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January 20, 2019

Creme Patissiere Tart with red currents and Pistachio Praline

Posted on December 12, 2016 by in baked goods

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creme patissiere

Creme Patissiere, or in short crème pat‘, is a rich, creamy custard thickened with flour. It is used in donuts, eclairs and tarts, as I am going to do today.


Making Creme Patissiere is one of those kitchen basics that you just have to master. Like knife skills, measure correctly or kneading. Yet, so many people steer away from making it. Maybe it is because it is such a delicate operation, because a temperature increase of 3–6 °C (5–10 °F) leads to overcooking and curdling. Generally, a fully cooked custard should not exceed 80 °C (176 °F); it begins setting at 70 °C (158 °F). A water bath slows heat transfer and makes it easier to remove the custard from the oven before it curdles.

All this sounds very technical, but trust me the finger-on-the-back-end-of-the-wooden-spoon method has never failed me and it will certainly not fail you.

creme patissiere

There are however few things are velvety and rich as a properly made vanilla Creme Patissiere. Crème pat is used as the basis for ice-creams and that gave me an idea for a tart. I wanted to keep the tart basic to feature the delicious EcoFresh Full Cream milk from Faircape. What took this tart to the next level, was the frozen red currants and the pistachio praline. One mouthful was the perfect balance between salty, sweet, bitter, sour, creamy, crunchy. I can go on forever, it was that good.

Before you start reading and get despondent, just remember that all these elements can be made in advance and stored.

creme patissiere

Creme Patissiere, tart with frozen red currents and Pistachio Praline

makes 1 round or rectangular tart

Ingredients

Pastry (recipe by Theresa de Vries)

200g flour

pinch of salt

100 g butter – cut in small cubes

45 – 60 ml ice water

Method

Sieve flour and salt in a bowl. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water a little at a time, just until the pastry comes together. Shape into a ball, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes ( overnight is better).

Preheat oven to 180 C. Roll out one batch of pastry on a lightly floured surface. Spray a pie dish with Spray n Cook and line the dish with the pastry. Make sure that the pastry hangs slightly over the edges of the dish. You can cut it off after baking, it is just to safe-guard you against pastry shrinking away from the edges.  Use a fork to prick the base of the pastry case. Line the tart tin with baking paper and fill with dry rice or beans. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is firm, then remove the rice or beans and cook for about 5 minutes more. The pastry case must be golden brown and biscuity.

creme patissiere

For the Creme Patissiere

Ingredients

3 large egg yolks
75 ml (65g) granulated sugar
25 ml (15g) flour
25 ml (15g) Mazeina or cornstarch
300 ml Faircape EcoFresh Full Cream milk
5 ml vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded

500 ml Hillcrest Frozen Red Currents or any other summer berry will do

Method

Whisk together egg yolks and sugar just until pale yellow and creamy, then gradually add the cornstarch and flour. Set aside.
In a pot, heat milk, vanilla pod, and vanilla seeds on medium heat just to a boil. Remove from heat and remove vanilla bean. Gradually add the hot milk to the egg mixture while you are whisking constantly.
Transfer mixture back to the pot. Cook over medium heat. To prevent the eggs from curdling, you have to whisk constantly and vigorously. Do this until the mixture thickens. Remove the creme pat from heat and transfer to a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a ‘skin’ forming. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.

For the pistachio Praline

Ingredients

125 g raw shelled pistachios
125 g sugar
30 ml water

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Set aside.

Dry roast the pistachios in a pan until golden in color and you can smell their nuttiness.
Watch them carefully, they burn very quickly. Scatter the nuts on the lined baking sheet.

Heat the sugar and water, in a small pot, over low heat. Bring to the boil and let the syrup boil. DO NOT STIR AT ALL. The syrup will take time to caramelize but once it starts to colour, it happens very quickly so be alert and hands-on. What you want is a rich golden color.

Pour the caramel over the pistachios, allow to harden and then crush in a food processor with a rolling pin. The praline keeps in a jar for quite some time. It is delicious on ice-cream and even a latté!

To assemble the tart

Place your pastry case on a pretty plate, fill with the Creme Patissiere and top with the frozen red currants, a little sugar sprinkled over the berries and just before serving the pistachio praline.

Eat and enjoy in one sitting.

creme patissiere

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