Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Sunday, 5th December 2010
Maple Crème Brûlée Tart was the perfect dessert choice for a potluck my daughter, Liana, was attending. As a rule, Liana doesn’t indulge in too many desserts, but she does have a huge weakness for Crème Brûlée. Initially she requested Maple Crème Brûlée but transporting 30 ramekins wasn’t ideal, baking a Custard Tart was. Plus I need all the practice I can get when it comes to working with pastry.
I’ve learned and mastered many techniques since I began my journey into the “Sweet Life” but unfortunately making the perfect Pastry Crust has proved to be quite challenging.
Thankfully, after a great deal of practice, and reading an endless amount of “how to’s”, I have mastered the art of making pastry. But, when it comes to rolling out the pastry, well, that is a completely different story. I either roll out the pastry too thin or way too thick. And the worst mistake I make is over working the pastry. By the time I’m done rolling and re-rolling the only thing I’ve achieved is ridding the pastry of all those beautiful bits of butter. At that point the only chance I have of pulling off a flaky crust is to start all over again. It’s so frustrating!
On the day I set out to make the Maple Crème Brûlée Tart not only did I struggle with rolling the pastry but I also forgot the most important step in blind baking a tart with a wet filling. I completely forgot to seal the pastry. Unfortunately I had more filling on the sheet pan than I did in the tart.
I’m completely jinxed because I didn’t realize my error until after I made the second one. When I baked the first one I chalked it up to a little spillage when I pushed in the oven rack. I took so much care the second time. I decided to fill the tart right in the oven and I carefully eased in the oven rack. Not a spec of filling escaped, I was so excited I almost did a little dance. That is, until I checked the tart ten minutes later, not again! Yes, it happened again, filling everywhere.
I was so disappointed! Liana insisted on taking the tarts (she thinks I worry too much). Believe it or not, everyone loved them. She said the tart base was a little soggy but the rest of the crust was perfect and the taste of the crème was amazing.
If you struggle with pastry as I do, the lovely and talented Debra from Smith Bites recently released a must see video tutorial on How To Make Pie Crust. I’ve also included some Blind Baking Tips below. I need all the help I can get but I am determined to perfect this technique.
Maple Crème Brûlée Tart
- Vanilla Pastry Tart Shell
- Maple Crème Brûlée
Vanilla Pastry Tart Shell
- 1 2/3 cups (250 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tablespoon caster (superfine granules) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 180 g cold butter, chopped
- ¹⁄³ cup (80 ml) iced water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Place the flour, sugar and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and process to combine.
- Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- While the motor is running, gradually add the iced water and vanilla.
- Process until the mixture comes together.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 3 mm (1/8-inch) thickness.
- Line a 28 cm (11 inch) tart baking tin with the pastry. (If you are familiar with blind baking continue with recipe or see “How to Blind Bake” recipe notes below)
- Prick the bottom of the pastry shell with a fork, and then freeze the pastry shell for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F).
- Remove the pastry tart shell from the freezer and blind bake, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Assembling Maple Crème Brûlée Tart
- Demerara Sugar or Regular Sugar
- Pour the cooled Maple Crème Brûlée into the pastry crust.
- Continue to bake assembled tart at 180° C (350° F), about 15 to 20 minutes or until just set.
- Allow to cool in the tin.
- Sprinkle tart with an even layer of Demerara (or regular) sugar just before serving and caramelize with a small kitchen blowtorch or under an oven broiler until a golden crust forms. Repeat step for crispier crust.
How to Blind Bake
Blind baking or “pre-baking” is a technique that is used when making pastry shells. Blind baking may seem to be an unnecessary step but if you are making a pie or tart with a wet filling it will ensure the base remains crisp rather than becoming soggy. Blind baking is also a useful technique when baking puff pastry shells since the puff pastry tends to fluff up when it is baked.
Follow these steps to a crispy, sealed pastry tart shell:
- Place your pastry into your prepared baking tin as per the recipe instructions.
- Cover the pastry lined baking tin with a clean tea towel or non-stick baking paper and chill for 30 minutes in the freezer to allow the pastry to firm up.
- Using a fork, dock the dough (prick the base of the pastry case in a few places to prevent air bubbles from forming).
- Line the pastry case with a piece of non-stick baking paper (large enough to cover the base and go up the sides with an over hang).
- Place pie weights (dried beans or rice work just as well) over the baking paper (this prevents the base of the pastry from rising).
- Place in a preheated oven (temperature according to recipe) and blind bake for a few minutes less than the recipe suggests.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Prepare an egg wash; and then using a pastry brush, brush the pastry case with the egg wash. Place back in the oven for a few minutes to set the glaze. This will create a beautiful seal in the pastry case, which will prevent the liquid from oozing out, and it will also give the pastry case a crunchy texture.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes prior to adding the filling.
- Add the filling and continue to bake for the time recommended by the recipe.
Tags: baked custard, baked pudding, creme brulee, custard recipes, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, Donna Hay recipes, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, French desserts, maple syrup, maple syrup recipes, pastry tart shells, pie crust, pies, tart crust, Tart filling, tarts
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Crostate, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Eggs, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Pies & Tarts, Recipes, Ricette di Base