Week 6: Sweet pastry and fruit tarts

Well! Sorry it’s been a while — I didn’t write my blog last weekend as I went away for some relaxation, though this week we didn’t have a class because of the bank holiday, so I only have one class to catch you up on!

Last time we continued with pastry, focusing on sweet shortcrust pastry, or Pâte sucrée to give it its proper name. We made a fruit tart and some fruit barquettes, which are sort of boat shaped. We only made these two things this week, but we still filled up the whole time — cutting fruit into ridiculously thing slices and then arranging it intricately takes longer than you’d think.

There were three components to both of the things we made:

  1. A sweet shortcrust pastry case — this meant more practice lining tins and trying to get that elusive perfectly straight edge. I’m getting better, bit by bit…practice makes perfect! We wanted the base really crisp this time — almost biscuit like — so once we’d blind baked it we egg-washed the base and put it back in the oven for a bit until it was quite well done.

2. Crème pâtissière filling — I had never made this before so was looking forward to it. It is, like many of the things we’re making, actually not that difficult once you know what to do. You just need to make sure you whisk it a lot as it thickens incredibly quickly. I did manage to flick it all over everything when whisking though. Top tip: we used French custard powder rather than English, because the English one has way more yellow food colouring in it. So there you go.

Crème pâtissière

3. Fruit topping — for the barquettes, this was a case of cutting some strawberries and raspberries. But for the fruit tart, we segmented an orange by cutting in between every bit of pith, and then finely cut up a kiwi, plum, and lots of grapes. Fiddly stuff (ever cut a grape into 8 segments?), but a great chance to practice my knife skills AND I didn’t cut myself. Result.

The fruit tart also had a glaze over the top to save the cut fruit, which is basically just warmed apricot jam. Spreading this over the top without messing up the pattern is also time consuming, but the overall result is well worth it. I was pretty proud of my tart!

Pre and post glaze fruit tart

Next week is choux pastry, so we’ll be making profiteroles among other things — though there is a chance we’ll be off due to some sort of planned power cut, so if you don’t hear from me then, that’s why!

Happy baking ☺

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