1.5 cups flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
TOTAL 13 eggs
2 egg yolks for pastry
8-10 egg yolks for cream
1 egg for sealing pastry
1 litre full fat milk
zest of two lemons
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean seeds
60g cornflour (80g if you want a cream that is more solid and can survive a super hot climate)
Fruit to top
- Start with the pastry. Preheat your oven to 180C. Mix flour with sugar and salt.
- Rub in the butter until the texture is roughly even as shown in the video.
- Mix in two egg yolks then bring the dough together with your hands into a ball. (If it is too dry, add a spoonful of chilled water.)
- Roll between two sheets of baking paper and transfer into a tart tin.
- Put the tart shell in the freezer to firm up.
- Now let’s start the pastry cream or crema pasticcera. Pour milk into a medium sized pot and add zest of two lemons and a tablespoon of vanilla extract or a teaspoon of vanilla bean seeds.
- Warm the milk on a medium heat to infuse it with the flavours, being careful not to let the milk boil and overflow.
- In a bowl mix 8-10 egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow and frothy.
- Take the milk off the heat and perhaps transfer into another bowl to cool it down a little.
- Sift cornflour into the egg yolks and sugar, mixing well.
- Temper the egg mixture and milk by adding two or three ladles of milk to the eggs one at a time, while whisking. You want to gently incorporate the milk without cooking the eggs by adding hot liquid too fast.
- Put a bowl in the freezer ready to hold your finished cream or custard.
- Once this gentle introduction has been made you can pour the remaining milk into the eggs and return the whole thing to the stove to heat in a large saucepan. You want to whisk or stir rapidly over a medium heat until the cream thickens. Once it gets some body, turn off the heat and stir in two tablespoons of butter.
- Fetch the chilled bowl from the freezer and pour in the hot cream. It should be smooth and velvety so don’t do this step until you’re sure you’ve whisked out any lumps. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge overnight.
- Take the tart from the freezer and layer it with baking paper and some kind of weight like baking beads or dry rice. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes or until it is just seeming cooked on the sides but not golden.
- Remove the baking paper and beads and brush a whisked egg onto every surface of the tart to seal it. Return it to the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until just golden.
- Do not remove it from the tin while hot as it will be too delicate. I like to keep my tart shell in the oven (switched off) so that it is airtight but not taking up room in the fridge.
- The next day, prepare your chosen fruit for decoration (I like to wash and then pat each berry dry on some paper towel so it’s not bringing any water to the tart) and vigorously whisk the cream, which will have set quite firm in the fridge.
- Pipe the cream into your cooled tart and top with fruit. Some people put a glaze but I like to leave mine natural because the cream and the pastry are already quite sweet. I keep the tart in the fridge uncovered until serving time.