Recipe from Desserts by Michel Roux (Wiley, 2011)serves 6
These delectable puff tarts are so easy to make. Don't discard the leftover syrup-save it to serve with plain yogurt for breakfast.
- 1lb 10oz (750g) ripe plums or damsons or greengages, or a mixture, washed
- 2 cups (500ml) stock syrup (recipe follows)
- 3 bay leaves
- 13 1/2oz (380g) rough puff pastry (recipe follows)
- 7oz (200g) crème patissière (recipe follows)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Cut the plums in half, remove the pits, then place in a dish. Put the stock syrup and bay leaves into a pan and bring to a boil, then let cool slightly for about 5 minutes. While still hot, pour the syrup over the plums, then set aside to cool.
On a lightly floured counter, roll out the dough to a 1/16 inch (2mm) thickness. Using a 5-inch (12-cm) cutter, cut out 6 circles of dough. Brush a baking sheet with a little cold water, then place the dough circles on the sheet. Chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Take the dough circles from the refrigerator and prick each one with a fork 5 or 6 times. Divide the creme patissiere between the circles, spreading it evenly, but leaving a 1/2-inch (1-cm) margin around the edge. Carefully and thoroughly drain the plums, reserving the syrup. Arrange them on top of the creme patissiere, skin side up or down as you prefer. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, making sure the dough is properly cooked on the bottom.
Use a palette knife to transfer the tarts to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, boil the reserved syrup in a pan to reduce to a semi-syrupy consistency, then add the lemon juice. Use a brush to coat the plums lightly with the reduced syrup. Place one tart on each plate and serve just slightly warm.
Makes 3 cups (700ml)
- 2 cups (400g) superfine sugar
- 2 oz (50g) liquid glucose or light corn syrup
Combine the sugar, liquid glucose, and 1 1/2 cups (350ml) water in a pan and bring slowly to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 3 minutes, skimming the surface if necessary.
Pass the syrup through a fine strainer or chinois into a bowl and let cool. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Note This basic, light sugar syrup is used to make fruit coulis, sorbets, etc. For a heavy stock syrup, to use in a rich sauce for example, boil the syrup further until reduced by one-third.
Rough Puff Pastry
Makes 2 3/4lb (1.2kg)
- 3 1/2 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
- 1lb 2oz (500g) very cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 tsp (5ml) salt
- Generous 1 cup (250ml) ice-cold water
Heap the flour in a mound on the counter and make a well. Put in the butter and salt and work them together with the fingertips of one hand, gradually drawing the flour into the center with the other hand.
When the cubes of butter have become small pieces and the dough is grainy, gradually add the iced water and mix until it is all incorporated, but don't overwork the dough. Roll it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Flour the counter and roll out the dough into a 16x8-inch (40x20-cm) rectangle. Fold it into three and give it a quarter-turn. Roll the block of dough into a 16x8-inch (40x20-cm) rectangle as before, and fold it into three again. These are the first 2 turns. Wrap the block in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
Give the chilled dough another 2 turns, rolling and folding as before. This makes a total of 4 turns, and the dough is now ready. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, this quick puff pastry dough will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator, and for at least 4 weeks in the freezer.
Makes about 3 1/4 cups/750ml (6-8 servings)
The perfect accompaniment to so many desserts, this classic light, creamy custard can be flavored to taste
- 2 cups (500ml) milk
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (125g) sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 egg yolks
Put the milk, two-thirds of the sugar, and the vanilla bean into a heavy pan and slowly bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar together in a heatproof bowl. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes pale and has a light ribbon consistency
The custard will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
Cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spatula or spoon; do not let it boil or it may curdle. The custard is ready when it has thickened slightly--just enough to lightly coat the back of the spatula.
When you run your finger through, it should leave a clear trace. Immediately take the pan off the heat.
Pour the boiling milk onto the egg yolks, whisking continuously, then pour the mixture back into the pan.
Unless you are serving the crème anglaise warm, pour through a fine strainer or chinois into a bowl set over crushed ice and let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.