This tart has a buttery crust filled with traditional French pastry cream, and is topped with strawberries and pistachios. The combination of chilled custard, fresh fruit, and a nutty crunch makes it a guaranteed masterpiece.
LEARNING FROM THE MASTERS
We learned how to make pastry cream from Le Cordon Bleu, in France. This fundamental French pastry technique is used in many pastries, especially fruit tarts.
Making pastry cream is no easy task. You have to keep a close watch, continually whisking to prevent it from getting lumpy. If it does (happens to the best of us!), remove the pan from the flame and whisk vigorously to break up chunks. Return the stove to finish cooking, if necessary.
Don’t have a pastry brush at home? Use a CLEAN paintbrush, or paper towel instead. Just dip the towel into the glaze and you've got a disposable pastry brush. Add a few drops of water to the glaze if the towel soaks up too much of it.
Wow, you’ve got some beautiful ingredients! Once you’ve unpacked your Red Velvet kit, you may want to prepare a work surface (ideally not near heat) with parchment paper and a sprinkle of the flour you received. Alternatively, you can do this when it's closer to the time to roll out your dough. In two small bowls, separate 6 eggs into whites and yolks; set yolks aside and save whites for another culinary adventure. Measure 1/2 cup of ice water and set aside. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and using the sharp edge of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a small bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add cubes of cold butter and work with your hands until consistency resembles coarse sand (5 to 10 minutes). Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of ice water and work into the dough. Press dough into a ball, ensuring even consistency; add dribbles of ice water if dough is too dry, but do not let it get sticky. Wrap in plastic film and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
In a medium saucepan, warm milk on medium heat. Add vanilla bean seeds to milk, then entire bean; bring to a boil, and remove from heat. In a separate medium bowl, beat sugar (for pastry cream) and 5 egg yolks until pale yellow, and thick, then whisk in flour and cornstarch. Remove vanilla bean from milk with a slotted spoon. Stir half hot milk into yolk-sugar-cornstarch mixture, mixing well to combine. Return everything to saucepan and cook on low heat, stirring continuously with a whisk until cream thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, whisking to make sure there are no lumps. CAREFUL, this mixture can go from cream to scrambled eggs in no time! Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare your surface if you haven't done so already. Take chilled dough out of the fridge and roll out onto floured surface with a rolling pin. Roll out until your round is 1 inch larger than your tart pan. Press dough into the tart pan, covering the entire pan surface and trimming edges. Using a fork, prick the dough so air can escape. Place parchment paper and baking beans on top of the dough (to prevent puffing) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from oven, gently remove beans and paper, and let cool completely.
Using a paring knife, cut off strawberry tops and cut berries lengthwise into thin slices. When tart shell is completely cool, fill with chilled pastry cream. Artfully arrange slices of strawberries on top of cream, starting on the edge and working in. Place pistachios in “holes” throughout tart.
In a small saucepan on low heat, warm 1 tablespoon of water with strawberry jam until melted. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Using a brush, glaze the top of the tart with the jam so tart shines. Chill tart for at least 1 hour before serving.