After several promised tarts, I finally decided I'd make this my Monday baking assignment.
Needless to say, next time Gabe begs for one of these when we're grocery shopping, I may just fork out the $5. While perfectly delicious, these damn tarts took all morning. In my opinion, there are too many steps. But I suppose, the payoff is this yummy strawberry tart. You can definitely make this w/ any berries, peaches would be great too.
The only thing I did differently than Anne Burrell is that I glazed the top w/ some warmed up apricot jelly. I thinned it out w/ some water and heated it up, brushed over the top to help keep the fruit moist. If anyone tries this out, I'm dying to hear from you!
One egg yolk.
As this mixture comes up to a boil, you've gotta keep stirring so you don't get lumps. Just be sure this absolutely comes up to a boil and simmer it at that heat for a few minutes. If not, apparently it can get gritty instead of staying creamy.
I was a little surprised at the texture of the cream too. I thought it was super thick. Anne Burrell compares it to pudding which seems pretty accurate when it's hot. But when it cools down, it's really thick. Almost gelatinous. After it cooled, I was a little worried I wouldn't like the texture but after you put a layer of strawberries and the apricot glaze (if using) it's perfectly fine. Any thinner and it would've leaked out everywhere.
1 1/2 sticks super cold butter (I freeze mine), diced
1 cup flour
3/4 cup almonds, toasted
Pinch kosher salt
1 egg yolk
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1 quart fresh sliced strawberries
1/4 c. apricot preserves (apricot jelly is better, but I can never find it)
2 tbsp. water
Crust: Start by grinding almonds in the food processor until they resemble a coarse meal. Add the flour & salt to the almonds and pulse to combine. Then add the butter, pulse until coarse meal texture. Add egg yolk and ice water - 3 or 4 tablespoons. It's really important that it's ice water. That way it keeps the dough nice and cold, butter doesn't melt, etc. When the crust comes together into a ball in the food processor it’s done so don’t add the full amount of water (or add more if your ball isn’t forming after several pulses).
Dump the dough out on to a floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times. Form into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Set it in the fridge for about 30 or 45 minutes to rest. You can actually make the crust in advance and freeze until you're ready to use it or leave in the fridge for a few days. If you freeze it, just let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Pastry cream filling: Pour heavy cream into a saucepan, whisk in ½ cup of sugar and put over medium low heat. Split the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the beans. Add the beans and pod into the cream mixture.
In a separate bowl, crack 4 eggs. Add in the other 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk until all the eggs are broken and the sugar is combined.
In another separate bowl, pour in milk and whisk in the cornstarch. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
Bring the cream/sugar/vanilla mixture to a slight boil. When it comes to a boil, fish out the vanilla pod and take it off the heat. Then temper the egg mixture with about 1/2 to a full cup of the hot cream mixture, whisk the eggs vigorously! After you bring the eggs up to temperature a little, then add it back into the cream and whisk together. Put the mix back on the med/low heat to slowly heat back to a simmer. Watch it carefully, because when it comes up to a simmer, slowly add in the milk/cornstarch mix.
As this mixture comes up to a boil, keep stirring to avoid lumps. Just be sure the mixture absolutely comes up to a boil and simmer it at that heat for a few minutes to avoid a gritty texture instead of staying creamy.
Place the pastry cream into a bowl to cool and put some plastic wrap directly on the surface so it doesn't form a skin.
First preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
If frozen, thaw the crust overnight in the fridge. If you made it in advance and it has been sitting in the fridge for a while, let it rest at room temp for 10 minutes to take the chill off. On a floured surface, roll the crust out to about 1/3" to 1/2" thickness. Lay into your false bottom tart pan. Using some excess crust dough and ball it up and use it to press the dough into the corners of the pan. Roll a rolling pin over the top to cut off the excess or trim w/ a knife.
Get some foil and put a layer on your crust. Then dump a bag of dry beans on top (or pie weights). Bake for 12-14 minutes and remove the beans/foil. Bake for another 5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
* Since I rolled the crust too thin I had extra crust. I just made little mini tarts with the extra ingredients.
Cool the crust and pastry cream until both are at room temp. The original recipe advises to use an ice bath to cool the filling down quickly. Fill the tart shell (s) and add sliced strawberries to the top.
So the tart works perfectly fine if you want to eat it like this. I didn't eat mine right away and I was a little concerned w/ the strawberries and pastry cream drying out so I did the old apricot preserves glaze.
Mix up some apricot jelly if you can find it. I can't ever find jelly so I had to use my standby apricot preserves along w/ some water. Heat it up in a saucepan until everything is simmering. Turn the heat off and let cool. Just break up some of the chunks w/ a fork or whisk.
Glaze the tarts, enjoy!