I was very excited to know that this month's Random Recipes challenge created by Dom at Belleau Kitchen is all about desserts. If you don't already knew, this is how the challenge works: from the piles of your cook books, select one book at random and then from this book, flip it open to a random page and cook/bake that recipe.
I have several cook books that concentrate on desserts and baking, and the cook book I selected at random couldn't be any more appropriate, and one of my favourites: Desserts by James Martin.
The recipe I selected at random is the beautiful French fruit tart.
This tart is so simple to make, if you're using store-bought puff pastry. If you can make your own puff pastry, congratulations, you may do so.
I think this is one of those recipes that's visually impressive yet easy. Come on, it's (store-bought) puff pastry, melted chocolate, vanilla cream and fresh fruit. I hope you give this a go.
French Fruit Tart
Recipe by James Martin
350 g puff pastry
plain flour, for rolling out
1 egg, beaten
85 g white chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 a vanilla pod, seeds only
200 ml double cream, half whipped
100 ml fresh custard
small punnet of medium-sized strawberries, hulled and halved
small punnet of blackberries and raspberries
1 large banana, sliced
small bunch of seedless green and/or black grapes, halved
4 tablespoons smooth apricot jam
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and cut out a rectangle measuring 36 x 20 cm. Place on a baking tray. Using a table knife, score a 1 cm border around the edge, making sure you don't cut the pastry all the way through.
Brush the border with egg was, taking care not to allow any to dribble down the sides because this will prevent the pastry rising evenly. Prick the base of the tart (not the border) with a fork and chill the pastry for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Bake the pastry for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Slide onto a wire rack to leave to cool. Once cooled, gently press the centre of the pastry down to leave the frame around the edge.
Melt the chocolate and brush over the bottom of the pastry. Leave to set. Add the vanilla seeds to the cream and fold in the custard. Spoon and spread the cream mixture over the pastry base. Draw shallow lines in the cream mixture to create even sections of the fruit, and arrange the fruit on top so that each section is a contrasting colour.
Heat the jam and, using a pastry brush, glaze the fruit. Allow to set before serving.
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