Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fruit and Creme Patisserie Tart

A nice fresh fruit and pastry cream tart!

     I made this tart at chef school.  Tarts are fairly easy to make.  Two tips to arranging the fruit on top of a tart are to make the top look full of fruit and to arrange the fruit in a symmetric pattern that has tasteful eye appeal.  The colors of the fruit should be bright and appealing.  A sparse amount of fruit on a tart can make the tart look cheap.
     Pate Sucree is short dough.  Pate sucree has a cookie texture and taste.  Pate sucree is used to make sweet tart shells.  Some tarts are made with pate brisee.  
     Creme Patisserie is pastry cream.  Pastry cream is most often used as a base for the fruit topping on a tart.  Creme anglaise can be used for individual size tarts that will not be sliced.
     Apricot jelly glaze is heated to a syrup consistency and then brushed over the fruit on the tart.  The glaze adds a nice flavor and it keeps the fruit looking good.
     Since this tart was made with Le Cordon Bleu copyrighted recipes, I cannot write the original recipe's measurement for this tart.  Apricot glaze is a canned product.  The glaze must be heated to a syrup consistency, before brushing on the tart.  Pate sucree and creme patisserie recipes are old standardized French recipes that do not change, just like French mother sauces are always made the same exact way every time.  When an executive pastry chef asks for pastry cream, a pastry chef must make a standard recipe and not a creation of personal tastes.  Refer to Larousse Gastronomique or Escoffier cook books for good standardized recipes. 
     I have made thousands of tarts like this one in my lifetime.  The trick to designing the fruit topping is to keep in mind that the tart must look good enough to be sold.  Fruit that is cut in gimmicky ways will result in a gimmicky looking tart!  Use tasteful ways of slicing fruit and the tart will look tastefully elegant!  It is best to start placing the fruit around the border of a tart and work your way to the center of the tart.  With odd shaped fruits like strawberries, the tips of the fruit should point outward from the center.  Small spaces between the odd shaped fruit, where small amounts of the pastry cream can be seen, are best filled in with berries.  The berries then become part of the pattern.
     Fruit tarts have a refrigerated shelf life of only 2 to 3 days.  Even though the fruit is brushed with glaze, the fruit will decompose by nature under the glaze.  Large tarts like the one in the pictures are best for a large party of guests.  Smaller individual size tarts are best if only are few servings are needed.
     The fruits that topped this tart were fresh pineapple, strawberry, mandarin orange, blackberry, blueberry and kiwi.  Fresh fruits make the best fruit tarts!
     I'll post a tart recipe in this blog sometime soon.  Desserts are something that I am good at making, but desserts are not good for me.  I control my borderline diabetes with my diet.  I practically eat no sweets!  In fact, I have given away all the dessert items that I have made at chef school.  That doesn't make me happy, but my friends are overjoyed!  Yum!  ...  Shawna         

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