Classic French fruit custard tart Recipe

Yesterday we had my annual Pastry and Baking #LesDaChefClassyCookery session with Bosch South Africa. I only have the class once a year because of how long pastry takes and mastering it can be quite time consuming, even for a beginners class. Our class yesterday took a whole 6 hours, my normal Bosch cookery classes last for about 4 hours. If I said I am beyond tired right now I wouldn’t be lying but it was fun. 

This recipe is one of the dishes I taught the class to make using the Bosch stoves and ovens in our Experience Centre. I’ve been linked with Bosch for about 4 years now and it’s honestly one of the best kitchen appliance manufacturers out there. When it comes to pastry and baking what you want is consistency and certainty. IF you don’t have those 2 then your baked products will always come out differently each time…a problem you really do not want.

Anyway, enough about that. Onto the recipe and the reason you’re actually reading this. Custard fruit tarts are typically French and a classic French pasty which has lasted for centuries, you’ll find it in the fanciest of patisseries down to the cheapest of bakeries. Anything with custard always goes down well no matter where you are in the world.

There are 3 components to this recipe. The pastry, the custard filling and the fruit. Each one is important in order to achieve a perfect tart. The pastry is called “Pate Sucree” which simply means “Sweet Pastry” in French, the set custard filling is “Creme Patisserie” which means “Pastry Cream” (yeah, using the french terms for these things makes them sound overly fancy…when they really aren’t). Creme Patisserie (or simply Creme Pat) is the base filling custard for a lot of filled desserts. It can be used to fill choc eclairs or profiteroles, custard danishes or even custard donuts. It is also one of the very first things a pastry chef is trained on at chef school…as well as the sweet pastry. If a pastry chef cannot make a custard tart like this one…then they bought their qualification.

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Start first with the custard and let it rest (preferably overnight) and then make your sweet pastry and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before use. You want to use ice cold butter for this recipe, never room temperature butter. The ice cold butter makes for a shorter biscuit like sweet pastry.

Creme Patisserie:

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg yolks + 1 full large egg
  • 65g castor sugar
  • 15g Cake flour
  • 15g Corn flour
  • 300 ml full cream milk
  • 20g butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Method:
  1. Whisk egg yolks and the egg and sugar until well combined and almost foaming.
  2. Now whisk in your 2 flours.
  3. In a pan, heat the milk, vanilla on medium heat and bring to a gently simmer (don’t allow it to boil).
  4. Remove from the heat. Gradually temper (pour a little by little as you stir) the hot milk into the egg mixture. Don’t stop whisking as you pour the milk. you want a smooth, lump free mixture.
  5. Transfer the mixture back into saucepan and cook it over a medium to low heat, stir it constantly and vigorously so that the eggs don’t overcook. You mixture is ready when it becomes a runny thick paste the texture of yoghurt.
  6. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Place some plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto the surface of the custard, this helps prevent it from creating a ‘skin’.
  7. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled (preferably overnight)
  8. Whisk the creme pat well before use, it will thicken in the fridge. If it thickens too much, whisk in a little cream before use.
  9. It does not freeze well but will last about 4 days in the fridge.

 

Sweet Pastry:

Ingredients:

  • 250 g cake flour
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 125 g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 bit of cream

Method:

  1. Sieve your flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl (this is important)
  2. Using your fingertips, gently rub the butter into the flour and sugar mixture until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (you can achieve this in a food processor as well).
  3. Beat the egg, then add it to the mixture and gently work it together until it forms a ball of dough (do not be tempted to overmix the dough, even if it looks crumbly, that is fine). If you dough isn’t coming together well enough, add a small dash of cream.
  4. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place it into the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes before use.
  5. You’ll need a 25cm non-stick loose-bottomed tart tin (or a disposable foil one like in my pic) generously spray the tart tin with non-stick spray.
  6. Dust a clean surface with flour and then carefully roll out your pastry using a rolling pin or wine bottle, turning it every so often, until it’s about ½cm thick.
  7. To lift the pastry dust it with a little more flour and then carefully roll your pastry around your rolling pin (like you’d roll toilet paper), then unroll it carefully over your tart tin. Gently push the pastry into the shape of the tin, making sure you push it into all the sides.
  8. Trim excess pastry by running a knife along the top of the pastry case, then using a fork or toothpick prick the base of the case all over with a fork and pop it into the freezer for 30 minutes. (This step ensures you have a crispy tart base)
  9. Preheat your oven to 180ºC on the baking setting and put your oven tray in the middle of the oven.
  10. Get yourself a large square piece of silicone or oven-proof wax paper and place it on the surface of the tat pastry. Pushing it right into the sides. Fill the case right up to the top with uncooked rice or beans, this helps keep the pastry in shape whilst it bakes and is referred to as “blind baking” you pastry. Bake for 10-15 mins or until the oily buttery look as disappeared and the pastry is starting to look dry.
  11. Take the base out of the oven, carefully remove the rice/beans and wax paper (store the rice/beans in a container to use for blind baking another time), brush the surface of the tart pastry with a little bit of beaten egg and then return the base to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes until it’s firm and light golden.
  12. Set aside to cool.

To assemble: Scoop pastry cream into your cooled tart base. You want it to come up to about 3/4 of the side of the pastry. Don’t over fill it.

You can now decorate the tart in whatever pattern or seasonal fruit you like. Classically it is made with fresh seasonal berries and to achieve that classic shiny gloss all you have to do is melt down some apricot jam in a pan with a little water and brush the fruit once you’ve decorated the tart…alternatively you can just dust icing sugar over the tart using a sieve or icing sugar shaker.

That’s it!

 

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