Tag Archive for Tart

Gateau de crêpes avec crème au marrons

Pancake pie with chestnut cream, or with a chic name: gateau de crêpes avec crème au marrons. At least, I think so, my French is not that well… This creation was inspired by a n episode of the BBC cooking programme “The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo recipes”, but since the programme is one big horror and all the recipes are a disaster, I made a recipe myself.

This pie works best as dessert, but keep in mind that it is quite heavy. Serve small portions and warn your guests that there will be a dessert. It is quite sturdy and travels well, so you can take it to pick-nicks and pot-lucks without destroying it. Because I don’t add sugar to the crêpes and only a small amount to the crème au marrons, it is not too sweet, the sugar just accentuated the natural sweet taste of the chestnuts. The slightly chewy, delicate taste of the crêpes contrasts nicely with the creamy, nutty and sweet flavour of the cream. The layers make the pie visually attractive as well, and you can even trim all the crêpes to the same size to make it look even more attractive.

It is important to make this cake fresh. If you keep it for a day, it will get soggy, which causes the texture to be slightly rubbery. But of course you can bake the crêpes and make the crème au marrons in advance and assemble the cake at the last moment. I stacked mine in the afternoon and served it in the evening, which was delicious, but the leftovers the next day weren’t…. although with an extra drizzle of cream it was still quite nice.

tarte de crêpes avec crème au marrons

tarte de crêpes avec crème au marrons

Gateau de crêpes avec crème au marrons (8-12 servings)
for the crêpes
150g flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs
200-300 ml milk
butter or oil for baking

for the crème au marrons
250g cooked chestnuts
300-400 ml cream
sugar to taste

Start with making the crêpe batter. Break the eggs in a well in the flour, incorporate them slowly. Add a pinch of salt. Then gradually add the milk, until you have the consistency of cream. Crêpe batter is quite thin, to be able to make nice and thin crêpes. Leave the batter to rest for half an hour.
Meanwhile, start up the crème au marrons. Put everything together in a pan, simmer uncovered until the chestnuts are soft.
Then bake the crêpes: in a hot pan with a little bit of butter with just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan. If using more than one pan, use 2 of similar size or trim the crêpes Afterwards to the same size.
Now the crème au marrons will probably be ready. Mash the chestnuts with a fork, then blend them to get a smooth texture. It will get thicker when cool, so add a little extra cream to loosen the mixture up, if necessary, for a spreadable consistency.
Leave everything to cool, then assemble the gateau. Start with a crêpe, spread a thin layer of crème au marrons on top and cover with another crêpe. Then spread a thin layer of crème au marrons on top, etc…. Keep stacking until everything is used (it might be that you have some crêpes left), ending with a crêpe. Make sure you make even layers and don’t push them down too much, otherwise the gateau will be crooked. Also, be careful with cutting, after all that careful stacking you wouldn’t want the whole thing to collapse. You can serve it as it is, or with a drizzle of cream.

Note: You can find chestnuts precooked and vacuum sealed in most supermarkets nowadays. Also the toko is a good place to look. And in the autumn, when they are in season, they are available fresh, but then they need a lot more preparation.

Jam tart

I like pies and tarts. But you always have the trouble of rolling the dough and getting it whole into the form. It takes a lot of time and quite often, especially when it is warm in your kitchen, the dough just crumbles under your hands. If you recognize this, this tart is for you. No difficult fiddling around with dough, you just press it evenly into the form!
The corn flour added to the dough gives it a nice extra crunch. It keeps very well (room temp, well wrapped) and it is sturdy, so you can take it with you on, for example, a pick-nick. And you don’t need a plate and fork/spoon for this, the tart is sturdy enough to eat a piece with just your hands. It is nice to serve at tea-time, with a high tea, but it is impressive enough to double as a nice dessert. All and all it is a very convenient, versatile dish that can be made by anyone, even if you are not experienced with pastry-work.

Jam tart (26 cm)
Adapted from smitten kitchen

315 g flour
105 g polenta (corn flour)
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
195 g butter
150 g sugar
1 egg + 2 yolks + 1/2 white (remaining white will be used)
450 g jam or marmelade
3 tbsp sugar

Mix the flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt. Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and vanilla and then mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Divide the dough, put 1/3 shaped as a log in cling film in the fridge, use the other 2/3 to line a buttered tart form (with removable bottom). Do this by pressing the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides to the rim of the form (or about 2 cm when using a spring form). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or put in freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190C. Spread the jam or marmelade evenly over the tart base. Cut thin slices from the dough log, arrange them neatly on top (see pictures on smitten kitchen) to form the top crust. Use the remaining egg white to brush the top, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.   

Custard meringue pie

I always see this nice meringue tarts and pies on television when watching Masterchef or other cooking shows, and I always wanted to make something like this myself. And I have to say, it is harder than it looks. I can make a good Italian meringue, it did brown very nicely under the grill, but the crust did not work out that well and my pastry cream was too runny (with 10 gram of flour). But still, it was a very nice tart and next time I make it, I am sure it will be better.

Custard meringue pie (12 cm form)
1/4 recipe sweet shortcrust pastry (I made 1/2 a recipe and froze 1/2 of that)
1 recipe pastry cream
1 recipe Italian meringue

Prepare the pastry, line the tin and blind bake as specified in the recipe. Let cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the pastry cream and let cool in the fridge (in this way it sets better/faster).
When ready to prepare the pie, let the pastry cream come to room temperature and prepare the Italian meringue.
Preheat the grill.
Scoop the pastry cream into the pastry shell, pipe the Italian meringue on top and bake it in the oven. Make sure that you watch it at all times! The meringue can go from pale to burned very quickly, and this usually happens when you think that you can do something else in the same time and therefore just look away for 3 seconds from the oven. It would be a pity to burn the meringue after all this work, so just keep looking into the oven!
Serve immediately.

Custard Meringue Pie

Pastry cream and italian meringue (buttercream)

Some basics for pastry work. Italian meringue, a very fluffy and soft, white, sticky meringue is very nice as frosting, and you can put it under the grill or use a burner to cook the outside. You don’t have to cook it, it is food-safe since the egg whites are cooked by the syrup. By adding butter to it you get a very nice buttercream, that is less heavy than ordinary buttercream, and more stable. You can fill cakes with it, frost them with it and pipe all sorts of things. Pastry cream is most often used as filling for tarts and choux.

Italian meringue (buttercream)
Adapted from The Professional Pastry Chef- Bo Friberg
1 egg white
60 gram sugar
20 gram water
(60 gram soft butter)

Heat the sugar with the water slowly until hard ball stage. You can either check this by thermometer, or dip a teaspoon in the mixture and then in a cup of cold water. If the sugar is completely firm, it is hard ball. Don’t stir the syrup, since this could cause crystallisation and thereby failure of your syrup. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks. In this way your syrup and eggs are ready at almost the same time. When you do this for the first time, it can be handy to ask someone for help. Pour in the sugar syrup slowly while mixing, and keep mixing until the mixture is cooled to room temperature. This takes about 5-10 minutes, so if you have a standing mixer, use it. You need at least an electrical mixer.
Spread the meringue over the desired object, or pipe it on (you can make very nice peaks with it).
For the buttercream: add in the soft butter slowly and mix until soft and fluffy. Don’t worry if it seems to split at first, just keep on whisking and it will come together.

Pastry Cream
Adapted from 2000 recettes de la cuisine francaise
170 ml full fat milk
25 gram sugar
10 gram flour
1 egg yolk

Heat the milk with the vanilla, until just boiling. Whisk the egg yolk with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix the flour trough. Pour the hot milk on the egg yolk mixture, while whisking. Pour the mixture back in the pan and whisk on low heat until it thickens. Keep stirring! Otherwise you will have scrambled eggs. Pour in a container and let cool in the fridge. To prevent a skin from forming, put cling film on top, spread a little butter on top or dust with icing sugar.
The amount of flour in the recipe can be varied, this amount is enough for the pastry cream to be just a little runny. For some/most recipes it is desired that the cream is more stiff, then add some more flour.

Sweet shortcrust pastry

A good recipe for tart bases and cookies, that is not to sweet. You can freeze this dough very well. Keep a log in the freezer to cut 3 mm cookies from for unexpected visitors (or cookie cravings). You can cut and bake the cookies frozen, just add a few minutes to the baking time. Update: you cannot cut this dough completely frozen, it crumbles and it is very hard to cut. Therefore let it defrost for about 30 minutes in the fridge before cutting.
To make a pastry shell from frozen pastry, let the dough defrost in the fridge overnight.

For a tart form of 25 cm
From New Classics – Gary Rhodes
225 gram flour
150 g cold butter
75 g sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk

Rub the flour with the salt and the butter. Mix in the sugar. Work to a smooth dough with the egg and egg yolk, but take care not to overmix since this will make the finished product less crisp. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
Roll till 3 mm thickness, put in a baking tin, rest/cool for 20 minutes and blind bake for 20-25 minutes. A good trick is to leave the overhanging dough on, since sometimes the dough shrinks a bit. If you take it off after baking, you will have a perfect pastry shell.
Or cut cookies from the rolled out dough, cool and bake for 10-15 min until the edges are nice and golden.