June 20, 2009

Recipe: Birthday Fruit Tart

I took photos of the most aesthetically pleasing of my food creations in the several months that this blog was a really good thought but not yet a reality. Both birthday desserts that took advantage of springtime fruit's appearance at decent prices at the grocery store.

When I asked this friend what birthday dessert she would have if she had her choice, she mentioned a fruit tart from a bakery where she's from. I wasn't feeling adventurous enough to make one in a tart pan and wanted to make something that would feed more people. So, I used the shortbread layer of a pecan bar recipe I had and found a pasty cream recipe on Just Another Foodie, which I slightly modified. The cream making looked a little intense from the recipe, but it wasn't tricky beyond just following instructions. With chilled custard spread on the cooled crust, I entered fruit artist mode-- what fun!

13x9 Birthday Fruit Tart


2 cups flour

½ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp. salt

2 sticks butter

Combine first 3 ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  


1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

3 Tbsp. butter, softened

Whipping cream

Bring the milk and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pan, turn off the heat.

Working in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together until thick and pale. Whisking all the while, very slowly drizzle a quarter of the hot milk onto the yolks. Then, still whisking, pour the rest of the liquid in a steady stream over the tempered yolks.

Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously and without stop, bring the mixture to the boil. Keep the mixture at the boil, whisking energetically, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and scrape the party cream into a clean bowl. Allow the pastry cream to cool on the counter for about 3 minutes.

Cut the butter into chunks and stir the chunks into the hot pastry cream, continuing to stir until the butter is melted and incorporated. Add a splash of whipping cream, especially if your custard got really thick. Refrigerate with a press a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface to create an airtight seal until chilled.

The final touch:

Top with sliced strawberries, whole blackberries, and sliced kiwi.

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