I have been known, a time or two, to give into a severe craving and make a beeline to the closest bakery available. It's usually late at night when, as much as I love to bake, can't quite convince myself that an hour of creating and a sink full of dishes is going to satisfy, and reward, my efforts.
One market I frequent always seems to have desserts on the higher end- you know, not just cream pies and spray painted confections. Quite honestly, here in the Arizona summers, a creme pie sounds less than appealing. If anything, nauseating.
One of the items I have tried and liked at that market was a fruit tart made with a pastry crust brushed in chocolate, a vanilla cream, and fresh fruit. While it was refreshing, some off the things I didn't care for was the heavy dose of sugar on the pastry- a huge crunch in every bite- and the glaze of unknown origin on the fruit itself. Oh, and the the $16.99 price tag was just a tad on the "don't you dare tell hubby you spent this much" side... Who, me..?
Thank goodness last week when the craving for this fruit tart hit, it was early enough in the day for me to think of how to recreate it more to my liking. While the recipe was inspired by my local Safeway bakery, the recipe I created on my own. A flaky puff pastry, spread with a premium dark chocolate, a thin layer of decadent pastry cream, with the best of the seasons fruit crowning the top.
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
1 recipe Pastry cream (recipe to follow main recipe)
3 oz dark (bittersweet) chocolate, melted- I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao
2 c strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 whole kiwi's, peeled, sliced down center and sliced into 1/2 circles
1/2 c blackberries
1/2 c blueberries
1/2 cup seedless blackberry preserves, heated in microwave for 15-20 seconds with 1 tsp of water
Place a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom onto a baking sheet. Carefully drape puff pastry into pan, cutting off excess at top. Dock the bottom of pastry. Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 400F, until pastry has risen slightly and is flaky. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
With an offset spatula, spread melted dark chocolate to within an inch of edge of pastry. Let cool.
Again with offset spatula, cover cooled chocolate with cooled pastry cream (recipe below).
In a decorative pattern, place sliced fruit on top of pastry. Brush fruit with blackberry preserves. Chill completely in refrigerator before serving. Serves 6 to 8.
1 c whole milk
1/4 c sugar
1/2 of a vanilla bean, split down center
3 egg yolks
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
In a small bowl combine the egg yolks and half of the sugar and whisk until the mixture turns a light yellow. Then add the flour and salt, mixing well. Set aside.
In a 2 qt saucepan place other half of the sugar, milk and vanilla bean on medium heat. When mixture begins to simmer well, take off of heat and carefully remove vanilla bean (dry and save for another use, such as vanilla sugar).
Very carefully and slowly add a small amount, about a cup, of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, constantly stirring, to temper the eggs making sure not to scramble. Once combined, add egg and milk mixture back to the pan over medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly, making sure nothing sticks to bottom of pan. Bring mixture to the boil for about one minute, until mixture thickens. Turn off heat and add butter.
Place into a shallow pan to cool and cover with saran wrap so that a skin does not form.