Tuesday, January 28, 2014

LA Winter Tart

There may be a polar vortex blowing through the country, but in LA, it's been feeling like summer lately.  I took advantage of the beautiful LA weather (and harvest) by making a berry tart, which is usually reserved for summer.  With an extra pie crust in the freezer, I improvised and made a rectangular tart, which I filled with some homemade eclair custard cream and topped with a berry mix.  Summer or not, this is the perfect base for any fruit tart.

Custard Recipe

2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter

1. In a saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Immediately turn off the heat and set aside.
2.  In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until there are no lumps. 
3. Whisk in some of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. (A splash will do).  The purpose is to bring up the temperature of the eggs gradually so they don't curdle. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture into the eggs.  Pour the entire mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. 
4. Cook over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly until thick and slowly boiling.
5. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.  Once it has cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. 

To assemble the tart: 
Thaw the pie crust until pliable.  Press the dough into your desired pan.  Bake the pie crust according to the package directions.  Once the pie crust is cooked and cooled, spread the cooled custard mixture into the tart shell and top with your favorite fruit.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Alternatively, try glazing the fruit with warm jam or jelly.

...Or, just dip the fruit in the custard and eat as is!


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