Posted on Friday, 28th June 2013 by Grace Massa Langlois
The mere mention of the availability of fresh figs is enough to get my family rushing to the markets to get their hands on as many of the elusive treats as they can (they’re obsessed over figs). Fresh figs are hard to come by here in Ontario only being available a few weeks a year. These coveted purple gems are the crowning glory on this Crème Mousseline Tart.
I’m sure I’ve committed a cardinal sin by roasting the figs because my family believes they should be enjoyed as is. If I was in sunny Italy and I was picking them fresh off the tree I would agree but the figs I picked up at the market weren’t quite ripe and I knew caramelizing (roasting only long enough to release their natural juices) with a sprinkling of cinnamon and golden cane sugar and a drizzling of honey would bring out the sweetness and enhance the flavour.
I was watching MasterChef Australia the other day and one of the visiting chefs made sweet shortcrust pastry with quite a few yolks, six or seven. We’d hosted my nephew’s fiancé’s bridal shower this past weekend and I’d made four of my Red Velvet Cake Cheesecakes for the event. I had forty egg yolks that I needed to do something with so I thought it was the perfect time to test out the pastry plus I was anxious to try it because it baked to a glorious golden colour.
Disappointment times two. Blind baking the pastry proved to be disastrous. The chef gave instructions to bake the crust at 180° C (350° F) for twenty minutes and while I usually blind bake at a higher heat I followed his instructions. Unfortunately the crust was far from being cooked at the twenty-minute mark and by the time it crisped up it was way too dark for my liking and definitely not the golden colour he achieved. After two attempts I reduced the amount of yolks and baked for far longer than 20 minutes.
When I was at the market picking up my coveted figs I noticed the abundance of fresh raspberries and I couldn’t help but wonder if the two fruits would complement each other. Rather than topping the tart with the two fruits I thought it might be nice to fill the tart with a thin layer of homemade raspberry jam like I did with the Raspberry and White Chocolate Ganache Tarts.
You may be questioning the combination of flavours, I did too, so much so that I turned to my trusty Flavour Bible. I knew I was on the right path with the combination I had planned because one of the flavour affinities listed was raspberry + figs + cream + honey.
I filled the tart with a French classic, Crème Mousseline. Mousseline is a basic cream used in French pastry. It’s simply a pastry cream enriched with butter, lots of butter. The butter to milk ratio is fifty percent; therefore if you’re preparing a pastry cream with 500 ml (tad more than 2 cups) of milk typically 250 g (tad more than 1 cup) of butter is added to enrich it.
To prepare crème mousseline, pastry cream is prepared first and while still warm one-half of the butter is whisked in. The cream is then refrigerated until completely chilled. The remainder of the butter is then whipped into the chilled pastry cream.
Very important tip, for a velvety smooth mousseline, I recommend beating the butter until almost white and then whisking the pastry cream into the butter gradually.
I’m so pleased with the way the tart came together, it’s a symphony of flavour, texture and aroma and perfect for summer entertaining. The preparations add to the anticipation, from the moment the pastry shell went into the oven to the caramelizing of the figs, it was one tantalizing aroma after another wafting throughout the house.
The crispy pastry with the velvety, buttery rich cream is heavenly. Figs and raspberries are a great combination of sweet and tart flavours only made better with the wonderful combination of vanilla, honey, cinnamon and Cognac.
Caramelized Fig, Raspberry Jam and Crème Mousseline Tart
- Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Dough
- Raspberry Jam
- Crème Mousseline
- Caramelized Figs
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Dough
- 250 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 102 g (¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) confectioners’ sugar
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- Pinch of salt
- 113 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, cold
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature, lightly beaten with a fork
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) milk (you may not need it)
- Egg wash – 1 large egg + 1 tablespoon milk, lightly beaten together with a fork
- Line rimmed baking sheet with nonstick baking paper. Centre 28 cm (11-inch) tart ring on baking paper.
- In bowl of food processor, process flour, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla seeds and salt until combined well and seeds are evenly distributed.
- Add the cold butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- With the processor running, gradually add the beaten egg yolk in a thin steady stream through the feed tube processing until dough begins to come together. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount between your fingertips; it should hold together without being wet or sticky. If the dough is crumbly gradually add the milk to bring the dough together.
- Transfer the dough to clean work surface, shape into a bowl, wrap in plastic, flatten into a disk and refrigerate (to allow the dough to rest), 20 minutes.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and transfer to lightly floured work surface. Lightly dust rolling pin and surface of dough. Roll out pastry into the shape of a large circle with a thickness of about 6 mm (¼ inch).
- Roll the pastry up onto the rolling pin dusting off the excess flour with a pastry brush. Carefully drape pastry over the ring. Fit the pastry into the ring. To dock the pastry, poke holes all over the base of the pastry case with the tines of a fork. Transfer to the freeze and chill, 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Remove pastry case from freezer, line with nonstick baking paper and fill with pie weights, uncooked beans or rice. Bake until golden around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and remove baking paper and weights. Brush the base of the tart with egg wash. Return pastry case to oven and continue to bake until golden all over, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack. Let stand on the baking sheet until completely cooled. Remove pastry case from tart ring.
Crema Pasticcera or pastry cream is the base of a Crème Mousseline. Pastry cream is prepared and then one-half of the butter is added immediately. This mixture is then refrigerated to chill after which time the remaining butter is whisked in until fluffy.
- 500 ml (about 2 cups + 1½ tablespoons) whole milk, divided
- 141 g (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) caster (superfine) sugar, divided
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Cognac, Kirsch or Dark Rum
- 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 40 g (¼ cup + 1 tablespoon) cornstarch, sifted
- 254 g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided equally (keep one-half refrigerated until needed), cut into cubes, soft but not warm
- Reserve 120 ml (½ cup) milk. Reserve 84 g (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) sugar. In small saucepan, bring the remainder of the milk (380 ml or 1½ cups + 1½ tablespoons), the remainder of the sugar (56 g or ¼ cup), vanilla bean and seeds just to the boil (small bubbles just beginning to form around the edges of the pan), stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, add the liqueur, cover and let stand to allow vanilla to infuse, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in large bowl, using handheld balloon whisk, whisk the egg yolks and the reserved sugar (84 g or ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) until sugar is dissolved and egg foam is fluffy and pale in colour.
- Add the cornstarch and whisk until smooth (no lumps please).
- Add the reserved milk (120 ml or ½ cup) and whisk until well combined. Use flexible rubber spatula to clean the sides of the bowl.
- While whisking constantly, gradually add the hot vanilla milk into the egg foam. Continue to whisk until combined well.
- Pour the custard into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Bring to the boil and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk one-half of the butter (127 g or ½ cup + 1 tablespoon) into the custard. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8-inch) square dish Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and transfer to the refrigerator. Let stand in the refrigerator until completely chilled.
- Remove the remainder of the butter from the fridge, let stand at room temperature until soft but cold, about 10 minutes (the mixer will soften it up rather quickly). In stand mixer fitted with whip attachment, beat the butter until creamy and very pale in colour (almost white). Remove pastry cream from refrigerator. Add the pastry cream in four additions; making sure each addition is well blended before adding the next. To fill pastry shell, transfer mousseline to large pastry bag fitted with large plain tip or spoon into shell.
- 24 mission figs
- 48 g (¼ cup) golden cane sugar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Vietnamese cinnamon
- Honey, to drizzle
- Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Line rimmed baking sheet with nonstick baking paper. Working with one fig at-a-time and using sharp paring knife, slice off the hard nib at the tip of the stem. Stand the figs upright on cutting board. Cut a cross in the top of each fig but don’t cut all the way down to the base. Arrange figs on baking paper leaving a small space in between each fig.
- In small bowl, stir together cane sugar and cinnamon.
- Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over the figs (making sure to sprinkle within the cut part too). Drizzle with honey. Bake until caramelized and juices start to run out, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, transfer to wire rack and let stand on baking sheet to cool a few minutes before arranging on tart.
- 60 ml to 120 ml raspberry jam
- Carefully transfer pastry case to cake plate or cake stand.
- Spoon a thin layer of jam onto the base of the pastry case.
- Pipe a tight spiral of crème mousseline into the pastry case to completely cover the base or spoon mousseline into pastry shell and spread to edges with offset spatula.
- Carefully arrange the caramelized figs, cut side up, on top of the crème mousseline.
- Drizzle some of the juice from the figs over top.
- Cut and serve.
- Buon Appetito!
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, cream tart, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, desserts with fruit, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, fruit, fruit pastries, fruit tarts, Italian dessert, Italian desserts, Italian pastry, mousseline, pastry cream, Summer desserts, sweet shortcrust pastry, Tart filling, tart pastry, tarts
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