11 February 2008

Crema de Fruta Tarts

Crema de Fruta Tarts (with title)
I don't know what happened to me. I am deathly afraid of saying those 3 words (apparently not of the other 3 more harmful words-- "more food, please"). I used to say them often. Now I can only say them in the context of a humorous statement. Even if I really want to, I need something to disguise it and the recipient is just left wondering how much of it I meant.

I know many of you will be piping in, "If you mean it, say it, or you'll regret it." Unfortunately, experience has shown me that it's when I do say it that the regret starts. The person in question feels pressure to live up to it, or I'm seen as too intense or borderline. The thing is, I admit it feels wonderful to be the recipient. But I know myself. I don't think I know many other people well enough to assume for them that it's a good thing to be loved by me. Maybe I'm just not that person. I would think that maybe I'm just selfish, but I like making people feel that they're loved somehow, like in the food I make or the cakes I bake. Just not in words. Maybe I should just make the rule now: if I've said it as a joke, I already meant it (the problem with that is I take it even more personally when people don't like the food-- oh, what a tangled web I weave..). These (hopefully) original tarts, patterned after Crema de Fruta, a now-classic Filipino dessert of layered chiffon cake, custard, fruit cocktail, and gelatin "mirror" is my entry to the Mini Pie Revolution 2: Small Tarts have Big Hearts food blogging event founded and hosted by my good online buddy Ann of redacted recipes and Karyn of Hot Potato..

While this doesn't have cake, there's never enough depth in a tart to include pastry cream, fruits, peach slices (no matter how thinly you slice them), and gelatin. So I scrapped the gelatin, except for a light brushing of gelatinized light peach syrup on top. It doesn't really add much anyway. I used "Good Cook" (a California-n brand) heart tins that measured 3-1/4" (8cm) on the septum, which sold for 3 at P150 ($3.75). One real (much shallower) heart tartlet pan with a removable bottom costs P280 ($7). Uh, no thanks.

Paté Brisée (good for 4 3-1/4" heart tins)

  • 130g (9 tbsp or 1 stick + 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 210g (1-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 50g (1/2 cup) confectioner's sugar

  • 1/4 tsp salt

Using a mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, beat the butter until creamy and clinging to the sides of the bowl. Beat in the egg yolk until combined. Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt over the butter while beating. Stop when you have the appearance of fine crumbs (a few larger pieces of butter are fine). Gather into a log, pressing together well, and wrap in cling film. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Slice the log into 1/8" thick pieces, then line the tins with the pieces only slightly overlapping, pressing them well together to make them even and make sure there are no spaces in between (alternatively you could just tamp on a giant blob of dough, but I like the slice technique because it creates a very even crust throughout). Cut off the excess. Line with foil, making sure it goes over the sides, and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°F (375°F). Bake the crusts until light golden, about 18 minutes. Remove the foil and place on a rack to cool for 15 minutes, then flip them out onto the palm of your hand carefully. Make sure all the sides are supported by your palm so they don't fall apart (actually if you pressed them well together, it will be quite durable). Let them cool on a rack completely.

Crema de Fruta custard
Unlike pastry cream, this recipe has water, and is runnier, sweeter, lighter, and smoother. It's suited to tartlets because you don't have to slice them and worry about the filling running out. If you want to translate this recipe to a large tart, use a regular pastry cream instead.
  • 100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

  • 23g (2 tbsp + 2 tsp) cake flour

  • 330g (1 cup + 6 tbsp) whole milk

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 90g (6 tbsp) water

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened and creamy.

To assemble:
  • 1 small can of peach slices in light syrup, drained very well

  • 3 single serves of fruit cocktail, drained very well

Spoon the tart shells with custard half-full. Spoon fruit cocktail into the custard, pressing it in so the custard flows to the top of the fruit. Slice each peach slice into 4 thin wedges, then decorate the tops of the tarts with the peach slices.

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