Ok so I may be tooting my own horn a little here, but after numerous trials and even more numerous errors, I think I’ve figured out the easiest and most effective ways to make the perfect tart crust, the yummiest custard filling, and how to cut the fruits in order to achieve the pictured “petal” effect. Granted this is obviously still a relatively time consuming recipe (I’d say about 2 hours max), but the results are so worth it. My recipe makes a 9-inch tart which will easily feed 10 or more people, a perfect summer party dessert or a gift for the host. The tart crust and custard can both keep for >3days in the fridge so feel free to double or triple the recipe to make more!
TART CRUST (no rolling pin or pie weights required!)
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1. Place the butter, water, sugar and oil in a small pot over medium heat and slowly stir and melt everything together.
2. Once the mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat and add the flour.
3. Stir and combine until the whole mixture becomes a dough ball and doesn’t stick to the side of the pot.
4. Remove dough and let it cool down till it’s a comfortable temperature to handle.
5. Grease the bottom of your 9-inch tart pan, then pat and press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan until it’s an even layer. Then prick a bunch of small holes in the bottom of the tart with a fork, and use the edges of the fork to press the sides more firmly to the pan.
6. Bake in a 200 degree celsius for 15 minutes until golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing pan.
VANILLA BEAN CUSTARD
300ml of whole fat milk
1/2 a vanilla bean pod
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1. In a big bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together till it’s a buttercup yellow paste.
2. Sift in the flour and corn starch and continue mixing till smooth.
3. In the mean time, add the milk to a small pot, then scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk and throw the rest of the pod in. Bring milk just to boiling point, all the while stirring to prevent the bottom from burning.
4. Remove the vanilla bean pod, then add the hot milk slowly into the egg and flour mixture, whisking continuously to prevent the egg from curdling.
5. Now add this entire mixture back into the pot over medium low heat, stirring continuously as it cooks. I can’t emphasize how important the “continuously” part is! If you stop whisking for even a moment clumps will start to form. Good thing is this only takes a couple minutes.
6. As soon as the mixture thickens to a custard consistency (it’s easy to tell because it suddenly becomes hard to whisk), remove from heat and stir for another 30 seconds.
7. Transfer to a bowl, place heat proof cling film directly over the surface of the custard (touching the top) and place in fridge to cool down. The cling film will prevent the surface from forming a layer.
8. Once the custard and tart crust have both cooled sufficiently, pour custard into the tart evenly.
CUTTING AND ARRANGING FRUIT TOPPINGS
Literally any fruit you throw on at this point will be yummy! But for the mango and strawberry flower petals effect above, here’s how I did it:
ROSE PETAL SHAPED MANGO (2 big ones for 1 9-inch tart)
1. Cut off the 2 meaty parts of the mango, i.e. hold the mango vertically upright, and cut the 2 sides of the mango off.
2. Peel of the skin, so now you should have 2 big rounded pieces of mango.
3. Cut width-wise into 1 cm thick half-moon shaped pieces.
4. Start arranging from the center of the tart. Curl one bigger piece into a roll, place in center. Then surround it with the smallest half-moon shaped pieces.
5. Keep arranging in concentric circles, with the pieces getting bigger as your reach the edge of the tart.
STRAWBERRY RAYS (the more strawberries the merrier!)
1. Cut off tops of strawberries, then slice into 0.5cm thick slices.
2. For this type of layering, it’s easier to start from the edge of the tart. Using your biggest strawberry slices, arrange all around the edge.
3. For the next layer, arrange the strawberry slice such that the pointy tip lies in between the previous layer’s strawberries.
4. Continue doing so (alternate the pointy tips) until you reach the middle, saving the smaller slices for closer to the center.
5. For the center, feel free to pile on more strawberries, or in this case some blueberries for a center “eye” of the flower.
Making and eating these fruit tarts brings me and my loved ones instant summery joy! I hope you’ll give this recipe a try and please hashtag #xoxofei on social media if you do give it a go. I’d love to see your creations!