I saw these great plums at the farmers market last Sunday and I knew I had to make something with them. I was having some family over for lunch that day and was trying to be a little ambitious to make lunch and a dessert all before 1 pm. My plan was to make a simple pastry crust, top it with pastry cream and add the sliced plums once it was cool. It seemed easy in my mind! However, the pastry cream requires a lot of attention and I happened to be in the middle of some important steps once people starting arriving and it didn’t quite turn out. So we just ate the tart shell with the plums which was delicious but not quite what I intended. Both the tart shell and the pastry cream can be made ahead of time but of course that requires a little more planning. I made the tart again, later in the week when I didn’t have a bunch of things going on at once, and these are the end results.
Recipe borrowed from my culinary school days, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine: The French Culinary Institute
Tart Shell: (Pate Brisee)
200 g. All Purpose Flour
5 g. Salt
100 g. Butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
20 g. All Purpose Flour
20 g. Cornstarch
500 mL Whole Milk
1/2 Vanilla Bean, scraped and seeds reserved or 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 Egg Yolks, room temperature
75 g. Sugar
1. Sift flour and salt onto a clean work surface. Create a well and add the butter.
2. Working quickly, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips and cut it into the flour with a pastry scraper, working until the mixture becomes sandy in texture. There should be no large butter particles.
3. Form another well and add the egg. Incorporate just until the dough holds together, adding ice water if neccessary. Do not overwork the dough. Crush any lumps against the work surface with the heel of your hand and press back into the dough to combine.
4. Gather the dough together and form it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.
5. Roll out the dough by putting a piece of wax paper underneath the dough and one on top and using a rolling pin to roll it out until about 1/4 in. thick and even. Carefully fold the dough in half and transfer it to the tart ring, snugly fitting it into the sides and bottom. Trim and discard the scraps. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill for another 30 minutes.
6. Blind baking: Add pie weights or dried beans to the wax paper and cook at 250 degrees for about 10 minutes. Take out the wax paper and weights and bake for about another 15 minutes until the pastry is lightly browned and cooked through.
7. Set aside to cool and later add the pastry cream and top with sliced plums.
1. Sift the flour and cornstarch into a small bowl.
2. Place the milk in a pot and add the vanilla bean and reserved seeds. Bring to a boil then immediately remove pan from the heat and allow to cool for about 1 minute. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom.
3. Combine egg yolks and sugar into a small bowl and whisk until pale yellow. Sift the flour and cornstarch into the egg mixture and combine until smooth.
4. Whisking continuously, pour some of the hot milk into the egg mixture then return everything back into the pot and whisk continuously until it comes to a boil. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until thickened. Make sure to whisk the mixture and scrape the bottom and sides the entire time so that the eggs don’t start to scramble. You want the mixture to stay smooth which means you must constantly whisk.
5. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl; remove and discard vanilla bean. Cover the top with melted butter or plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.