I’m back off my holiday to Malta and I’m ready and raring to bake! Whenever I’m in a bakery or Patisserie I always go for the most chocolatey or creamy thing I can see, but every now and again I get an urge for a light and fruity tart. For me, the star of this dessert is the Pate Sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry). I think it’s probably the best pastry I’ve had and it’s all thanks to Michel Roux’s book on pastry. If you’re a novice to pastry work or need a bit of guidance, then this book is perfect due to the step by step guides. (I am not promoting this book, I just love it!) As well as pastry recipes and guides, there are also bundles of lovely recipes to try; both sweet and savoury. I had never made Crème Patissière before this and decided it was time to try it. I will definitely make it more often now as its quick, easy and good to make in advance. With an array of summer fruits on top, these tarts are truly irresistible. Indulgence without the heavy feeling that you get with other desserts. The fruit really balances out the richness of the pastry cream, and all together makes a complimenting mouthful. So if you’re looking for a light but elegant end to your dinner party or are just in the mood for a sweet treat, try these and you’ll be thanking me (and Michel Roux) forever.
Ingredients – Makes 4 tarts – Recipe from Michel Roux Pastry
- 125g plain flour
- 50g butter, cubed
- 50g icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 3 egg yolks
- 62g caster sugar
- 20g plain flour
- 250ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- icing sugar or butter
- Conserve to glaze (I used apricot Jam)
Pate Sucrée: This can be done on a marble work surface, but if you don’t have one just use a bowl like I did. Put your flour into a bowl and create a well in the middle. Add in your butter, icing sugar and salt. Mix these by using your fingertips to create a breadcrumb consistency. Make a well in your mix again and add your egg. Mix your ingredients together again with your fingers until it holds together. Once your mix is holding together, knead it a few times with the palm of your hand on a floured surface until it is smooth. At this stage it will stick to the board but after a few kneads it should hold together better. Roll the dough into a bowl and wrap in cling film, refrigerate for 1 hour.
Once refrigerated, roll out onto a floured surface to a 2mm thickness. Cut out four circles using your tart cases to judge the size. Place your pastry circles over the tart cases and ease them in using your fingers. Continue to press into the edges and cut off any excess pastry. Leave to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge. Preheat your oven at 180C and prick the bottom of your cases with a fork. Place a piece of baking parchment over each case and fill with a few baking beans (bake blind). Place them in the oven for 10 minutes then remove both baking beans and paper and bake for another 5 minutes so that they dry out. Turn out your cases onto a cooling rack and leave to cool until needed. If you have a bit of pastry left over, like I did, then make some Mini Sablés.
Crème Patissière: Whisk your egg yolks and a third of your sugar together until thick and creamy. Next, whisk in your flour until fully combined. Heat the milk, sugar and vanilla pod in a saucepan until it comes to the boil. Once it comes to the boil, pour it slowly into the egg mix. Whisking constantly so that your eggs don’t become scrambled! Pour your mix back into the pan and slowly bring to the boil again, whisking constantly. Do this for 2 minutes until thick and then pour into a clean bowl. Sieve some icing sugar over the top of your pastry cream so that it doesn’t form a skin whilst cooling. Place in the fridge once cool.
Assembling (only when ready to serve): Line up all of your tart cases and pour the Crème Patissière into each case equally. Next, prepare your fruits and lay them out on top of your tarts (I used Strawberries, Peaches and Blueberries.) Put a tablespoon of conserve into a cup and add a small amount of water, stir well. If your conserve has bits or seeds, then sieve it before using a pastry brush to delicately brush onto your fruit.