I poked the remaining pastry and hummed to myself. I had half a batch of sweet shortcrust pastry left after making a lemon tart, and was wondering what on earth I’d use it for. I knew that at the very least I needed to bake it up so that I’d be forced to use it for something – I have a terrible habit of storing unbaked pastry in the freezer and then forgetting all about it till I clean out the freezer and discover in my dismay that it needs to be tossed out!
So, I rolled it out and popped it into the oven to bake, then went over to the fridge, opened it and contemplated its contents while I waited for inspiration to grab me. My eyes happened to glance upon a case of strawberries that were in dire need of being used and I remembered something that my sister had said to me a few months ago – “Oh my god, I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE fruit flans! I’ll do ANYTHING for one, I love them sooooooooooo much!”
Well, as it turns out that despite her pleas, I’d never actually made her one at the time, so I thought that I’d make one now – and judging by her facial expression and eagerness to help me go grocery shopping, I’d say that I made a good decision
(Sorry for the overly short entry but I’ve been cooking and cleaning so much over the past three weeks that my right shoulder has slowly become more and more inflamed so that now even lifting a glass of water to my lips is painful. Am hoping that taking a break and resting it completely will help bring it right again!)
Fresh Fruit Flan
Pastry Ingredients (from Shannon Bennett in ‘My Vue‘)
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g pure icing sugar
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbsp milk
250g plain (all-purpose) flour
*If you have a favourite sweet shortcrust recipe, then you can certainly use that instead. I’ve tried a few and though this pastry is a B*TCH to work with, it really has no comparison in terms of withstanding moist fillings.
Creme Patissiere ingredients (from Pierre Herme in ‘The Cook’s Book’)
250mL full-fat milk
22.5g corn starch
65g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
3 egg yolks
25g butter, at room temperature and cut into walnut-sized cubes
Fresh fruit, for topping
Apricot jam, for glazing
1. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, then beat in vanilla, egg and milk. Once this is all combined, slowly add the flour till the mixture just comes together. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Remove lemon filling from fridge to become room temperature. On a well-floured surface, roll out the pastry to 6mm thickness and place in the tart tin. Prick all over with a fork then place back in fridge for 15 minutes.
3. Line tart case with foil, making sure that it is completely covered then fill with pastry weights (I use uncooked rice) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake for a further 10 minutes or till base is firm and dry. Remove from oven and cool completely.
4. Once pastry has completely cooled, begin work on the crÃ¨me pÃ¢tissiÃ¨re – whisk together the milk, corn starch, vanilla paste and 30g of sugar in a heavy-based pan. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over low heat, whisking continuously till the mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
5. When the milk mixture has thickened and started to bubble whilst whisking, immediately remove from heat. Whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 35g of sugar, then slowly pour in the milk in a thin stream, whisking continously. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and continue whisking till mixture is thick and has just begun to boil, then immediately remove from the heat.
6. Stand the pan in a shallow bowl filled with ice and leave to cool to about 60 degrees C. Once cooled, add the pieces of butter and whisk briskly till they have melted and the sauce is smooth and shiny. Immediately pour into the cooled tart case and smooth over as the pastry cream will set and become more solid as it cools down.
7. Decorate the top of the tart with fresh prepared fruit, then heat and strain the apricot jam and carefully brush over the top of the tart to glaze it – this helps hold the fruit into place and prevents them from drying out too quickly.
8. Place into the fridge to cool and set for at least an hour, and bring back to room temperature just before serving!
This is what happens when you cut into your flan before the pastry cream has properly set and the thing hasn’t been glazed yet – whoops!
[tags]tart, fruit flan, sweet, recipe, dessert, Shannon Bennett, Pierre Herme[/tags]