tart

Peachs with a twist

Last week my Grandma called me and told me that she had read my entire blog and that all of the recipes were too long. Because they were so long, she said, no one was going to try any of the recipes. I have to admit that at first I was a little offended. Then I started thinking about it and realized that A) that wasn’t neccessarily true, I would try these kinds of recipes and B) if no one tries them then whatever, I guess it’s the general public’s loss, for these recipes are fantastic, tried and true and come from a place of love.

After reviewing all of the recipes contained in this little blog o’ mine I realized that she was only half right. Not all of the recipes are that long. Sure, there are some 3 and 4 part ones in here, but most of the parts are staples that everyone should know anyway!

That said, I’ve been really wanting to find an excuse to make Claudia Flemming’s cream cheese pastry cream. Have I mentioned my love affair with Claudia Flemming’s book The Last Course? I first discovered Claudia and all of her glory during a brief and life changing stint at Gramercy Tavern in NYC. At the tender age of 23 I moved to Manhattan with no idea what the eff I was doing. I was lucky enough (read: knew the right people) to land a job as a frontwaiter at the aformentioned instituition which is Gramercy Tavern. Aside from all of the brilliant people I met, what really happened for me here was the beginning of the rest of my life. It was already clear to me that I loved food and restaurants, but my obsession with ingredients and technique began in the basement bakeshop of Gramercy. At this point, Ms. Flemming had already left, but had returned for a short time as a consultant. I never had much interaction with her, mostly because I was a little intimadated and star struck by here mere presence, but was good friends with all of her assistants and was able to sit and observe for hours at a time, if I so pleased. And yes, I so pleased.

Eventually, NYC got the best of me, but I returned to California with a new love and also Claudia’s now out of print book. It had been a while since I picked up The Last Course, and it’s so funny to me how my perception of this book has changed. When this book first came into my possession I tried so many of the recipes that I eventually got kinda sick of the book and put it on the back burner, so to speak. Just the other day, I picked it back up and haven’t put it down since. It’s so funny to me how now, as a way more seasoned baker/pastry chef/ cook, I look at this book. Some of the recipes that I had never even entertained trying before are yelling at me from the pages, “pick me, pick me!” All in good time, my pretties.

Take for example her recipe for this cream cheese pastry cream. In the book, it’s one component of the Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts with Graham Cracker Crust. What a gorgeous idea, Claudia! But me, I’ve got some sweet tart dough in the fridge and also some super ripe end of the season peaches, so I’m gonna do something a little different. Care to join me? This 3 part recipe is a little long, but is surprisingly quick to throw together.

Peach and/or Fig Mascarpone Tartlettes

Makes 8

Tart Dough:

  • 8 oz butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 2/3 cup all purpose flour

Mascarpone Pastry Cream
adapted from Claudia Flemming’s The Last Course

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) Mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 4 peaches, slices thin or 12 figs, cut into sixths

For the dough:
Combine flour and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing to incorporate. Add vanilla. Turn off mixer (to avoid a huge mess) and add flour all at once and continue mixing until just incorporated. Wrap and chill dough for at least 45 minutes.

To make individual 3″ tart shells: Roll dough on floured surface to 1/8″ thickness. Using a small bowl or large cutter, cut 4 1/2″ circles. Shape into individual tart shells. Remove excess dough with an offset spatula. Using a fork, dock the bottom of the shells and chill in freezer for about 10 minutes. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes, rotating half way through. Cool completley before filling.

For the pastry cream:
Combine 3/4 cup of the milk, the vanilla bean and seeds, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining sugar. Add the remaining 1/4 milk. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add a little of the hot milk to the yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly. Pour the yolk mixture into the hot milk. Return to the stove, whisking constantly and bring to a boil. Allow to cook for a minute or so, until the custard has thickened. Add the cheese and the vanilla and whisk until smooth. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly to the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completley chilled. Whisk until smooth and fold in whipped cream.

To assemble tarts:

Pipe about 3 tablespoons of pastry cream into tart shells. Top with very thinly sliced peaches or quarted figs, shingling to create a fan. Glaze with peach vanilla jam or honey. Refrigerate.

74 Responses to “Peach and/or Fig Mascarpone Cream Tartlettes”

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