Who You Calling A Tart?

Ugh this title.  ANYWAY.  You guys, I made this crazy delicious tart on Sunday.  Actually I made it half on Saturday and half on Sunday.  This is not an easy recipe.  I followed a recipe from Cooks Illustrated, which is a website you need to pay a fee to use so I’m going to cheat the system and write it out here because this was a really delicious tart and so impressive-looking!

Stuff You Need:

For the pastry cream

2 cups half-and-half (aka one regular sized container)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks, chalazae removed (ugh – see below)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the “tart pastry” (it’s just the crust but it’s super delicious and cookie-like so that’s why they call it a tart pastry and not just a crust)

1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold, cut into half-inch cubes

For the fruit and glaze

Fruit, unwashed (I don’t know)
1/2 cup jelly (I used apricot)


What You Do:

Make the pastry cream first.  Get a sauce pan and put the half and half and six tablespoons of sugar and the pinch of salt in the pan.  Heat it up, stirring a bit to dissolve the sugar.  In the meantime, get a medium bowl and start separating your egg yolks.  This part can be tricky but I think I figured out a good way to do it.  The chalazae is those little white strings that connect the yolk to the egg.  They get in the way of things.  So when you separate the yolks you’re supposed to get rid of those white strings too but that can be hard.  So what I did was just poke a hole in the yolk and squeeze out the insides.  Because the yolk is in a little baggy thing.  It’s like a little membrane that holds the yolk together.  It’s the thing you break when you scramble the eggs.  So poke a hole in the baggy and just squeeze the yellow insides out of the yolk once you separate the whites out of it and then toss the baggy with the white strings still attached in the trash or sink if you have a garbage disposal (I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE SO FANCY).

Okay so you have your 5 egg yolks all liquid in a medium bowl.  Whisk them with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until it’s creamy-like.  Throw in the cornstarch and whisk it some more, until it’s combined.

Now, it kind of takes a long time for the half and half to simmer completely because it’s pretty thick.  Once it gets there, and give it time, don’t stress if it’s not happening immediately, take it off the heat and whisk it in with the egg yolk mixture.  Then pour it back into the pan (the recipe says scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula which I did not do, but then I regretted it, so scrape it with a spatula if you know what’s good for you).  Then cook it again, whisking constantly, until it’s pretty thick.  Then whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Then it’s like thick thick.  You’re done!  Put it in a bowl and put plastic wrap directly on top of the cream and refrigerate it.  You  have to keep it in the fridge for at least three hours but I did this the day before so I kept it in there for like 36 hours.

Ugh.  How tired are you guys already just from reading this?  Tell me about it.  So much transferring of cream mixtures from one receptacle to the next.  Now.  On to the tart pastry!

Take your yolk and whisk it with the cream and vanilla in a little bowl.  Set it aside.  Take a big bowl and mix together the flour, sugar, and salt.  I did not use a food processor but I see now that I should have.  I mixed them in a big bowl and then I scattered the butter pieces and fucking cut those mothers into the dry mixture with a fork.  It really hurt my arm.  That shit is not easy to do.  It’s like super cold butter so.  It’s painful.  The recipe says pulse it in the food processor but I only had a little one so what I should have done is done half batches in the food processor.  Anyway, lesson learned.  My arm is still sore.  You do it until the butter is all like pea-sized or a little smaller.  Then it says keep the food processor going and stream in the egg yolk mixture.  Until it turns into a dough.  I tried mixing it with my hand but it DID NOT WORK.  So then I did the half-batches in the food processor.  Ugh.  Form it into a six-inch flattened ball thing and wrap it in plastic wrap and fridge it for an hour (at least – again, I did it overnight).

The next day!  Take out your dough, let it sit until it’s malleable.  Roll it with a rolling pin between two floured sheets of plastic wrap.  Don’t go crazy, treat it like a cookie instead of like a crust.  You can take parts off and squeeze it onto other parts if you need to, you know what I mean?  Put it in your tart pan (I have one from Le Crueset that doesn’t have a removable bottom or whatever so I just served it in the pan).  Like I said, take off extra parts and put them in the parts that need extra.  Whatever.  Just use your brain.  Preheat the over to 375.  Put some tin foil on top of the crust in the pan and put pie weights on the tin foil.  I use coins.  They work.  Some people use dried beans.  I don’t know if they work.  Don’t blame me if they don’t.  Just spring for some pie weights if you’re nervous and lay off me!

Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes, then rotate it and bake another 15 minutes.  Take it out and take the tin foil and pie weights off the crust and then bake it for another 5-8 minutes.  Then take it out and let it cool COMPLETELY.  So then when you’re ready to serve the tart, like just before people get to your house, take out the cream and fill the crust with the cream.  Then stack your fruits in a cute way.  Or do a design, I don’t know.  I just did circles.  Next time maybe I’ll make them into a heart shape.  Or a Christmas tree.  Depending on the season.  Then cook your jelly in a pan on the stove until it boils.  I fucked this part up, I was too anxious for the tart to be glazed so I didn’t wait long enough.  Get it to a boil.  Then get a brush and brush the jelly on top of the fruit.  And that’s pretty much it.  Ugh this recipe.  I thought it was annoying to make but it’s almost more annoying to tell you fools how to make it.

Just kidding.  That wasn’t so hard.

What I liked about this recipe is that if you bake at all or buy eggs as often as I do you already have most of the ingredients.  And you can use any fruit.  I did berries but you can use kiwi, or even something crazy like grapes if you want.  Who cares, it’s your tart!

And it was fucking delicious and really beautiful.  I forgot to take a picture and anyway my camera is still broken from when I dropped it in front of the tittie bar on Bourbon Street so Zilm took this picture with her ipod after I had already stupidly cut a piece out of it.


1 Comment

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One response to “Who You Calling A Tart?

  1. This looks beautiful! I’m sure it was way tasty. Also, I think “Who cares, it’s your tart!” should be a new catchphrase.

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