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When I was little, every time my family went to Delifrance for breakfast on the weekends, there would only be one thing on my mind — those dainty little fruit tarts filled with custard cream, glistening behind the glass display. After rushing through my scrambled eggs & croissant, I would then slowly and leisurely savour my dessert, til there was not a single crumb left on the plate. Now, even though I’ve outgrown my childhood obsession with those Delifrance pastries, I can never resist a good fruit tart.

I did not plan on making these tarts, at all. It was just the result of trying to use up some shortcrust pastry left after baking Nutella Banana Tarts for a picnic. Crème patisserie flecked with tiny vanilla seeds was spread over the buttery-crisp pâte sucrée tartlets.  Then, juicy and ripe in-season nectarines were sliced and arranged over the custard filling. The combination of fresh nectarines bursting with juice and the vanilla custard atop a caramelised tart shell was amazing. It was light, fresh and very satisfying. I decided to skip the usual gelée glaze over the fruit simply because I was feeling lazy. Feel free to glaze the tops with an apricot gelée for a more polished looking dessert. 

Fresh Nectarine Tarts
there are two main components in this dessert but they can be prepared in advance, which makes this really quick to whip up in no time at all. The pastry cream is incredible versatile – it can be used as a filling for tarts, cakes, cream puffs or éclairs.

Pâte sucrée
*Instead of blind-baking them, bake the tarts until they are a deep golden colour and cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for up to 1 week or frozen.

Crème patisserie
recipe adapted from Gale Gand’s Boston Cream Pie
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
5 egg yolks (I use organic, free-range eggs)
2/3 cup organic unrefined sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 T unsalted french butter

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.

Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool it slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours.

To assemble,
Slice a few ripe nectarines, depending on how many tarts & the size you are making. Place generous spoonfuls of pastry cream over the tart base and smooth the surface. Arrange the fruit over and serve. The tarts must be keep refrigerated +  taste the best if served the day it is made. Enjoy!

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