Sometimes when you read a recipe in a magazine you’re immediately propelled into the kitchen, pulling pots, pans and ingredients as you navigate the recipe. A recent article in Bon Appetit did that to me. It was for a crustless custard tart served with fresh fruit and a dab of whipped cream on the side.
I ditched the whipped cream — it wasn’t needed at all.
I didn’t have a 9″ cake pan so used a 9″ springform instead.
I put a baking sheet UNDER the springform when it went into the oven. That step saved me running the oven cleaner more often than I already do.
I adjusted the amount of cornstarch the original recipe called for. Too much overwhelms the taste of the eggy custard.
AND — I didn’t refrigerate the tart after it cooled. The refrigeration gives the custard a sandy texture, and if you keep your house at a temperature in the mid-70s, it’ll survive. Besides, there won’t be much left after the first taste!
PS: Since the recipe was written for an American audience, I’ve used American measurements, much to my chagrin!
Consider this Tart your Stairway to Heaven!
Mise en Place:
Dab of soft butter
3/4 cup sugar plus
1 tablespoon for dusting pan plus
2 tablespoons sugar for fruit
8 egg yolks (always large eggs. Never use extra large. Waste of money! Save the egg whites and freeze them for making meringue.)
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
1 pound peaches, cut into wedges, plus blueberries or blackberries
UTENSILS AND TOOLS:
Measuring cups and spoons
9-inch springform or cake pan
Butter: Butter a 9-inch cake or springform pan on the bottom and sides. Cut a piece of parchment to cover the bottom of the pan and press it until it lays evenly on the bottom.
Extra Sugar: Dust the pan with the extra sugar. Tip out any excess.
Egg Yolks, Eggs, Cornstarch, Salt, Sugar: Add all to the saucepan and stir until mixed. Whisk it vigorously until the color becomes light yellow, 3-4 minutes.
Milk. Cream. Vanilla: Still whisking, slowly stream in the milk, followed by the cream then the vanilla.
Place saucepan over medium heat and continuously whisk for about 8-10 minutes as the custard thickens. You’ll start to feel the pull on the whisk as it thickens. Don’t stop until the whisk leaves streaks on the top of the mixture. DO NOT over heat or bring to a boil or the custard will split and look like oatmeal. If this starts to happen, take the saucepan off the heat and whisk harder to cool it down. When done, let the custard cool slightly.
Now for the tricky part, and you may need a helper: Use a rubber spatula to press the custard through a fine-mesh sieve and into the prepared pan. Smooth it out with the spatula then put into the refrigerator for 20 minutes. DO NOT cover the custard.
Place a baking tray into the oven and preheat oven to 400 F. Bake the custard until the top is browned in spots. This should take about 40-50 minutes. The custard will be wobbly in the middle and crispy around the edges.
While the custard is baking, de-stone the peaches and cut into wedges. Toss all the fruit with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
Remove the custard from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Run a knife along the outer edges to loosen the custard. Place a dish on top of the custard and invert the pan, putting the custard onto the plate. Remove the parchment and do the same thing by placing a serving plate over the custard and inverting it again.
Let the custard cool further.
Slice and serve with the fruit scattered on top.