Even though I’m not a huge summer fan (to the least), if there’s one thing that’s good about the summer, it’s definitely all the summer fruits that are filling the markets. Colorful berries, fresh figs, juicy mangoes, watermelon and cantaloupe, sweet grapes and lots of other irresistible fruits! So, I complain over the heat but enjoy it’s fruity wonders all this time. Over the past few years I finally learnt to like figs too, so I even use them in my recipes more now.
The next tart was born in collaboration with Alon Shabo, a talented pastry chef and one of my best friends. This is a classic vanilla tart with fresh figs and chopped roasted pistachios, which is especially impressive thanks to the arrangement of fruits and pistachios at the top along with thin white chocolate disks. Perfect for the summer!
Vanilla Tart with Figs and Pistachio
For the crust:
- 150 grams all-purpose flour
- 100 grams cold butter cut into cubes
- 40 grams powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 tablespoons of milk (as needed)
For vanilla pastry cream:
- 250 ml. milk
- ½ vanilla bean pod (halved and scraped with seeds (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste))
- 2 large egg yolks
- 70 grams sugar
- 25 grams cornstarch
- 30 grams soft butter (cut into cubes)
- 125 ml. whipping cream (very cold)
- Fresh fig slices
- 50 grams roasted pistachios (finely chopped)
- White chocolate disks
- In a food processor with a steel blade, put flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and process until a crumbly mixture is obtained.
- Add the yolk and continue to blend until large chunks of dough form. If the dough does not combine into large chunks – gradually add a little water.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, flatten it with your hands and cover in plastic wrap.
- Cool in the refrigerator for about an hour.
- On a floured work surface roll out the dough to a 3-4 mm thick and cut out circles 8-9 cm in diameter.
- Arrange the dough in the tartelettes pans. It is important to create a right angle between the sides and the base of the crust, so that the edges remain high and will not shrink down during baking.
- Pierce the base of the crust with a fork and cool in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 170c degrees.
- Place a small sheet of crumpled baking paper on each tartelette (you can also use paper-sized paper crowns) and fill with dry beans or special baking weights.
- Bake the tartelettes in this way for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the weights and the paper and continue to bake the tartelettes for another 8-10 minutes until uniformly golden.
- Cool completely.
Vanilla pastry cream:
- In a small pot, put milk and vanilla together and heat to a simmer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk well egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch into a uniform, thick mixture.
- Add about 1/3 of the boiling milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture while stirring vigorously until uniform mixture is obtained.
- Drain the mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk and mix well.
- Return the mixture to cooking over medium flame and continue to cook while mixing constantly until thick, stable pastry cream is created.
- Remove from heat and add butter. Mix until it melts and you get a smooth cream.
- Pour the cream into a relatively flat container and cover with plastic wrap.
- Cool for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
- When the cream is cold, transfer it to a medium bowl, and then whisk it well until it returns to the original creamy texture.
- In a mixer bowl whip cream until firm.
- Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream until you get a uniform, stable vanilla cream.
Assemble the tartelettes:
- Fill the baked tartelettes with cream and straighten with a palate knife.
- Decorate with figs, roasted pistachios and white chocolate disks.
- Instead of figs you can use any other summer fruit that you like and of course combine different types of fruits.
- The recipe can also be prepared as one large 24 cm tart. The baking times of the dough will be extended slightly (until golden).
- Instead of pistachios, you can use any other kind of nuts you like. It is important to roast them before use.