Help, suggestions for fruit tart?

oli

130
10
Joined Aug 31, 2001
Hi guys:
Today was the first time I have used pastry cream in a fruit tart and I was not as happy as I could be. The pastry cream was an old T&T recipe that is my fall back recipe. It was made the day prior to assembly, so it was cold. When I arranged the fruit (apple slices, strawberries, Kiwi, and blackberries) on the tart and brushed it with my glaze, it looked great. I must add that since I was using apple slices I dipped them in lemon juice to prevent them from turning colour. Everthing looked fine until I got to the party which was 40 min. away. The fruit was beginning to sink into the pastry cream, so I quickly placed it in the refrig. before serving - 1 hr. later. It was not especially warm out, about 58 degrees. When I sliced them up, the pastry cream was rather loose with no body.
What should I have done, perhaps use gelatin, to add some body to the pastry cream? Oh by the way, I don't use cornstarch in my pastry creams, because of the fruit acids interacting with the cornstarch and breaking it down.
Thanks:confused:
 
38
10
Joined Sep 7, 2002
You might want to brush your fruit with nappage before putting
it on the pastry cream. The gel can prevent water in the fruit to
come out and spoiled the pastry cream, also it's acid proof. Or apply some gel on top of the pastry cream after it is set from the refrigerator, to separate it from the fruits.
 
1,640
12
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Sounds like your pastry cream is too loose. What do you use to thicken it, besides the egg? You need something otherwise I consider it an anglaise not a pastry cream.

Also sounded like your pastry cream layer was rather thick. You can add a thin sheet of cake into your tart to soak up any excess liquid.
 
2,938
11
Joined Mar 4, 2000
The fruit acids breaking down the cornstarch? I've never had problems with that. If that were an issue, people wouldn't thicken pie fillings with cornstarch. But either way, you could certainly thicken a pastry cream with flour, with a slightly more gummy result that some people prefer. I use cornstarch in mine, along with a finish of butter, for flavor, and firmness after chilling. The fruit will only touch the top of the pastry cream, so the juices will not penetrate and destroy the texture of the filling.
 

oli

130
10
Joined Aug 31, 2001
Thanks everyone. Well I solved part of the problem by omitting the application of lemon juice to the apple slices. As Gerard says "
Fruits will dissolve corn starch based creams, but straight lemon juice is like battery acid, it will eat through a can".
Now for the issue of not enough body to the cream, I believe the problem was my procedure. I realized my error about half way through the stirring of the cream, that I didn't temper the egg mixture first. I just poured the egg mixture into the warm milk and proceded to stir until the cream boiled.
Now I am not real positive that this is the answer, and I won't know until I do another batch, but; "Boiling the custard longer might only scorch it, it only needs to come to the boil, once the starch has bloomed (and that happens at the boiling point) there is nothing to be gained.....". Perhaps someone out there may have made the same error as I did.
So anyway, thanks everyone for the ideas and help.
 
1,839
11
Joined May 29, 1999
pastry cream can be made the following way without the warm to cold liasion tempering:

boil 2/3 of the milk, 1/2 of the sugar and vanilla.
combine the 1/2 sugar and starch lightly mix to break up the starch, then add eggs and portion of the milk whisk well to combine.

add the egg mixture to the boiling milk mixture in a steady stream whisking all the while. allow to boil while whisking, this speeds up the process and the constant movement should keep the cream from scorching. remove from heat and transfer into clean container, you may want to add butter at this point or vanilla extract.

You could also try adding gelatin to the cream to tighten it up. I like to lighten it up with whipped 40%heavy cream.

some fruits will break down a cream like kiwi, pineapple, blackberries and citrus.
 

oli

130
10
Joined Aug 31, 2001
Don't forget momoreg, that "Pies are BAKED.
Tarts are raw and acidic"
Learning something everyday, or at least everytime I bake, so keep the questions comming.
 
1,839
11
Joined May 29, 1999
Where did you get this bit of information?
There are unbaked pies and baked tarts.........
Where have I been?
 
2,938
11
Joined Mar 4, 2000
The starch in the pastry cream is cooked, same as the starch in a pie, albeit with a different method.

Anyway, if your fruit is placed on top of the cream, and not inside the cream, the tart ought to look fresh (even after cutting) for a day or two.
 
7,375
69
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Bizarre...I made a bunch of pastry cream (Lenotre's recipe) with cornstarch and topped with a rhubarb, orange, chambord.....did not break down and was marvelous.
 
2,938
11
Joined Mar 4, 2000
I've done zillions of lemon curd tarts, topped with blackberries. Never had an issue. Very bizarre indeed.
 

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