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Vanilla Pastry Crème for Custard Tarts, Cream Puffs and Other Pastries
Classic Pastry Crème is usually flavored with a whole vanilla bean so that there are no flecks of spice or discoloration from an extract. But The Salt Table’s Vanilla Bean Sugar makes it so much easier to get the flavor and pristine look without fussing with a whole bean. But you don’t have to stick with one flavor: try substituting The Salt Table’s Ginger Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar, or any of the fruit-based sugars. You may need to experiment with proportions to get the right flavor.
Serves 6 to 9
5 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Salt Table Vanilla Sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
How to make it:
Lightly whisk together the egg yolks in a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl. Prepare the bottom half of a double boiler with 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Mix the flour and both sugars together in the top pan and slowly whisk in the milk. Bring this to a simmer over direct medium heat, stirring constantly.
Whisk ½ cup of hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Slowly whisk this into the remaining milk and transfer the pan to the simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is quite thick, about 5 minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir for a minute longer, then set it aside to cool.
To use the pastry crème for custard tarts, while it is still quite warm, pipe it using a pastry bag fitted with a plain round piping tip into fully baked tart shells. To use it to fill cream puffs, napoleons, and other filled pastries, let it get completely cool and use a bag fitted with a tube filling tip. You may also spoon it into custard cups, let it cool completely, and then cover and refrigerate until chilled and serve it as is, or topped with raspberry sauce or a fruit coulis.
Custard Jam Tarts
6 pre-baked individual tart pastries
About 1/3-1/2 cup Peachey’s Peach, Blackberry, or Cherry Jam
1 Recipe Vanilla Pastry Crème
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon Salt Table Vanilla Bean Sugar
How to make it:
The pastries should be cooled before filling them. Put about 1 tablespoon of jam in the bottom of each pastry (how much will depend on the shape and size of your pastries) and spread it evenly over the bottom. Spoon the pastry crème to the fill the pastry to its top edge. Chill until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, pour the cream into a chilled bowl and whip until it’s beginning to thicken. Sprinkle the sugar over it and then continue whipping to soft peaks. Top each tart with a generous dollop of whipped cream and if you like a small ¼-teaspoon dollop of jam.