Fruit Tarts

Once you've mastered the Pâte sucrée recipe there are numerous things that you can use it for. One of the nicest is a fruit tart. Whether made with one type of fruit or many, plain pastry cream or flavoured, they're simple, easy to make, look impressive, and most importantly, taste good.

Once the pastry cases have been baked, the only real cooking left to do is to make a pastry cream, or to use its posh french name, crème pâtissière. Either way, it's a type of custard!

Fruit Tart

Recipes for it vary, but contain milk, egg and some form of flour. Most recipes just use egg yolk which leaves the egg whites to use up; as you'll already have some from making the pastry, this recipe is good as it uses the whole egg. It's from the book Take Twelve Cooks and is a recipe by by Michael Nadell.

I don't want to copy the recipe and method from the book as that would breach copyright, so here it is in my own words:

Ingredients - The list below is a half quantity of his recipe which is plenty for most home situations.

½ pint of whole milk
½ a vanilla pod, split down the middle
1 egg
50g sugar
25g flour
5g custard powder

Start by gently heating the milk and vanilla pod. When it's nearly boiling, whisk the egg, sugar, flour and custard powder together. When the milk boils whisk half of it into the egg mixture, and then add that to the remaining milk in the pan. Continue to heat the pan until it boils, whisking it continuously. When the mixture's boiled, turn the heat right down and continue to whisk it for a couple of minutes more. Remove the vanilla pod, and pour it into a bowl. Either cover it with cling film, pushing the film onto the surface of the pastry cream, or do the same with a piece of greased baking parchment. Then stand the bowl in another that has cold water in it, changing the water occasionally to keep it cold, or stand it on a cooling rack. It can go sour if you don't do this.

Feel free to add any chosen flavouring to the pastry cream - chocolate, orange, liqeeur etc.

All you need to do then is put a spoon full of pastry cream in the bottom of a pastry case, fill it with fruit of your choice, and glaze it with warmed apricot, seedless raspberry, or other jam of choice. If the jam's a little thick after warming it, add a little water.

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