This recipe is a great, simple and versatile way to finish any meal. In the cold months, stud the lemony pastry cream with winter fruits like cranberry, pear, persimmons, kiwi, mandarin and clementine oranges. In the warm months, layer this tart with beautiful fresh berries, apricots, lychee and plums. There are so many incredible fruits to choose from, just head over to your local farmer’s market and pick the brightest, most intriguing combinations for your dessert. This is beautiful served on a platter, centre stage on a dessert buffet or can be miniaturized for a nice touch at your next dinner party!
serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 sheets frozen puff pastry (thawed to the manufacturer’s instructions)
1 large egg (lightly beaten with 1 tbsp water)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 cups milk
1 vanilla pod (scraped) or 2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs (beaten)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Fresh fruit for garnish
1 jar of apricot jam or glaze
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay full puff pastry sheet flat on the prepared baking sheet. Lay 1/2 sheet on a cutting board and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Using a sharp knife, cut 1 inch bands from the 1/2 sheet to create a border along each side of the full sheet.
Using a paint brush, brush the full sheet of puff pastry with egg mixture.
Carefully stick the border pieces to the full sheet so the tart resembles a picture frame.
Brush the border pieces with remaining egg wash.
Sprinkle the sugar over the borders. Bake the tart on the middle rack of the over until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Let tart shell cool on a wire rack. Once cool transfer to a beautiful platter and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium heavy bottom pot, scald milk, lemon zest and vanilla. Be careful not to boil milk.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour and salt.
While whisking continuously, pour the hot milk over the egg mixture in a steady stream until completely incorporated, whisk mixture well and scrape mixture back to the pot.
Over low medium heat, whisk mixture continuously until the liquid starts to thicken. The mixture with thicken very quickly once it starts to simmer.
Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a clean mixing bowl. Whisk in the butter.
Let the custard cool for about 30 minutes or until not so scalding hot, whisking occasionally to releases steam.
Pour the prepared custard into the cooled tart shell and immediately arrange your chosen fruit on the pastry cream.
Heat a tablespoon or two of apricot jam with a bit of water in a microwaveable bowl to achieve a runny consistency. Brush the tart from border to border with the glaze.
Refrigerate the tart for 4 hours or overnight to set the custard.