As the days get warmer, and summer approaches, thoughts might turn to what would be a good dessert. I do have a great appetite for those soft summer fruits and berries. A buttery crisp pastry case is also a favourite. I also love a thick vanilla custard. But for a dessert tart I decided upon Crème Diplomat.
Crème Diplomat is made by folding whipped cream into a thick and rich vanilla custard. With the pastry case it makes the perfect base for fruit tarts.
Of course, as you can easily see, there are several distinct phases to this recipe. It needs a lovely crisp and buttery pastry case. Then the silky smooth crème diplomat. Then summer berries/fruit top the tart.
Which fruits to use is a matter of personal preference. I decided upon raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Also how much fruit to use is a personal choice. So, you can use many different fruits, and fill the tarts as you wish.
When I made mine I used those three fruits, but in different combinations.
How difficult is the recipe?
Each phase of the recipe can be easily executed ready to be assembled into the tarts. The tart cases are made first and are very crisp. That crispness remains but softens slightly when the tarts are refrigerated for a while. It is easy to make the crème diplomat. That has two stages. The first is to make a thick custard. The second is to fold in whipped cream. The result, which is spooned or piped into the tart cases, is rich and silky smooth. Then fruit is placed on the top to finish off the tarts.
So, these tarts are made in three distinct stages. That makes it a manageable venture. The result, to my mind, in utter perfection. I would score these as of easy to medium difficulty.
Two different moulds were used for my tart cases. I used 8cm/3inch perforated tart rings. I also used 10cm/4 inch perforated silicone tart moulds. Both were very good for the cases. But you can use any type of tart tin, such as those with removable bases. You can also cut out discs of the pastry and chill them in the fridge. Then you can place those discs onto an upturned muffin/jumbo muffin pan. When you bake them the discs will fold down onto the upturned cups. That will create a case which you can use for the tarts.
I have another recipe for fruit tarts, with custard. That uses the method of upside down muffin pans.
You can check out the recipe here
How many tarts?
How many tarts can be made with this recipe? The answer depends on so many factors. The size of the tarts. How full you pipe the crème diplomat. How much fruit to put on the top of the tarts.
The pastry recipe, for me, made 18 tart cases. That is 12 8cm/3 inch and 6 10cm/4 inch tart cases. There was enough crème diplomat for those cases. But for that number the cream should not fill the cases. The amount of fruit is variable too.
But please remember that you can freeze any remaining tart cases to use later.
You could also make larger tarts, such as a 23cm/9 inch tart, or two.
Oh my goodness! Just are great are these tarts? Mine turned out so well. In fact I think they were perfect. I ate one for my taste test. But had to stop myself from devouring another. That was no mean feat, but I managed it.
They had a wonderfully crisp sweetened tart case. The crème diplomat was so full of flavour and so smooth on the palate. Then, of course, that wonderful fruit. The perfect ripeness of the berries resulted in a fantastic dessert.
I quickly distributed my tarts to family. Reports coming back suggest they were enjoyed very much indeed.
I can easily see these as part of a picnic too, on a hot summer day. This is a recipe which I shall use again and again throughout the summer.
I will also make just the crème diplomat to serve with soft fruits, as an alternative to cream. Maybe these tarts would be great during Wimbledon fortnight. What could be better than enjoying the tennis whilst eating one of these tarts?
They would also be great, in smaller versions, for a lovely afternoon tea party.
Fruit Tarts With Crème Diplomat(Diplomat Cream)Course: Desserts, Pies, TartsCuisine: SummerDifficulty: Medium
350g(2 1/3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour
50g(1/2 cup) ground almonds
150g(1 1/4 cup) icing sugar
180g(13 tbsp) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
70g(1 1/3 medium in UK or 1 1/3 large in USA) eggs
- Crème Diplomat/Topping
480ml(2 cups) whole milk
5 medium egg yolks(large in USA)
130g(2/3 cup) caster or granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans(or you can use vanilla bean paste to taste)
40g(5 tbsp) cornflour
28g(2 tbsp) unsalted butter
4 leaves of gelatine(weight was 7g)
300ml(1 1/4 cups) double cream
Soft fruits, such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries to place on top. (see note 1 below)
- Place the flour, almonds and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor(see note 2 below)
- Pulse to combine a little and add the butter.
- Process the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg and process until the mixture clumps together into a dough.
- Tip the dough out onto a work surface and gently knead to form into a smooth paste.
- Form the dough into a rectangle and then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
- Split the vanilla beans down the centre and scrap out all the seeds. (retain the pods and seeds)
- In a saucepan place the milk, the vanilla seeds and empty pods.
- Heat the milk until almost boiling and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
- Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water and leave to soften.
- In a large bowl beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour, then whisk them together to form a smooth, thick paste.
- Bring the milk mixture almost to the boil.
- Remove and discard the empty vanilla bean pods.
- Pour a small amount of hot milk onto the egg mixture and whisk vigorously all the time to ensure the eggs don’t scramble.
- When that small amount of milk has been incorporated to temper the mixture you can add the remainder of the milk(I simply poured the tempered mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk).
- Whisk all the while and bring the custard mixture to the boil. It will thicken as it comes to the boil.
- Continue on a gentle boil, whisking all the time, until the mixture is thick and unctuous.
- Take the custard off the heat and squeeze the liquid from the gelatine.
- Add the gelatine into the custard and whisk until is it fully dissolved and combined.
- Pour the custard(through a strainer if you wish to ensure no lumps) into a bowl.
- Add the butter to the custard and stir until fully combined and cover with plastic wrap pressed gently onto the surface. Set aside to cool, placing in the fridge after about 30 minutes.
- Divide the pastry in two, placing one half back into the fridge.
- Roll the pastry out to a thickness of 2ml(just under 1/4 inch) and cut out rounds to line the tart pans. If using pastry rings cut out the base and then use strips of pastry to line the sides, pressing down to seal onto the base.
- Place them onto parchment lined baking trays.
- Prick the bases with a fork to preventing rising during baking(if using a perforated silicone mat as I did you don’t need to prick the base, nor do you need of using perforated tart moulds such as the silicone ones I used).
- Repeat with the remaining pastry, when you are ready.
- Chill the pastry cases in the fridge as you preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
- Bake the tart cases in the oven for 12 to 20 minutes until the cases begin to colour and pull away from the edge of the pans.
- Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
- Place the cream into a large bowl and whip until it has achieved stiff peaks.
- Whisk the custard to break it up and soften it to a smooth mixture.
- Fold in the whipped cream until fully combined.
- Place the crème diplomat into a piping bag and pipe it into the cooled tart cases.
- Place your chosen fruits onto the top of the crème diplomat in any arrangement you wish.
- Refrigerate the tarts until you need to serve them.
- You can sprinkle icing sugar over the top if you wish.
- 1. How much fruit you need is dependent on which fruits and how full you wish the tarts to be.
- 2. You can make the pastry by hand, rubbing the butter into the flour, sugar and almonds.