This peach tart was another of Rachel’s inventions. We really liked it because it was fairly simple to put together, made use of “simple living” tools like preserves and leftover graham crackers, and wasn’t super expensive or fatty to make (for a dessert at least). It’s also a really flexible concept, so right away I give you permission to improvise and come up with even better ideas, as long as you tell me what you come up with.
The filling for the tart’s graham cracker crust is a layer of pastry cream topped with a thickened peach jam we made and froze this past summer. The “cream” is basically a really classy pudding or custard, and it adds a lot of creaminess to offset the sweet fruitiness of the peach.
We really enjoyed using our tart pan for the first time for this (it was given to us as a gift by our neighbors), but the dessert would work equally well as a bunch of smaller tarts or pies. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
The original recipe comes from the Joy of Baking site’s fruit tart. What I have here is for double the pastry cream originally called for, because we found just one recipe wasn’t quite enough for the tart. Feel free to adjust.
Fruit Custard Tart Recipe
for the custard:
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
for the crust:
12-14 graham crackers
1 stick (1/4 lb) butter
for the topping:
1 cup (or more if you like) fruit jam or preserves
1-2 cups mixed berries or other fresh fruit
Sift the flour and cornstarch together.
Stir the egg yolks with the sugar, then add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly to form a nice paste.
Meanwhile, bring the milk and vanilla almost to a boil, so it starts to foam up. Take it off the heat and mix it slowly into the egg mixture. What worked for Rachel was to add a little at a time and make sure it’s thoroughly blended in before adding more. The goal here is to avoid overheating and curdling the eggs, because that’s not as nice.
Okay. Now the fun part. Put the whole mix in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking the whole time. Once it starts boiling, keep it going for 30 seconds or so. It’ll magically thicken up and become a pudding-like consistency.
Cool the custard to room temperature. Cover the surface with plastic to prevent a skin forming. The recipe says this can stay in your fridge for up to 3 days, but just make sure it’s cooled down if you’re using it right away. Stir to take care of any lumps before using.
Alright, the crust. Smash up your graham crackers. You could probably use a food processor for this if you’re careful, but for us it mostly turned it to dust and we wanted bigger crumbs. We used our favorite smashing device, a tenderizing hammer. You could also put it all in a zip-top bag and crush with your hands or smash with a rolling pin. Or leave it out in your driveway for a little while and let the cars take care of it. Your choice.
Mix in the butter thoroughly until the mixture is clumpy and thoroughly combined. Press into your pan as evenly as possible, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350°F.
Now it’s time to get the other stuff involved again. Fill the pan with your cooled pastry cream and spread evenly.
For the topping, take some preserves of your choice and spread on top. We used our homemade peach jam, which we mixed with some thickener (cornstarch or clear-gel for pie fillings) since our jam is a little runny. You could do fresh berries (or previously frozen berries with a thickener again) or whatever delicious topping comes to mind.
There you go! This dessert is really a blank canvas for a lot of different ideas, and can come in handy when you have seasonal fruits or jams available. It’s also really quick– we made a berry version the other night on a whim so we could share it with our neighbors, and we managed to make the whole thing in 20 minutes. I’d be interested to hear what variations you all come up with, especially in terms of other sizes/crusts/toppings.
Thanks– till text time, foodies!