When I was just a young lassie in undergrad school, I was studying to be a teacher. Elementary teachers teach a variety of subjects and you have to take a class on each subject to “learn” how to teach it. With each class came a hands on experience, where you had to go into a classroom and teach a lesson. I just happen to go to college in the town where I went to elementary school. So when the opportunity to go teach a lesson at the elementary school where I went to, I jumped at the chance. And even better was the fact that I got to go teach in the classroom of my once 6th grade teacher. Quite nervous and excited I taught my lesson on tree rings to his 4th grade class. All went well and afterwards we sat to talk. He said nothing but positive things and that was what I was hoping for since my emphasis was in science and that is what I was teaching. Then I made the fatal mistake of asking him why he didn’t teach 6th grade anymore and his response was “because they are all a bunch of assholes!” It was like I was back in 6th grade all over again and all I could think was, Mr. K said the “A” word, Mr. K said the “A” word. I couldn’t even bring myself to say the word in my head. I’m not sure why it traumatized me so, but it did. It shattered my ideology of teaching for some reason. At that point in my young teaching experience I assumed I would love all the children equally. Go teach junior high for a few years and the word asshole will creep into your mind more than a few times. So what does any of this have to do with a fruit tart? Well, I am an emotional eater…so the minute I left there I was in frantic search of a bakery or any place that looked like it sold fat filled sugar treats. I found a little bakery that used to be a shoe repair shop when I was in elementary school. I surveyed the pastry case and there was the most beautiful raspberry tart. I had made tarts several times but always with stone fruits. I loved the little tart all studded with what looked like rubies. I can’t say it was the best tart I ever had mostly because I was so focused on the fact that my 6th grade teacher said a swear word in front of me(LOL) that I didn’t even notice what it really tasted like.
But you can believe that I savored this tart. I really like the vanilla cream but the crust was quite the pain. I added twice the amount of ice water it suggested and it still never really came together enough…so rolling it out was an uber-pain in the butt! But it did produce a very flaky crust and that is its name after all. You can use any fruit you want but I love raspberries just because of how they look. Also, traditionally you would use an apricot glaze but I like the glaze my fruit tarts with glaze that is the same flavor as the fruit…but that is just me.
Raspberry Tart with Vanilla Cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups light cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1 prebaked 9 inch Flaky Tart Crust(recipe to follow)
Raspberries(enough to over the tart)
1/4 cup Raspberry Glaze(just raspberry jam), melted
1. Whisk the sugar and the cornstarch together in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat, whisk in the cream and the vanilla, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula in a figure eight motion making sure to touch all the edges of the pot. Continue cooking until the custard thickens and begins to bubble. Remove the pot from the heat.
2. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour half of the warm cream mixture into the bowl with the eggs, whisking all the while. This warms the eggs slowly so that the warm cream doesn’t cook the eggs.
3. Pour the custard back in the pot, return the pot to the heat, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the vanilla cream is almost as thick as pudding. It may look a little lumpy at first, but it will smooth out as you cook it.
4. Pour the vanilla cream into a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap to prevent a “skin” from forming over it, and refrigerate until it is chilled, at least 1 hour or until you are ready to assemble the tart.
5. No more than a few hours before you’re ready to serve the tart, fill the tart shell three-quarters of the way to the top with the vanilla cream. Place fruit on top in whatever pattern or combination you like.
6. To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a big can(or small if you make minis). Make sure the tart is steady and balanced. Slide the outside ring of the pan down off the tart. Move the tart to your work surface, and slide the tart off the pan bottom onto a rimless serving dish or a cutting board.
7. Use a pastry brush or a scrunched-up paper towel to coat the fruit with the raspberry glaze. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve the tart. Serve this tart chilled, within hours of making it.
Flaky Tart Crust
Flaky Tart Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
12 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
5 TBSP solid shortening
a small glass of ICE water
1 9 inch tart pan(I used two 4 inch pans)
1. Dump the flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse a couple of times to make sure the salt is distributed evenly throughout the flour.
2. Add the butter and the shortening all at once, and pulse five to ten times, until the mixture forms little balls, like moist crumbs, and no chunks of butter or shortening remain. You must pulse, not run, the food processor. The worst thing that could happen at this stage of the crust making game would be for the flours and fats to come together completely into a paste.
3. Remove the blade from the food processor, and dump the crumbs into a big bowl. Sprinkle a TBSP of ice water over the surface of the crumbs. Repeat with 3 more TBSP of ice water.
4. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to bring the dough together. Add more water if you have to, 1 TBSP at a time. The dough should be just past crumbly and just barely coming together. You don’t want it to be so wet that it sticks together or turns sticky-white in color.
5. Cut the dough in half, press each of the halves into a disk, and wrap the disks in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.
6. If you are par-baking or prebaking your crust, position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 400F.
7. Roll out one disk of dough to 3/8 inch thick. Fit the dough into your tart pan.
8. Prick holes into the tart dough with tines of a fork. Line the bed of the tart with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and weigh it down with pie weights or dried beans. Place the tart shell on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes(regardless of the size of tart pan you are using).Remove the tart shell from the oven, and remove the paper and weights from the pan. Return the tart shell to the oven and bake another 15-18 minutes or until the tart shell is golden brown all over. Remove the tart shell from the oven, and set it on a wire rack to cool.
Source: Adapted from Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau