Pastry Cream: 3
For Easter I was asked to bring dessert to my family's dinner. No problem, I'll make the Chocolate Cloud Cake and a blueberry tart. I still have blueberries in my freezer from last summer. I made the pastry cream the night before, using the recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I have made pastry cream before with this recipe. It turned out fine, like a thick vanilla pudding. This time, when I had risen the next day, baked the tart shell, rinsed the blueberries and picked through them, got out the pastry cream from the fridge where it was chillin' all night, it was still runny. Okay, well I'll just use it anyway. It will probably be fine. Nope. Not fine.
First I overfilled the tart shell. Probably only needed to use about 2/3 of the cream. Then I arranged the blueberries prettily on top of the cream. It's more time-consuming than one would think. It looked pretty for about 15 minutes, then we had to transport it over to my dad's house. The runny pastry cream sloshed before we had even reached the car. I was screeching with anxiety about it, yelling at bf not to spill it as I was driving (as smoothly as possible). Once we reached my dad's, I looked at the tart and realized it was no use worrying about it anymore. The blueberries had sunk into the cream and there was cream spilled over the edge of the crust. I set it on the counter and fussed over it a little bit, then let it go....it's just a tart, just a dessert, after all. When it was time to cut into it, it was a soupy pile of creamy blueberries. Everyone did seem to enjoy it, though. At least it tasted good.
A few weeks later I was making a fruit tart for a lady at work. I found a different recipe online for pastry cream and decided to use that instead. Well, this one had a different problem. It seized up so fast it was like hard jello, all in one molded clump. Okay, so I went back to the BH&G version. After all, I had made that successfully before the Easter disaster; maybe I just forgot the cornstarch? Uh, no. I made it, chilled it and it was still soupy the next morning. At that point I gave up and went for my backup plan.
That's right, I had a feeling this might happen.
So, I got up at 5 AM and combined mascarpone cheese with heavy cream and vanilla in my mixer till it was very thick. I spread that in my perfectly baked tart shell and topped it with sliced strawberries, red plums and blueberries. For a shiny effect, I melted apricot jam with water a saucepan over low heat until it melted, strained and cooled it, then brushed the cooled glaze over the berries. It looked perfect and was a hit.
I aim to try again. Pastry Cream, I will not let you defeat me!
Here's some pictures of my beautiful tart crust. At least I got that part down.