Another Round of Fruit Tarts

Been making lots of fruit tarts this week. The miniature ones for bible study..


Step by step how-to is here.

I also make a BIG one for Meesh going away lunch, complete with Tart shell mixed with ground almonds. Maybe I’m biased, but I really think this is the best pâte sablée I’ve ever encountered. The almond gives a nice flavor and icing sugar adds the right sweetness. The most difficult part is the rolling it onto the tin in one piece.

What wasn’t very successful on my big tart is how the crème pâtissière was too liquidy. So cooking few mins longer would probably yield a better result. Unlike the mini tarts where the creme is contained, you will have to slice the pie into individual serving. Hence a more custard-y crème would be better since it won’t spill like a flowing river. Hah, learn a new thing, always. And I really need to pay more attention how the french patisseries are making their fruit tarts.

Anyway, without further ado.. here’s the recipe for pâte sablée that rocks my world.

“The french name for shortcrust pastry, pâte sablée (sandy pastry) says it all: when baked, this dough has a crumbly, sandy texture that pairs well with rich, creamy fillings. Preparing the dough in the food processor is especially efficient when you use ground nuts as an ingredients, as the nuts are processed and then simply left in the work bowl. Fillings range from a rich and elegant layered combination of chocolate and chestnut creams, to the smooth and satisfying cream cheese and soured cream filling for a New York cheesecake – which actually isn’t a tart at all, but does use a baked shortcrust pastry crust as a base” – Nick Malgieri

PATE SABLEE (OR SHORTCRUST PASTRY TART CRUST)
from Bake! Essential techniques for perfect baking by Nick Malgieri
makes about 675 g dough, enough for two 25cm tart crust

30 g slivered or whole blanched almonds, optional
85 g icing sugar, sifted
325 g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
225 g unsalted butter, cold, cut into 16 pieces
2 medium egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Combine the almonds and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground, about 1 min. No visible pieces of almond should remain.
  • Add flour and salt and pulse couple times to mix. (If not using the nuts, start here and add the sugar). Add butter and pulse repeatedly until no visible pieces remain. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse until the dough forms a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto floured surface and carefully remove the blade. Divide into 2 equal pieces, shape each into a thick disc and wrap individually in cling film. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hr.
  • To form a tart crust, remove one piece of dough from fridge and allow to soften at room temperature (about 20 mins), just until it is soft enough to roll without cracking. Unwrap it and place it on a floured surface. Use the palm of your hand to press it into a thickness of 5mm.
  • Flour the dough and gently roll it into a 33 cm disc, adding pinches of flour under and top of the dough as needed.
  • Fold the dough in half and and slide both hands under it, palms upward and transfer it to the tin, lining up the fold with the diameter of the tin. Unfold the dough into the tin. If the dough cracks or tears, press it back together.
  • Evenly fit the dough into the tin, making sure it’s flat against both the base and side of the tin. Trim away any excess dough at the rim by rolling over it with rolling pin.
  • Finish off the top edges by pressing outward against the side of the tin with your thumb and down at the same time at the top of the crust with your index finger.
  • Slide the flan tin onto a baking sheet, cover it with clingfilm and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight before baking.
  • Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 180 C. Pierce the chilled tart crust all over at 2.5cm intervals with fork. Line the crust, bottom and sides with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or other small weights.
  • Bake the tart crust until it is dry looking and set, about 10 mins. Remove the paper and beans and bake until the crust is evenly light golden, 15-20 mins.
  • Cool the crust on a rack and use the same day you bake it.

Note: Nick uses flan tin, the shorter sister of tart/ quiche tin. So measurement might varies.

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