Until I started this journey of writing a blog I had not baked anything for years. I vowed that I would try to improve my baking skills while trying out new recipes and cookbooks. I am really happy that I made this commitment. Until now, I would not have dreamed of trying to make french pastries, I would have gone to my local patiserrie and bought them.
Part of that was just fear that they would be burnt or just taste really bad. My daughters joke that the day my grandson was born was the day that my baking gene kicked in. The truth is when I was very young I loved to bake and I have never had the time, until now. Since I started writing a blog I have pushed myself to get back into cooking and baking and to challenge my culinary abilities.
I really surprised myself with this recipe. I bought the Miette cookbook because the photos of the baked goods looked so amazing. This book is filled with beautiful recipes from a pastry shop in San Francisco. There are cakes, tarts, cookies and candies gracing its beautifully scalloped pages. The detailed instructions of this book make it a valuable resource for any would be pastry chef.
I must say that at first I was somewhat intimidated by the fabulous desserts, but I tackled this one head on and I am pleased that it turned out so well. Who knows what I will try next.
Fresh Fruit Tarlettes
Makes 10 tartlettes
For the Tart assembly
Make the Pâte Sucrée (sweet pastry) and line ten 3 ½ inch tartlette pans. Fully pre-bake, transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely.
Spoon about 2 ½ tablespoons of pastry cream into each shell and spread evenly. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Just before serving, top with the fruit of your choice, arranging nicely. (Berries work the best) Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.
Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Pastry) Tart Shell
Makes enough for two 7-inch tarts or ten 3 ½-inch tartlettes
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 large eggs yolks
4 to 8 tbsp. heavy cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and beat until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal, about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tbsp. of the cream. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. If the dough does not come together into large chunks, slowly add the remaining cream, a little at a time, until it does. Gather the dough into a ball, pat it into a disk. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough disk into a round about ¼ inch thick and about 1 inch greater in diameter than the pan you are using (8 inches for a 7 inch pan, 4 inches for a 31/2 inch tartlette pans). Drape the rolled out dough into the pans gently pushing into the bottom edges and against the pans sides to make a strong and straight shell. Turn the edges flush with the rim of the pan using a sharp knife, or roll the rolling pin over the edges to cut off the excess dough. Prick all over the bottom with the tine of a fork and place in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes.
To store unbaked, wrap the dough ball tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months, or line the tart shells with the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 days. Thaw the frozen dough ball in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours before rolling and shaping. Bake lined and frozen shells straight out of the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To partially pre-bake the tart shell(s), place in the oven directly from the freezer and bake just until no longer translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
To fully bake the tart shell(s), bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling and proceeding with the recipe. Store fully baked shells, wrapped tightly in plastic, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
2 cups whole milk
½ vanilla bean
7 large eggs yolks
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pour the milk into a medium pot. Use a sharp knife to slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk. Put the pod in the milk as well. Heat the milk until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 1 hour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Set the bowl on a kitchen towel or non-skid surface and whisk the egg mixture while pouring about ½ cup of the hot milk to temper. Gradually pour the rest of the milk, whisking constantly. Pour the contents of the bowl into the pan and set over medium-low heat.
Cook whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a slow boil, about 2 minutes. Immediately strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Discard the vanilla bean.
Let the pastry cream cool to room temperature, 10 minutes, and then whisk in the butter. You want the butter to be incorporated without melting.
Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Recipe from Miette-recipes from San Francisco’s most charming pastry shop by Meg Ray with Leslie Jonath