Monday, July 7, 2008

More Minis

My love affair with mini desserts continues! Also the cheap side of me kicked in. I love to go to bakeries and look at the fruit tarts. They are so elegant and beautiful. I never buy them because I think they are really expensive. I finally got up the nerve to make one myself!

One of my favorite cookbooks is Williams-Sonoma's Tools & Techniques. It has recipes for both the tart dough and the pastry cream. Here we go. Let's start with the pastry cream. Grab a vanilla bean. Split it with a pairing knife and scrape the seeds out. Place the seeds and the pod into a pot with milk to steep over medium heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar. I whisk until the mixture turns to a pale yellow.
By now, your milk and vanilla should be warm enough.
Slowly pour a quarter of the warm milk into the eggs while whisking constantly.
Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan. Whisk constantly and cook until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Pour the mixture into a sieve placed over a bowl. Strain out the solids.
Add the butter to the strained cream and stir until it melts.
Place plastic wrap over the pastry cream. (Make sure it's touching the cream so a skin won't form.) Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Let's make the tart dough now. Get all of your dry ingredients into the food processor. Please, please, please, weigh your flour.
Take the dry ingredients for a spin. Add the butter.
Process lightly and add the egg and heavy cream.
Bring the dough together in a ball. Flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours
Here's the challenging part for me, rolling the dough. Sprinkle well with flour and grab a French rolling pin.
Yeah. Lesson learned: don't roll dough in a hot house!
I quickly wised up an placed a sheet pan in the refrigerator. I rolled the re-chilled dough on it. I used a fluted cutter to make rounds for my muffin pan.
Sorry. No more work-in-progress pics. My kitchen was still hot and I had to move quickly. I placed the rounds in a standard muffin pan I used a tart tamper to shape them. Then I docked them with a fork. Here's the finished product.
Tools of the trade:

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