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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Recipe: Strawberry Banana Cream Phyllo Tarts

Strawberry Banana Cream Phyllo Tarts

Recipe: Strawberry Banana Cream Phyllo Tarts



Having just posted at length on the virtues of Pastry Cream, I have a confession to make. On its own, Pastry Cream is only so-so. It's a "C+", at best.... maybe a "B-" when graded on a curve.

Sure, it's rich and sweet... but it's also thick and gelatinous. That's a description that's not going to win many friends in the world of fine pastry. But Pastry Cream is the primary building block for many far superior products.

For instance, there's Crème Légère: a version of Pastry Cream that is lightened with Whipped Cream. The simple addition of Whipped Cream transforms the filling from an impenetrable gel to an airy custard. If you take it one step further and fold in some fresh fruit, then you actually have a dessert on your hands.

To provide some textural contrast (a key feature of any well-designed dessert), I decided to serve the Strawberry Banana Cream in Phyllo Tart Shells. It's definitely a happy marriage.


Begin by preparing the Pastry Cream (find the recipe here). You need to give it time to cool before you assemble the Tarts.

Sheets of Phyllo Dough
As the Pastry Cream cools, make the Phyllo Tart Shells. 

Here's a little pastry secret - No One makes their own Phyllo Dough. Even in Culinary School where everything had to be made from scratch, we were warned that only fools would spend time making Phyllo dough (unless it's your speciality, in which case, go crazy). 

So there you have it - Step One: Buy frozen Phyllo Dough!

Lining Ramekins with Sheets of Phyllo Dough to Make Tart Shells
Let the Phyllo Dough warm to room temperature. Gently brush a sheet of Phyllo Dough with melted Butter and then lightly sprinkle it with sugar. 

Cut the sheet of Phyllo Dough into squares measuring approximately 5"x5". You do not need to be exact. The Tart Shells should have a somewhat rugged appearance, so precision isn't necessary.

Working one at a time, stack five squares of Phyllo Dough into butter-brushed ramekins. I found that six-ounce ramekins were the perfect size.

Unmolded Tart Shell Made with Phyllo Dough
Bake the Phyllo Tart Shells for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until golden brown and crispy. Allow the shells to cool in the ramekins. Once the Tart Shells have cooled, they should fall right out of the ramekins.

Chilled Pastry Cream Beaten Smooth
By now, the Pastry Cream should be cool. You'll notice that Pastry Cream becomes extremely thick and lumpy when chilled. Beat the Pastry Cream smooth in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Whipped Cream Beaten to Medium Peaks
On its own, Pastry Cream is thick... perhaps a little too thick. The easiest (and tastiest) way to lighten the texture is to fold in some Whipped Cream to make a Crème Légère. The more Whipped Cream you add, the lighter the Crème Légère

I find that a good ratio is one part Whipped Cream to two parts Pastry Cream.

First, whip Heavy Cream to medium peaks.

Lightening Pastry Cream with Whipped Cream to Make Crème Légère
Fold the Whipped Cream into the Pastry Cream. Begin by "sacrificing" a small portion of the Whipped Cream into the Pastry Cream to lighten the consistency. Then, gently fold the remaining Whipped Cream into the Pastry Cream. 

Sliced Banana for Creme Filling
Diced Strawberries for Cream Filling
Adding the fruit is simple. Dice the Strawberries and Bananas into half inch sized pieces... 

Diced Strawberries and Bananas Folded into Cream Filling
... and fold the fruit into the Crème Légère to make a Strawberry Banana Cream.

Phyllo Tart Shell Filled with Strawberry Banana Cream
Fill each tart with a heaping spoonful of the Strawberry Banana Cream (approximately 85g per Tart).

Strawberry Banana Cream Phyllo Tarts with Strawberry and Tarragon Garnish
Finish the Tarts with a garnish of Strawberry or Banana and small pieces or Tarragon, Basil or Mint.

Strawberry Banana Cream Phyllo Tarts
Once filled, the Tarts should be kept refrigerated. Filled Tarts should be served on the day they are made.

The Phyllo Tart Shells will stay crisp (unfilled) in an airtight container for 2-3 days. The Strawberry Banana Cream filling will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.




- The Recipe -




Strawberry Banana Cream Tarts:


Yield10 Individual Tarts

Ingredients:
  • Pastry Cream: 325g (1/2 Recipe)
  • Heavy Cream: 150g (0.75 Cup)
  • Bananas, diced: 200g (1.5 - 2 medium Bananas)
  • Strawberries, diced: 200g (Approximately 1 pint)


  • Phyllo Dough: Approximately 10 Sheets
  • Butter, melted: 55g (0.25 Cup / 0.5 Stick)
  • Sugar: for finishing

  • Tarragon, Mint or Basil: for finishing


Directions:

1. Prepare the Pastry Cream and chill it in the refrigerator.

Chef's Note: Pastry Cream can be made in advance and kept, refrigerated, for up to four days.

2. As the Pastry Cream chills, prepare the Phyllo Tart Shells. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 10 six-ounce ramekins by brushing them with melted Butter. If you do not have 10 ramekins, you can bake the Tart Shells in batches.

3. Gently brush a full sheet of Phyllo Dough with melted Butter and then lightly sprinkle it with Sugar. Cut the sheet into squares measuring approximately 5"x5" (you do not need to be exact). Working one at a time, stack five squares into each of the ramekins. Bake the Phyllo Tart Shells at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the Shells to cool in the ramekins. When fully cool, the Phyllo Tart Shells should fall from the ramekins.

Chef's Note: The Phyllo Tart Shells can be prepared in advance and kept, in an airtight container, for up to three days.

4. As the Phyllo Tart Shells cool, prepare the Strawberry Banana Cream filling. Begin by removing the Pastry Cream from the refrigerator and beating it in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until it is smooth. In a separate bowl, whip the Heavy Cream to medium peaks. Fold the Whipped Cream into the Pastry Cream to make a Crème Légère. Begin by "sacrificing" a small amount of the Whipped Cream into the Pastry Cream to lighten the texture, then gently fold the remaining Whipped Cream into the Pastry Cream.

Chef's Note: Do not over-whip the Heavy Cream. The Cream will continue to thicken when you fold it with the Pastry Cream.

5. Prepare the Strawberries and Bananas by cutting them into roughly 1/4" sized pieces. Fold the fruit into the Crème Légère to make the Strawberry Banana Cream.

6. Fill each Phyllo Tart Shell with a heaping spoonful of the Strawberry Banana Cream (approximately 85g per Tart). Finish each Tart with a piece of Strawberry or Banana and either Tarragon, Mint or Basil as Garnish. Serve immediately or store in refrigeration for one day.

Storage:

- Once filled, the Tarts are best served immediately. They can be stored in refrigeration for one day.
- The unfilled Phyllo Tart Shells will stay crisp in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
- The Strawberry Banana Cream will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.


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