A semi fourth of July inspired dessert

Another day brings to you and to us, more food to make and more food to talk about. So like usual I was at work, thinking about what decadent delicacies I could devour, (do I get points for alliteration?) and I thought I want to make fruit tarts, I had made that fantastic strawberry jam the other night and I was craving making something with it.  Of course upon telling Jenni I wanted to make Fruit Tarts she said we could make them Fourth of July themed, (which is just like her and her teacher brain, and yes teachers have specially functioning brains that make them want to create holidays treats for every occasion.) (side note: as I read her this paragraph for proofing, she exclaims in a most Jenni like manner, imagine a high pitched happy voice, about a recipe for halloween themed spider sandwiches)

So, I searched the internet for a simple recipe we could put together when I got off of work at 10pm, managing to find one that pretty much kept with Jenni’s Vegan lifestyle, with the exception of butter (we couldn’t find vegan butter at Walmart at 11pm). 

We found two different recipes and ending up going with the one that Jenni found here http://serenae.com/2010/08/10/last-minute-vegan-fruit-tart/

SHORTBREAD CRUST:

  • 1/2 cup (112g) non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, at room temperature3
  • 1/4 cup (25g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp ice water

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease the pie pan with canola oil or nondairy butter. I usedthis 9″ tart pan, but any similarly sized pie dish or square casserole dish will do. Use tartlet pans or even a muffin pan if you want to make cute little tartlets.

In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. (If you have an electric mixer, use it. If not, a spoon employed vigorously for several minutes is also sufficient. My mixture was creamy–rather than fluffy–and still turned out fine.)

Add the flour a third at a time and beat until the dough just comes together. If your dough, like mine, doesn’t just “come together”, stir in ice water one tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to form a loose ball. It’s okay if it’s still a little crumbly.

Press the mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. (If you are making tartlets, be sure that you spread the dough quite thin in the tartlet pans or muffin tin, as it will puff up when baking.) Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Bake time will vary depending on your oven. Mine took about 35 minutes, so start out with 20 and check every 5-10 minutes after that. Remove from the oven and place somewhere to cool.

PASTRY CREAM (CUSTARD):

  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (16g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp (32g) cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) water
  • 1 1/3 cups (315mL) nondairy milk (I used rice milk, but soy milk is obviously fine, too)
  • 2 tsp vanilla or lemon extract (I used vanilla)

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and water on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. (Again, I just used a fork for about 4 minutes, adding the ingredients one at a time.) Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Pour about 1/3 cup (80mL) of the hot milk into the sugar mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. This doesn’t have to be precise; just make sure the sugar mixture is a little liquid-y. Pour this sugar-milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Return to the stove and heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. This is important! Don’t stop whisking for anything, not even zombies or kittens! It will begin to thicken immediately. (They’re not kidding. It only takes about a minute or two, if that, for the cream to thicken sufficiently.)

Scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as you whisk. Cook until it begins to bubble, then whisk as vigorously as you can for 30 seconds, and remove from heat. (Mine never bubbled. If yours doesn’t either, just remove from heat when it seems about as thick as your average chocolate pudding.) Stir in the vanilla/lemon extract.

Your pie crust should be baked and ready, so go ahead and pour the cream into the crust right away, smoothing it flat with a rubber spatula or large spoon. It doesn’t have to be perfect, since the fruit will be covering it anyway. Be sure to put your fruit on top immediately, before the pastry cream sets.

If your crust isn’t ready yet, you can store the pastry cream (covered) in the fridge for up to 3 days.

TOPPING:

  • 3-4 tbsp (80g) jelly, jam or preserves (I used apricot jam. Peach is also good.)
  • 2 1/2 cups fruit, sliced (I used about 1 1/2 cups of strawberries, 1 kiwi, 7 blackberries, and a handful of blueberries)

Clever humor throughout the recipe is thanks to the original poster, I can only wish to be so witty.  Also instead of soy or rice milk we used vanilla almond milk, which was quite frankly way too sweet. We also made a strawberry glaze from my home made jam.

All in all I enjoyed the taste, the pasty came out flaky and not too sweet, the fruit was fresh and the right amount of bitter and sweet, I wasn’t the biggest of the custard (I sort of despise Almond Milk but that is what Jenni had and I wasn’t going to buy regular milk for such a small recipe).

I give it a B-

Jenni gives it an AWESOME. 

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