks. Whisk the pastry cream and fold whipped cream into the pastry cream until blended.

Spoon lightened pastry cream into tart shell and top with mixed fruit. Lightly brush fruit with melted apricot preserves or currant jelly. Serve the day it's made. If not serving right away, refrigerate until serving.