Fresh Fruit Tart
Servings: 1 tarte
For the tart shell: (one 9 inch crust)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
For the pastry cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 baked tart shell
1 recipe of pastry cream
1 ½ pints of berries and fresh fruit cut as desired
1/2 cup clear apple jelly, melted
For the tart shell:
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir until evenly incorporated. Add the measured flour and stir until just combined and a soft dough forms.
Sprinkle the dough over the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using a measuring cup or your fingers, evenly press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan (flour the cup occasionally to prevent sticking).
Cover the tart shell with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once chilled, prick it all over with a fork and bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before filling and removing from the pan.
For the pastry cream:
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until it has been incorporated. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard vanilla bean.
Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter, and beat on medium speed until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, beat on low speed until smooth (you can also whisk by hand).
For the assembly:
Spread cooled pastry cream in cooled tart shell or tartlet shells. Arrange fruit over pastry cream in concentric circles in an attractive pattern. With a small brush, brush apple jelly over fruit to glaze.
Notes: Crisp, lightly sweet, and buttery, this classic pastry crust is an elegant base on which to build an entire repertoire of tarts. It’s easier to make than flaky pie pastry, too—just stir melted butter with sugar and a bit of salt, then blend in all-purpose flour to form the dough. With your fingers, press it into a tart pan and put it in the fridge for half an hour before pricking the bottom and baking.