Sunday, April 25, 2010

Strawberry Tart

The Institute of Culinary Education offers some great courses, like the 3 session class on pastry which I took a few years back. We learned the basics of flaky pastry dough, sweet dough and pastry cream and used them to make everything from open faced tarts, eclairs, cream puffs, to covered pies. The following recipe is taken from my course packet (written by Nick Malgieri):

Sweet Dough
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) of cold unsalted butter
1 large egg

Combine dry ingredients. Cut butter into 1 Tbsp pieces and add to dry ingredients. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles a course ground meal and no large pieces of butter are visible. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and pour over flour/butter mixture. Stir until the dough begins to hold together, but appears dry. Scatter flour on to a work surface and scrape dough on it. Knead 3-4 times till smooth. Press into disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Roll out the dough and press into tart pan. Bake at 350 for 20 min.

Pastry Cream (Creme Patissierre)
1 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
2 yolks
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of the milk. Combine remaining milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat.
Beat the whole eggs into the cornstarch mixture. Then beat in the yolks. Pour 1/3 of the boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
Return the remaining milk to a boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly.
Continue whisking till cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in butter and vanilla.
Pour into a stainless steel bowl or pan and press plastic wrap directly on the surface (so a skin doesn't form). Chill immediately.

When the pastry cream is chilled, spread it evenly inside the cooled pastry shell. Top with whatever fruit you want. I added a glaze of raspberry jam mixed with a bit of water, which I heated briefly and brushed on top. Chill till ready to serve.

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