Friday, 17 June 2005

SHF 9: Fresh Fruit Tart

This is probably the worst food blogging event I've done. Not the theme of course (which by the way is tart), but my entry. I just can't hack this tart making more specifically the tart base. Why my first attempt was a resounding disaster because my tart almost burnt to cinders. The second one almost met the same fate. :sigh: My ancient oven seems to have a lot of hot spots.

The biscuit-like base was actually good which should be crunchy and on the brittle side but it got sooo hard when I made the mistake of chilling the whole thing. I was already contemplating on borrowing my neighbor's chainsaw to give myself a slice. Then there's the case of the pastry cream (creme patisserie) which tasted sort of ... ah ... 'cheap'. It must be the vanilla or maybe I should have used single/light cream instead of milk. I don't know, it just doesn't taste right. The only consolation I have is the sight of the fresh fruits arranged glistening on top. Really nice.

It only proves that I really learn a lot from these food blogging events. Lesson for today is - buy a new oven ! :lol:

[TV announcer lilting voice] This edition is brought to you by
Red Beard at Life in Flow, A French Kitchen in Burgundy by Anne Willan for the tart base and French Cooking Made Easy (it's not bloody easy!!) by the Australian Women's Weekly. If you're masochistic enough to want to torture yourself, here's the recipe:

Fresh Fruit Tart

*For the sweet pastry (pate sucree):
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
100 gm chilled butter

*For the pastry cream (creme patisserie):
1 1/4 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp cornflour
1/4 cup caster sugar (superfine)
1 tsp vanilla [optional]

sliced fresh fruits
3 Tbsp apricot jam
1 Tbsp water

*To make the base:
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°C/gas mark 6.
  2. Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two butter knives until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. In another bowl, gently mix egg yolks and vanilla. Add little by little into the flour mixture while tossing and mixing with a fork.
  4. Press and squeeze the mixture into a ball (if needed sprinkle a few tablespoon of water). Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Take the dough from the fridge and roll out into a 13-14 inch circle. Lay out on a 10-inch tart pan and trim the edges. Prick the base all over with fork.
  6. Bake blind for 10 minutes. [To bake blind: cut parchment paper on tart base. Place baking beans or ceramic beans on top.]
  7. Remove beans and parchment paper and bake again for about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

*To make the pastry cream:
  1. Boil milk in a saucepan. While waiting for it to froth over, mix egg yolks, flours, sugar, and vanilla in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Once the milk boils, pour into the flour mixture in a thin stream while whisking constantly.
  3. Transfer back into the saucepan and let simmer until thick while stirring all the time.
  4. Remove from heat, put a moistened parchment paper on the surface (to prevent a film/crust from forming on top). Cool completely.

*To assemble:
  1. Heat apricot jam and water in a saucepan. Strain and cool.
  2. Spread the pastry cream evenly on the tart base. Arrange sliced fresh fruits on top.
  3. Brush the apricot jam mixture on the fruits using a pastry brush. Serve.

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