Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Tart Dough)
In my opinion, the most important part of a fruit tart, or most tarts for that matter, is the crust. For fruit tarts, I prefer a firm, crisp, not-so-crumbly that it falls apart on the first bite, sort of crust. The perfect dough for that is pâte sucrée.
Pâte sucrée is a really simple dough to make in your stand mixer or even by hand and there’s really only one rule to follow: Don’t overwork the dough. What I really like about pâte sucrée, is that I can make a huge batch, divide the dough into several portions and freeze them. That way, I have an emergency stash on hand whenever I need to whip up a tart shell in a hurry.
Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)
I’ve always had issues with pastry cream. Most of the time, the cream doesn’t set firm enough. It’d be relatively firm off the stove, but gradually become more fluid as it cooled to room temperature. The first batch I made for these tarts became fluid as expected. I’d followed Dorie’s recipe to a T, so what was I doing wrong?
Initially, I thought it was because I hadn’t cooked the cream to the right consistency and had taken it off the stove too early. Then hubby, who loves his chocolate puddings and has been making them since he was a kid, pointed out that I’d probably stirred the pastry cream too much after it’d cooled past a certain point and broken down the starch.
I stubbornly insisted that the recipe said to wait for the pastry cream to cool to 60 degrees C before incorporating the butter or the custard would break. *humpf* Besides, he’d always cooked his puddings from Dr Oetker pudding mixes, what did he know about making custards from scratch or about stirring in butter? *grummel* Still, I secretly wondered if he was right.
So for the second batch, I cooked the custard a little longer than usual, very bravely stirred in the butter almost immediately after transferring it to a bowl and resisted the urge to stir the pastry cream while it was cooling. The result: a custard that stayed firm even after cooling to room temperature! Fine, so I was wrong and hubby was right after all. Hmm… I wonder what other tidbits on cooking he has hidden away… Perhaps it’s time to quell the kitchen Nazi in me and share some stove space with hubby!
An alternative to a pastry cream filling is dark chocolate ganache. I’d have preferred to top it with edible gold leaf, but didn’t have any on hand, so I went with gold luster dust instead.
Note: The design ideas for the blueberry, raspberry and chocolate tarts came from the wonderful dessert spread at Brasserie Les Saveurs (St. Regis, Singapore). The dessert spread is available as part of afternoon tea or Sunday brunch buffet.
Brasserie Les Saveurs
The St. Regis, Singapore
29 Tanglin Road · Singapore 247911
(65) 6506 6866
Daily Afternoon Tea 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday Brunch 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM