Posted on Sunday, 5th December 2010 by Grace Massa Langlois
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.
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Tags: baked custard, baked pudding, creme brulee, dessert, desserts, Donna Hay recipes, French desserts, pastry tart shells, pies
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes