Cherry Custard Tart!

I confess this is an experiment. I long to make cherry cafloutis and have not been successful. I think it is the texture that is foreign to this mid-American palate of mine! And ever since I watched all of the BBC series As Time Goes By I have urges to make Custard Tarts which were Lionel’s favorite teatime treat.

The weather cooled off sufficiently for me to want to turn on the oven. What to bake? I dream of biscuits, cakes, pies…and custard tarts! I have a pie dough circle in the freezer and get that out to thaw. I go through my French Feasts cookbook looking for custard. There are lots to choose from. Questions flood my brain: do I pre-bake the crust? which custard cream can be baked? do I bake the cream in the crust? Should I make the whole recipe or half. I see that I and the son have marked the recipes on Page 456 with the amounts for half recipes.

I chose the creme patissiere (pastry cream). I chose to prebake the crust and possibly bake it again with the cream filling. I do not spend any time researching what to do through cookbooks or the internet. I roll out the crust and try to fit it to an 8 inch spring form pan. This was my first mistake: I should have used a regular 9 inch pyrex pie pan. Who knew?

I also decide to make a topping using canned tart cherries. I “melt” 1/2 cup apricot jam in a small sauce pan and add 1/2 can of cherries. Bring to boil and stir.

20160911_215721278_iosFor the “creme pat”:

  • 4 cups milk; I make this with 2 cups half-and-half and 2 cups water. The only milk I have in the house is almond milk and that has very little fat in it.
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter

Whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar until pale. I don’t think mine got to pale. I used a hand whisk and not the mixer. I add about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to add some flavor. Meanwhile put the milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the butter. And scald. To this I added the zest of one lemon to augment the custard for the cherries. Add a little of the scalded milk to the egg mixture and then return to the saucepan whisking constantly while adding. I then remembered to add 2/3 cup sifted flour to the egg mixture before I had added it all to the milk. I got that sorted out and this mixture gets cooked gently for 10 minutes. I whisked it a lot of that time to be sure it would be smooth. It came out nicely. I have too much pastry  cream for the little crust I had formed.

I baked the crust for 10 minutes with lid used for the baking blind. I have to get me some of those “baking stones” soon! Ugly, ugly, ugly! And not so crisp. The sides shrunk down as well. I have very little success pre-baking pie crusts. I put it back in the oven for 5 minutes without the lid in it. Now it looks a bit browner. Maybe it is okay. I decide at this time to just add the pastry cream and chill.

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The mistakes I made:

  1. not properly shaping and pre-baking the pie crust in the proper pan. This is not a short crust but a flaky crust that most of us Americans use for all pies.
  2. making too much pastry cream and not letting it cool before filling the pie crust.
  3. not cooking down the jam and cherries long enough to make a thicker sauce.

But how does it taste? Let’s find out.

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Nice flavors. The custard was loose. Perhaps more time in the refrigerator will set it better. I will find out tomorrow. The crust was nicely colored and crisp on the bottom. Good bake! I have lots of pastry cream leftover so cream puffs may be on the menu this week!

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3 thoughts on “Cherry Custard Tart!

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