Monday, April 26, 2010

Good Tart, Terrible Pastry

It would have been terrible even if I didn't over-bake it. I had a feeling, as I read the recipe and then brought the dough together that it wouldn't work. The subsequent rolling and baking directions were impossible with this dough. I wouldn't usually make a point of complaining, except the crust recipe came from Bon Appetit. Don't they test recipes? I'm not a novice when it comes to pastry, and I'm certain that the recipe was faulty, not my handling of it (except for the burning, but I still set the timer for ten minutes less than their recommended time. If I'd followed their directions, it would have been charred). OK rant over. Use whatever blind baked tart recipe you prefer, but I'm not posting this one.

I should have simply layered the filling and topping into ramekins and served them with a piece of shortbread. In fact, the filling and topping are so good, they really don't need any pastry as accompaniment.

For The Pastry Cream Filling:

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour (I used Wondra)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten in a medium bowl.
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a sauce pan, combine sugar, salt, cornstarch, and flour. Slowly, whisk in the milk and cream. Over medium heat, whisking constantly, bring to a boil. Cook one minute longer. Remove from heat. Whisk about 2 ladles full of custard into the eggs, very slowly. Slowly, add it back to the custard and return to heat. Whisking constantly, bring it back to a boil and cool an minute longer after that. Remove from heat. Beat in butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl, cover with cling film and poke a few holes in the top. Cool slightly, then chill.

For The Rhubarb/Strawberry Topping:

3 large stalks rhubarb, cut up
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup strawberry jam (I had freezer jam which is uncooked, and very fresh tasting. It worked perfectly)
1/8 cup water

Mix together in a sauce pan over medium heat until rhubarb breaks down and sauce thickens. Remove from heat and chill thoroughly.

Assemble in a baked and completely cooled tart. Chill several hours before serving.

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