Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inspiration in Estate Sale Tart Tins

While I love the daily interaction between my self, my family and the food I create for them, I truly appreciate those moments when friends gather, the wine flows and food is central to the evening - this past weekend was just such a time. Friends and colleagues, Jeff and Marji invited us over for a fantastic meal in their new home. Jeff made some of the best homemade pizzas I have ever tasted - whole cloves of roasted garlic, sweet potato, caramelized onions were just a few of the surprise ingredients on these thick savory pies. Inspired by my estate sale find (three large French made fluted tart tins for $2) I volunteered to bring dessert. I made two fresh fruit tarts with homemade Pate Sucree shells sealed with a thin layer of bittersweet chocolate, pastry cream, raspberries, Strawberries and blueberries. While not the quickest dessert to throw together, the payoff comes not only from the taste, but even more from the visual impact of presenting these beautiful tarts. Really a great evening, with the only down side of having to limit my wine consumption due to the long drive back into the city. A small price to pay.

Pastry Cream
adapted from Bo Friberg's The Professional Pastry Chef
1 Pint whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2Tbs cornstarch
1/2 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 oz unsalted butter

Bring milk to boil in heavy sauce pan. Meanwhile whisk cornstarch, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Add eggs one at a time whisking until smooth. Temper the egg mixture with 1/3 of the hot milk, whisking rapidly. Pour tempered mixture into remaining hot milk. Place mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Continue to cook for 10-20 seconds longer then add vanilla extract and butter continuing to stir until completely incorporated. Pour custard into bowl and cover with parchment paper. When cool, store in the refrigerator. Yields 1.5 lbs or enough for 2 nine inch tart shells ( I have even stretched this for 2 eleven inch shells.)


Kelly said...

Your pictures are beautiful! I am still learning about how to take nice photos.

Bo Friberg's books are pretty reliable. Have you tried any of the Le Cordon Bleu textbooks? We used those, with the Professional Pastry Chef books, at my culinary school and they were great!

Lance W. Duffin said...

Kelly, Thank you so much! I have not tried the Le Cordon Bleu books. I would love to add those to the collection and give them a try.