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Fruit Tart with Almond Pastry Cream

fruit tart with almond pastry cream | hello, sweetie!

fruit tart with almond pastry cream | hello, sweetie!

Happy National Strawberries and Cream Day!  I know...odd.  BUT delicious!  In honor of my friend Joanna who just graduated from Nursing school and is volunteering for the next month in Peru, I made a Bon Voyage fruit tart.  I've used raspberries in the past, and blueberries tossed in the mix would look great for Memorial Day, but strawberries are almost at their peak plus they're pretty inexpensive right now.  The custard is sinfully good, and there never seems to be enough so by all means...double the custard recipe below!  Lastly, the crust I used here is a bit more substantial than your average pie crust, resembling more of a sugar or shortbread cookie.   I believe the original recipe was from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa cookbook, and some adjustments have been made over the years.

Ingredients: 

 Crust 

  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • pinch of salt

Pastry Cream 

  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/4 c sugar, plus 2 T
  • 1/2 T cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 T heavy cream
  • 1 t almond extract

 

Directions for the crust: 

With the paddle attachment on an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until just combined. Add vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. Add to the butter mixture on low speed until it comes together, looking like coarse sand.  Press the dough into a 10“ round or 9” square (nonstick) false-bottom tart pan; make sure the finished edge is flat. I like to use a measuring cup to press the dough against the sides.  Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter one side of a piece aluminum foil and place butter-side-down to fit inside the tart crust. Fill with beans, rice or pie weights and bake 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil, bake 20- 25 minutes more. Cool until room temperature and fill with pastry cream.

 

tart crust | hello, sweetie!

tart crust | hello, sweetie!

Directions for the Cream:

With an electric mixer, beat the yolks and sugar for 3 minutes on medium-high. Turn the speed down to low and add the cornstarch.  Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan. With mixer on low, SLOWLY add the milk to the egg mixture. Once incorporated, pour it all back into the saucepan and return to medium heat, whisking CONSTANTLY (about 5-7 minutes). Bring to a boil and cook about 2 minutes more.  When you swipe the whisk or spatula across the bottom of the pan, the custard should stay separated by the path.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, cream and almond extract. Strain into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve. Place a piece of plastic directly onto the custard and refrigerate until cold.  Spread on the tart shell and garnish with hulled, sliced strawberries (or whatever fruit is in season).  If using whole berries, melt 1/3 cup apricot jelly in a saucepan and spread over the decorated tart.  It will give it a beautiful, finished looking shine.

almond pastry cream | hello, sweetie!

almond pastry cream | hello, sweetie!

fruit tart with almond pastry cream | hello, sweetie!

fruit tart with almond pastry cream | hello, sweetie!

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