Tag Archives: pastry cream

Summer Fruit Tart


Summer is here in Brooklyn, and in expensive, delicious fresh fruit is in abundance (unlike when I lived in California where this is the norm!) My cousin visited us recently, and I made a Summer Fruit Tart for the occasion. They were impressed, but it is a pretty simple dessert to make. The key for me is to do it in steps over a couple of days. I made the dough on Thursday, the pastry cream on Friday, and baked and assembled the tart on Saturday right before our guests arrived.

I’ve made mini fruit tarts in the past, which are fun to do with kids.

For this one, I just made one large crust and filled it with one batch of the pastry cream. For the fruit, I arranged cut strawberries, sliced oranges (I cut off the membranes), kiwi, and blueberries and glazed with thinned apricot jam. Below is the recipe I used with some adjustments.



Pastry Cream (Adapted from Jacques Torres’ Dessert Circus)

2 large eggs

2 large yolks

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (4.5 oz.)

3 tablespoons flour (25 g)

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch (25 g)

2 cups + 1 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

1.  Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until combined.  Make sure there are no lumps.

2.  Heat milk in a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil.

3.  Temper eggs.  Pour a little bit of the heated milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.  Then pour this mixture into the saucepan of milk.  Continuously whisk as it thickens.  After it comes to a boil, cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.

4.  Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with saran wrap gently pressed on top of custard to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Pate Sucre (Sweet Dough) (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour (6 oz.)

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (1.5 oz)

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces

1.  Whisk together egg yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Scatter butter over the flour.  Pulse 15 times.  With machine running, add egg mixture through feed tube.  Process until dough comes together, about 25 seconds.  Shape into disk and wrap with saran.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour

2.  Let stand at room temperature until malleable.  Roll out about 1/4-inch thick.  Cut to fit tart pan.  Press in and prick bottoms with the tines of a fork.  Chill until ready to bake.

3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Fill tart with pie weights (or cover with a piece of aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray and fill with uncooked rice).  Bake about 15- 20 minutes.  Remove weights; bake 10-15 more minutes,  Watch closely – tarts should be golden — don’t let them brown too much.  Let cool on baking rack.  Using a sharp knife, remove shell to rack to cool completely.

Assemble Tart:


1/3 cup jelly (I used apricot jam)

2 teaspoons water

1.  Heat jelly and water together.  Whisk.  Add more water if necessary to get a consistency of thin honey which you can easily brush on fruit with a pastry brush. If your preserves are lumpy, pass through a strainer.

2.  Cut fruit into slices.  Wash and dry berries.

3.  Fill tart shells with pastry cream.  Make a design on top using fruit.  Brush on jelly glaze with a pastry brush.





Filed under Desserts

Kahlua Tiramisu

2012 is getting off to a shaky start.  I’m still suffering from my thumb injury.  Thankfully I can still draw and paint and use the computer, but it’s a little hard to take photos.

It’s believed I had either osteoarthritis in the joint from before (so it’s probably not entirely the fault of the pesky gum paste) or I strained the muscles around the joint or a combination of both.  I’m still trying to use my left hand as much as possible these days.

I made this Kahlua Tiramisu pre-injury and have been meaning to do a post about  it.

Here is a better view of the layers.

The thing I love about this particular recipe is that it doesn’t include raw egg  like a traditional tiramisu.  It’s a little more work because it’s made up of zabaglione, pastry cream, and mascarpone, but it is so worth it.  You can make it with Marsala wine or rum, but I love Kahlua, and I still have two bottles from my duty-free bounty.

My precious

I made  this recipe last month for a dinner that got postponed due to illness.  Because of the holidays and travel, we weren’t able to get together again until this past weekend.  I had already made the Tiramisu before the dinner was postponed, so the wonderful thing is that I was able to freeze it for this long!  I thawed it in the refrigerator for four hours before bringing it to our friends’ house.  I have to say that it still tasted great, and the texture was perfect.  So if you need to make a dessert for a special occasion several days or more in advance, I highly recommend this one!  The Tiramisu actually tastes better the next day in general, so if you don’t freeze it, try to make it the day before the event.

I found the original recipe at thedaringkitchen.com and changed some of the amounts, used store bought lady fingers and mascarpone (their amazing version called for home-made and they have  instructions if you are so inclined…)  Usually a package of 7.7 oz. lady fingers contain 24 fingers.  The original recipe calls for 36, so I adjusted the amounts for a 24 lady finger tiramisu.

Kahlua Tiramisu

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup Kahlua
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:

¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup whole milk

For the whipped cream:
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:

1 1/2 cups strong coffee, warmed
3/4 teaspoon Kahlua
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
24 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits

1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

For the zabaglione:

Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.

In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Kahlua, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.

Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.

Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:

Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.

Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.

Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)

Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:

Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

Three fillings: pastry cream, whipped cream, and zabiglione

To assemble the tiramisu:

Mix together the warm espresso, Kahlua and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream.  Set this cream mixture aside.


Working quickly, dip the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to a square baking dish, placing them side by side. You may have to break a lady finger into two to fit them all in to the baking dish in one layer.

I placed the dry lady fingers in the pan first to get an idea of how they would fit in after soaking.

Working quickly, I did three at a time, then placed them in the pan.

Spoon one-half of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.

Repeat to create another layer, using 12 more ladyfingers and the cream mixture for the top layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

Dust with cocoa right before serving.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder. Cut into individual portions and serve.

Serves 8.


Filed under Desserts

Kahlua Chocolate Cream Pie

My recent dilemma:  Hot summer days + loads of work + minimal child care + entertaining guests.

My solution:  Have a grill (i.e. husband does the cooking) and serve a pre-made  dessert that requires minimal stove/oven time on my part.

Since we are chocolate fiends, whenever I make a special dessert, it invariably has chocolate in it (even with the abundance of gorgeous seasonal fruit these days)!   I also still have two large bottles of Kahlua that I got duty free last summer, so I infused this dessert with said liquor.

The Chocolate Kahlua Cream Pie is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe for Rich Chocolate Pudding Pie.  It’s “light” in that the filling is not made with heavy cream and a ton of egg yolks, like a typical custard.  Cornstarch is the thickening agent that gives the milk its pudding consistency.   This pie is fantastic and doesn’t taste light at all.

I changed the original recipe by making a Reduced Fat Oreo cookie crust (I couldn’t find plain chocolate wafers at the store), which is just processed cookies mixed with melted butter, pressed into a pie pan and baked for ten minutes.  Easy peasy!

I also added Kahlua to the filling and dusted the pie with unsweetened cocoa powder and served it with homemade whipped cream also flavored with a bit of Kahlua.

If you love chocolate and Kahlua as much as I do, you will love this pie. 🙂

Kahlua Chocolate Cream Pie

16 Reduced Fat Oreo cookies

4 tablespoons melted butter


¾ cup sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ cups 1% low-fat milk, divided

2 large egg yolks

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons Kahlua

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon Kahlua

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

  1. Process Oreos in processor until finely ground.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Drizzle melted butter on top and mix to incorporate.  Pour mixture into pie dish and spread out.  Put a sheet of saran wrap over mixture and press out to edges to form a crust.  Chill for about 10 to 15 minutes while preheating oven to 350.
  2. Bake crust for 10 minutes.  Cool completely.
  3. To prepare filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt in a large saucepan;  stir with a whisk.  Add half of milk and 2 yolks; stir with a whisk until smooth.  Stir in the remaining milk.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth.  Stir in Kahlua.  Pour filling into prepared crust.   Cover with saran; chill 4 hours until set.
  4. To make topping, whip cream on high in the bowl of a cold stand mixer just before stiff peaks form.  Add sugar and Kahlua and whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overwhip.
  5. Just before serving pie, cover with whipped topping and garnish with cocoa powder sifted on top.

Makes about 8-10 servings.


Filed under Desserts