Monday, 23 May 2011

Fruit Tart with Chantilly Cream and Sweet Pastry


The fruit tart in question was a request from a friend for her sister's birthday. The fruits are of course her favourite. I've never made one and having read the many blogs and recipe books that were available out there made it quite a daunting task to begin with. But I tend to find the quickest way possibly to make one so here's how I did it.

Ingredients:
Sweet Pastry:
250gm plain flour - sifted
100gm icing sugar
100gm butter - diced and slightly soft
2 medium sized eggs

Chantilly Cream
500ml double cream
50gm icing sugar

Fruits
Any seasonal fruit or canned fruit of your liking. Various colours would be good if not, just berries is good too!

Method:
  1. Preparing the pastry in advance is helpful as it would quicken the process in making the tart. Even baking it a day before is also good. But on the day is also fine. So, in a food processor or in a mixing bowl, place in the sifted flour, icing sugar and diced butter. In a food processor pulse it to ensure butter gets incorporated into the flour and icing sugar looking like bread crumbs. If in a mixing bowl, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture until bread crumb like. Then add in the eggs one by own until it comes doughy like. In a food processor it may seem like it looks almost like a batter form but slightly thick. Don't worry about it. Just use your fingers to scrape out the pastry onto a floured surface.
  2. Next knead the pastry for about 3 minutes or so before wrapping it in cling film for refrigeration. You can keep this overnight or for 1 to 2 hours. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to a month.
  3. When ready to bake, crank up the oven to 190 Degrees Celcius. Bring out your flan tin or ceramic pie dish. There is no need for greasing as the pastry is actually really nice and oily and doesn't stick to the pan nor dish. Work with a rolling pin to flatten the pastry until about 5mm thick. Wrap the rolling pin with the pastry before lifting it to be unwrapped over the flan tin / dish. Use your fingers then to press the pastry on to the tin to rid off any air pockets. Cut any excess pastry away from the edges. Using your thumb and index finger from your left hand and index finger of your right hand, press the edges of the pastry to shape it. 
  4. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork to allow air to escape.Line the pastry with grease proof paper and pour in baking beans before placing it in the oven to bake blind for 30 minutes. Take out the baking beans at the final 10 minutes of baking to allow the pastry base to dry and turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool thoroughly. Remove from flan tin / dish to quicken cooling process.
  5. The Chantilly cream was actually the easiest to make. In a mixing bowl, pour all ingredients into it and beat with a steady rhythm until mixture thickens. When whisk is lifted, the cream should not be runny but holds it own. Vanilla extract with vanilla beans actually does make the cream look better but you can use the actually vanilla beans by scraping it out from a vanilla pod. It however is not cheap, so just be careful when purchasing it. Set aside the cream in the fridge.
  6. The fruits what you may like can be sliced in many ways as long as you know how you want the fruits to shape up when decorating the tart.
  7. Assemble the tart by first spreading the cream on the base of the pastry case and smoothen the surface with your spatula or palette knife. Then line your fruits accordingly and leave it in the fridge for a little while before serving or alternatively it can be served there and then.
  8. You can add a jam glaze on top for added shiny effect. Other recipes call for a gelatine layer but I choose not to. For a jam glaze just use any kind of pre-made jam on place it in a sauce pan. Two tbsp should be enough. Heat it up and stir to let it melt. Then using a pastry brush, glaze the fruits with it.
This tart found its way to a pastry chef in a popular cafe / restaurant down in Balham, London. The restaurant staff also had a taste of it and enjoyed it tremendously. I even got tips on how to get the pastry case to be less brittle! That made my day for sure.

So if you ever want to make fruit tarts the easy way, this is the way to go.

Rustic oat loaf next.

The Innovative Baker

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