A tart shell can be made with a pate sucree (short dough or cookie dough) or a pate brisee (pie dough or pastry dough). I chose to make this tart with a pate brisee. I felt that this tart was going to be sweet enough, without the added sugar of a pate sucree crust.
You can easily make a pate brisee from scratch or buy a sheet of frozen pie crust dough that pre-made at a grocer. Pre-made pie dough is never as good as a home made dough, but it is a good option for those who are on the go. Some brands are better than others and local brand pie doughs tend to be better that national brands.
Pate Brisee Recipe:
This recipe makes more pate brisee than what is needed for the tart recipe. The extra pate brisee can be kept refrigerated for 7 days or frozen for later use.
Place 2 cups of flour into a mixing bowl.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Rice the flour by sprinkling a few drops of ice water at a time, while stirring with a whisk.
Note: The flour should look like grains of rice. Do not add too much water! Sprinkle only enough water to turn the flour into rice shapes.
Cut 3 ounces of unsalted butter into pea size pieces and drop them in a bowl of ice water.
Add a few pieces of the chilled hard butter at a time to the riced flour.
Work the dough lightly with your fingers and for a minimal period of time, leaving exposed small pieces of butter. Do not overwork the dough and do not let the dough become warm!
Chill the dough, till it becomes very firm.
Roll the pate brisee into a thin sheet on a floured counter top.
Note: The sheet of dough should show thin streaks of butter. The streaks of butter will give the pate brisee is flakey pastry texture.
Refrigerate the sheets of pate brisee, before assembling the petite tart shells.
Pate Brisee Tart Shells:
I chose petite 5 1/2" wide pop ring tart molds for the tarts in the pictures. Tarts can be made nearly any size.
Lightly brush 2 small tart ring molds with melted unsalted butter.
Cut 2 round dough sheets that are 2 inches wider than the tart ring molds.
Drape the dough sheets over a tart ring molds.
Gently press the dough in place inside the ring mold.
Roll a rolling pin over the mold to trim off the excess dough.
Set the molded tart shell in a refrigerator, so the dough becomes firm.
Place a round piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the tart shell.
Fill the tart shell with small dried beans.
Bake the tart shell in a 350 degree oven, till the tart shell becomes a light color.
Allow the tart shell to cool.
Remove the beans and parchment paper.
Carefully remove the tart shell from the ring mold and set it aside on a plate.
Pomegranate Gastrique Glaze Recipe:
This recipe makes several portions! The extra gastrique glaze can be modified to turn it into a savory accompaniment for a steak or used in other recipes. A gastrique can be adjusted to become a glaze. Less vinegar and no herbs are added in this style of gastrique.
Boil 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cups of water together over medium high heat.
Boil and reduce the liquid, till the sugar starts to cook and enter the candy stages.
Cook the sugar, till it turns a light amber color. (320 degrees is the start of the amber stage)
Add 1 handful of fresh pomegranate fruit.
(The sugar will sieze the fruit and it will stop cooking.)
Add 1/4 cup of brandy.
Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
Add 3/4 cup of water.
Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Simmer and reduce, till a thin syrup glaze is formed.
The glaze should be able to thinly coat the back of a spoon.
Strain the glaze through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl and set it aside.
Creme Patissiere (Pastry Cream) Recipe:
This recipe makes enough pastry cream for 2 small tarts!
Heat 1 cup of cream in a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
1 teaspoon of fresh orange zest.
Add 4 to 5 drops of pure vanilla extract.
Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Stir the ingredients together.
Mix 2 egg yokes with 1/2 cup of cold cream together in a small bowl.
Strain the hot cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, to remove the orange zest pieces.
Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the cold egg yoke and cream mixture, while constantly stirring with a whisk.
Return the cream sauce to the sauce pot.
Place the sauce pot over medium low/low heat.
Constantly stir with a whisk, till the pudding thickens.
(You can add a little bit of corn starch and water slurry, if the pastry cream is not thick enough. Be sure to constantly stir while adding the slurry, if it is necessary.)
When the pastry cream thickens to a medium thick pudding consistency, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool.
Spoon and spread a layer of the pastry cream on the tart shell pie dough in the ring mold.
Arrange some peeled sliced fresh peaches on top of the pastry cream in the tart ring mold.
Spoon a little bit of the pomegranate glaze over the peach slices in the tart ring mold.
Dust the tart with a little bit of sugar.
Bake the tart in a 350 degree oven, till the crust turns a golden brown color.
Let the tart cool to room temperature.
Gently remove the tart ring mold.
This is a very delicious French tart! The flavors are incredibly good. The eye appeal of a fresh, home made, real French pastry creme tart is mouth watering. The glaze is full of pomegranate flavor. This is fine tasting pastry! ... Shawna