Raspberry Tarts with Cinnamon Crème Pâtissière
Confession: I’m woefully unfamiliar with the cuisine and cooking techniques of France. (The language is a mystery to me as well–if you heard me attempting to pronounce certain French words, you’d first laugh out loud and then struggle to decipher my gibberish!) I do know that they like their small portions and fruity desserts, however, so in trying to create a French-themed dessert, dainty little tarts filled with cinnamon-flavored crème pâtissière and topped with fresh raspberries came to mind.
These tarts have many positive attributes. First, they’re the perfect size for a light but satisfying dessert. If you don’t have itty-bitty tart tins, I’m sure a regular-sized one cut into reasonable pieces would work just as well. Secondly, they’re elegant–the pillow-like fluffiness of the crème just looks impressive and classy. Finally, and arguably most importantly, they taste magnificent. The combination of smooth, rich crème, buttery crust, and juicy fruit makes each bite sensational.
Go ahead and say it (whether your pronunciation is flawless or atrocious)–c’est magnifique!
Yields: 6 servings
- 1¼ cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- To make the dough, blend the flour, sugar and salt with the cubes of butter using a food processor until it resembles fine crumbs.
- Add the egg yolk and pulse gently until the pastry comes together. If the pastry is not binding properly, your egg yolk may not have been big enough, so add a little water or milk, a teaspoon at a time until it does come together.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to fit your tart tins. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and put it buttered side down on each pastry, then bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until nicely browned.
- To make the creme, first mix the sugar and egg yolks together.
- Sift the flour, cornstarch, and cinnamon together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the milk just to boiling. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
- Then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another minute or so, until it becomes thick.
- Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the vanilla. Pour (or strain, if lumps are present) into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature.
- Pour into cooled tart shells and chill before serving. Top with fruit of choice.