This was a really exciting week in class. We learned all about the world of custards and creams. Chef Velasco taught us about the two types of custards that are used to make all of those desserts that we find so delicious. The general definition of custard is the liquids thickened or gelled by the heated coagulation of egg proteins. The two types of custards that people make are stirred and baked. The desserts that are familiar to us that fall under the baked category are rice pudding, cheesecake, flan, crème brulee and surprisingly quiche. The stirred category has desserts that many of us have probably never made, but most likely eat quite often. These desserts are pastry cream, creme augliase and lemon curd. In class we made a cheesecake and all three deserts found under the stirred category.
We started the week with a lemon meringue tart. We first had to start with the crust and we used a shortbread crust recipe called pate sucree (recipe can be found at the bottom of page). We creamed together the butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer for 2 to 3 minutes while also scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is being combined. We then slowly added in the flour until completely combined. Once mixed we put the eggs in one at a time and mixed again until combined. We wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerated until our next class.
When we met again in class we took out our dough and rolled it out large enough to fit into a 9 inch pie pan. We then began making the lemon curd. We put our eggs, sugar and lemon juice into a stainless steel bowl and placed it over a double boiler. We whisked the ingredients together until the mixture became as thick as sour cream or a hollandaise sauce. Once completed we put the mixture into a stand mixer and began slowly but evenly adding in the butter followed by the lemon zest. We poured the lemon curd into our tart crust and placed in the refrigerator to let it set.
While our tart was setting, we started the meringue. For this tart we used a Swiss meringue recipe. There are two other types of meringues as well which are French and Italian. For the French meringue you have to use double parts sugar to egg whites and whisk until fluffy followed by baking. The Italian meringue is used by making a hot sugar syrup and cooking it until 240 degrees and then whisking it into the egg whites. For the Swiss meringue you combine the sugar and eggs together in a bowl and place it over a double boiler.
When making any meringues, you have to be sure that all of your ingredients are very clean. The smallest amount of fat can alter the finished product. We whisked the mixture over the heat until by feeling with your finger to the bottom of the bowl, you could no longer feel sugar granules. We took this mixture and put it into a stand mixer and whisked on high to cool it down and to reach stiff peaks. Once your tart is set (no longer jiggles when shook) pipe some meringue on top and place under a broiler until browned.
While I may not always be stoked about sweet food, this tart was wonderful. It was tangy and sweet. Definitely would recommend it for a nice weeknight dessert.
The second dessert I really enjoyed making and wish to share with you was the pastry cream. Pastry cream can be found in almost all fruit tarts, which is precisely what we used it for. We first combined the corn starch and 2 ounces of sugar together. In a pot we put the milk and the other 2 ounces of sugar and brought it to a boil. To the cornstarch and sugar mixture we added the eggs and whisked together. We then took the hot milk mixture and slowly tempered it into the egg mixture.
Once completely combined, we put the mixture over the heat and boiled for 1 minute so that the starch can be cooked out. The mixture will start to clump, don’t be nervous, this is what is supposed to happen. Use a rubber spatula to mix with at this point and keep stirring. Once thickened remove from heat and pour onto plastic wrap. You can cover a sheet pan with plastic wrap to make it a little easier. You also want to cover the cream in plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Place the pan into the refrigerator and wait for it to cool completely. You can use the same pate sucre recipe to make small tarts to place the pastry cream into. Then pick out some of your favorite fruits and have some fun with it!
I hope everyone enjoys these recipes but more than that I hope you try them! Don’t forget to share with me if you do and feel free to ask any questions. Bon Apetit!
8 oz butter
3 oz sugar
2.25 oz eggs
12 oz pastry flour
3.5 oz eggs
2.5 oz sugar
½ tsp lemon zest
5.5 oz butter
2.5 oz lemon juice
2 oz egg whites
4 oz sugar
2 oz sugar
16 oz milk
12 oz corn starch
2 oz sugar
1 oz butter
.25 oz vanilla X