White Chocolate Raspberry Tart

10 Sep

Raspberry TartToday is a day of celebration – it is the end of the Ramadan and the Rosh Hashanah. Two very intertwined religions, and their holidays. Well, on a day like today, you just have to celebrate. So I came up with this vegetarian (but unfortunately not vegan) white chocolate raspberry tart. The pastry cream was imbued with the rich lusciousness of white chocolate, such a perfect match for tart sweet bright raspberries. I dont usually do fruit with chocolate, but this is the exception that proves the rule.

This is a phenomenal tart. And I can say that because I have made some pretty damn brilliant tarts in my day…. but this one. It was so very good. The pastry crust was like a sugar cookie – dense, buttery, flaky and scented with vanilla. The pastry cream was literally stuffed full of Callebaut white chocolate. It was so creamy, it was sinful … but the great thing about it for me was that it looked like any garden variety vanilla pastry cream. It was only upon tasting that the ambrosial flavour of white chocolate made itself known. I adore good surprises like that! And the organic raspberries were the perfect counterpoint – tart and bursting with last of the summer sunshine, they made the white chocolate cream even more chocolate-y. This was one of my best tarts by far.  And the best part was seeing family eat it so happily on this most family of celebration nights… BSA’s son was surprised I made it from scratch 😉 It takes quite something to impress a 13 year old, so I was happy. Heh.

I put this tart together in literally half an hour (not including the wait times for baking and cooling off). Baking the pastry took very little time – but you need to make sure its baked through, because once it comes out of the oven, there is no more baking to do. I didnt bake it blind – I just made sure I poked tons of holes in it with my fork. It shrunk a bit, but I baked it in a 9 3/4″ spring form pan, so a little shrinkage was okay. The pastry cream took minutes to make, and about 20 minutes to cool in the fridge. Putting raspberries on top wasnt really work … but it was fun! I was actually a little shocked at how easy it was to make this tart – the return was so big, that I should have slaved for hours on it. It was a joy to present something so decadent and yet so easy to make.

Start at least 2 – 3 hours before you plan to serve this tart (or the day before) as you do want it to set up in the fridge.

Serves 8 people

Sweet pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (all purpose is fine, but if you have pastry flour, use that)
  • 1/4 cup sugar – I used powdered sugar, which I find gives a finer result
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 egg
  • 1 – 2 tbsp vanilla essence

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Use a fork and make sure it is all combined.

Grate the butter over the flour mixture, and using your fingers, toss to combine well. You should have oatmeal flakes of butter within the flour mixture.

In another small bowl, or cup, beat together the egg and the vanilla essence. Use more vanilla essence if you think your essence isnt very strong or flavourful.

Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture, and using your hands, knead to combine. You should have quite a soft dough.

Tip the dough out onto a clean surface, and knead two or three times to get it soft and pliable. Using the heel of your palm, smear the dough away from you. This will spread the frozen butter in thin layers throughout the dough. Do this two or three times.

Roll the dough into a ball, put it back in the bowl, and refrigerate for ten minutes or so to let it all just come together.

Preheat the oven to 175C (350F). Have a pie tin, or a spring form cake pan (I used a 9 3/4″ pan) ready.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator, and tip it out onto a clean surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thick, or to fit your pan.

The dough should be malleable enough, and yet cold enough, so it wont stick to the surface, or to your rolling pin. If it sticks, it has not sat in the fridge long enough, so put it back for a few minutes.

Once you have rolled out the dough to your liking, roll it onto your rolling pin, and centre it over your pan. Place it gently in the pan, and using your fingers, make sure all the edges are even. My spring form pan had very high edges, so I just folded the dough over and crimped it to come up about half way up the pan. It worked out fine!

Put the dough back into the fridge for five minutes or so to get over being rolled and prodded! This is an important step so dont forget it!

Once you take the unbaked crust out of the fridge, poke multiple holes in it with the tines of a fork. Dont forget to go up the sides!

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or so, or until completely baked through and very lightly tan in the centre. You will know if its baked fully or not by the texture of the crust. If its soft, malleable, it has not baked long enough. If its firm, and solid feeling, its fully cooked. Decide on how brown you want it – for this delicate tart, I decided to let it barely get a blush of bronze.

Set aside to cool.

White Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used lowfat)
  • 1 + 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup best quality white chocolate
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 egg yolks

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, 1 tbsp vanilla and white chocolate over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the white chocolate melts.

Meanwhile, mix the sugar, flour and cornflour together very well with a whisk. Add the further 1 tbsp vanilla and the egg yolks, and whisk extremely well until everything is thoroughly combined.

When the milk is quite hot, take about 1/4 cup of milk, and add it to the egg mixture. Whisk very well. Turn the heat up on the milk mixture, and allow to just come to the boil. Add all the egg mixture at once, and turn the heat down. Stir until very thick.

If you are worried that the pastry cream is lumpy, you can sieve it, but its usually unnecessary as long as you have whisked the ingredients together very well at each stage.

Put aside to cool, about 10 – 15 minutes.

Assembly

  • Cooled crust
  • White Chocolate Pastry Cream
  • About 2 cups fresh raspberries, lightly rinsed if needed

CelebrationPour the pastry cream into the crust. Arrange the raspberries on top in a pretty pattern (I usually just make rings but do as your heart desires). Refrigerate for at least 1 – 2 hours.

If you are making this tart the night before, prepare all the elements separately, and assemble them together a few hours before serving.

Serve and Celebrate!

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