I made a tart!
Two, actually. One for a dinner party, and one the next night with the leftover single batch (I made a double batch just in case I had time to make two for the girls coming over…hope springs eternal).
Photo evidence that you don’t actually need a tart pan to make tarts. Obviously it would look a lot prettier with the fluted edges of a tart pan, but like my cooking aficionado cousin, I’m always reluctant to buy single-use pans. So I made the first tart in a shallow 9×11 pan that I often use for cornbread, square cakes, or small batches of cookies, and another in a borrowed 9×9 pan that…I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to be used for!
The first tart didn’t quite go as planned. It turned out to be a good thing I didn’t make both batches on the same night.
For the first tart, I only had almond milk (Almond Breeze unsweetened, vanilla flavored, to be specific) on hand and tried making custard with that (the same super-easy custard I used here).
The next day, I found this awesome explanation/exploration of why almond milk is like the worst thing ever to use for custard.
Too late. I knew something was wrong when the milk/cornstarch/sugar/egg yolk mixture kept exploding in the microwave yet was refusing to thicken. When it finally did, it was riddled with lumps and bumps of cornstarch–some of them floury and some of them strangely gelled and cooked, like tapioca. There’s something about the watery nature of almond milk and the almond pulp that isn’t conducive to transforming into creamy, smooth custard.
At least my friends still thought it was delicious.
The next night, I used 2% milk and the custard was much better, much less lumpy. Still, I think using 1/4 cup of heavy cream at the least will yield the best results. For the crust, I used Smitten Kitchen’s unshrinkable sweet tart shell. And it was great!
But uh…it shrank! Not sure why. Ah, well. At least this time around, the bottom didn’t crack. My lovely friend Lilly with the tart:
IT WAS BITCHIN!
NOTES: I don’t why it’s so difficult for me to read and comprehend recipes all the way through before making them, but if you share this problem, know this: it requires two hours of chilling time and you must freeze it for 30 minutes before baking. Otherwise the crust will poof and you will need to use pie weights.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used all white whole wheat and it had a nice rustic crunch to it)
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8-9* tablespoons of very cold unsalted butter, grated or cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
*8-9 depending on how bad you want that extra tablespoon. Enough to cut into another stick of butter for one tiny tablespoon? I used 8 tablespoons, or one stick, even though the original called for 9.
For directions, it’s best to probably read the original.
Easiest pastry cream/custard:
NOTES: use at least 1/4 cup whipping cream for best results. Use cow’s milk for the rest of the milk if possible, but if not, soy milk is the next best alternative. If you have a sifter, sift the cornstarch into the milk. Otherwise, be careful to mix the cornstarch into the milk extremely well–and you still might have to smash down some lumps with a spoon.
I made this tart twice, once in a shallow 9×11 pan and once in a deeper 9×9 pan. I found that this entire custard recipe was about right for the 9×11 pan, and half this recipe was perfect for the 9×9 pan. If you use a 9″ round pan for the tart crust the way Smitten Kitchen recommends, I would halve this recipe. Unless, of course, you want extra pudding on hand.
- 2-3/4 cups milk (I use 2-1/2 cups nonfat milk + 1/4 cup whipping cream but any type will work)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add milk/cream, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks, (in that order) to bowl. Whisk until blended and pour into 2-quart glass microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 6 minutes on HIGH, whisking until smooth after 3 minutes, then every minute thereafter. (At minute five, magic should start to happen)
- Add butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Pour custard mixture into a cooled tart shell and smooth around until flat. Wash and dry raspberries (or strawberries or blueberries or kiwis, etc.) and arrange fruit on top of custard. Sift powdered sugar over the top for an extra classy effect.