Wednesday, July 4, 2012

American Flag Tart (or Fruit Tart)

Happy 4th, y'all!

I really love the 4th of July.  Probably because I love this country.  It is the best country in the world and I'm proud to be an American.  I love our history, the values on which we were founded, and the people who have literally given their lives in order to further their dream for freedom.  We all benefit from their convictions and sacrifice, whether we recognize it or not.

And in my world, when I love something, I translate it into food.

Last year I made a flag cake.  But this year I wanted something a little different.

So I made a flag tart!

Be kind about my tart.  I had a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old as my assistants.
So I took a roll of sugar cookie dough and pressed it into a tart pan.

Look!  The bottom comes out!  It doesn't take much to make me happy.

And then I filled it with this yummy, creamy pastry filling.  Since the pastry filling is the only piece that's actually cooked, I'll show you how I made it.

Put six egg yolks and some sugar in a mixing bowl.  You'll want to use the paddle attachment for this.

Now beat it for a few minutes, and it will turn light yellow and increase in volume.  Amazing that egg yolks and sugar can turn into this!

I have no idea what happened to this picture.  Oops.
Okay, now you'll need the milk that you heated to just below the boiling point.  Pour in the milk with the mixer on low.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl well to combine.

Pour the mixture back into the pot that you heated the milk in.  Cook it over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken.  As soon as it comes to a slow bubble, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla bean paste.

Now pour the pastry cream into a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the mixture - this prevents it from forming a skin.  Refrigerate it while you bake the crust.  Resist the urge to dive in with a spoon.

This stuff will rock your world!

When everything is cool, fill the tart with the pastry cream

and use berries to make it look like a flag! (I only had one container of raspberries...I forgot I was making this tart and fed the other one to my yours will have twice as many berries and be twice as patriotic.)

God bless America!

I had a little bit of pastry cream left over...pour this stuff over berries.

1 lb. roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough

Pastry Cream
Inspired by Barefoot Contessa

6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
2 cups whole milk, heated
3 T butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)


If you are making a flag cake, you will need:
1/2 cup blueberries
2 6 oz. containers fresh raspberries

If you are making a fruit tart, you'll need three cups of a combination of berries, bananas and/or peaches.

Spray a rectangular tart pan (one with a removable bottom) well with nonstick cooking spray.  Press the cookie dough into the pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  You want the dough to be very lightly baked.  Remove and cool to room temp.

For the pastry cream, beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy, light yellow in color and falls back on itself in a ribbon.  Add the cornstarch and combine.  Pour the hot milk into the mixer slowly.  Beat on low speed until combined, scraping the bottom of the mixing bowl.

Pour the mixture back into the pot and cook it over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.  (This takes about 5-7 minutes.)  If the mixture gets too thick, you may need to use a whisk.  Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla paste.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream (this will keep a skin from forming on top of the cream).  Chill completely.  The pastry cream will thicken as it cools.

When the crust is cool and the pastry cream is chilled, pour the pastry cream into the crust (I had about 1/2 cup of pastry cream left over that wouldn't fit into the tart.  Use it to pour on a bowl of fruit.  Yum.).  Top with the fruit in a flag pattern or decorate with any fruit of your choice.

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