Sammy the Seal

Lime custard tart with poached apple slices

In delicious on Saturday, 31 December, 2011 at 23:30

lime custard apple tarts

(Subject to editing, I just wanted to get the gist of it up before forgetting what I did.)

I like my new tart pans. So I used a different dough, instead of the flaky pie one. I’ve made it before, but into cookies. The dough process is quicker and easier than with standard flaky pie dough, and, being sweeter, it’s supposed to go better with tart (in both senses) fillings, like lime.

10 T butter, cold but slightly softened
½ c superfine sugar
1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
½ t salt
2 c flour

I cut the butter into ½-inch slices, whipped a couple of minutes until fluffy, then added the sugar and creamed them both for a couple of minutes. Then I beat in the egg mix, switching to a whisk as the mixture became more liquid, another couple of minutes or so. Then I sifted the salt and flour into the eggs/sugar/butter and stirred just until the flour was completely incorporated, and I kneaded and shaped it together just a little, before flattening, flouring, wrapping in plastic wrap, then refrigerating for at least 30 minutes.

(While the dough chilled, I went shopping, then, upon taking it out to thaw for half an hour, I made lemon pudding, which I won’t talk about just yet.)

Once thawed, I rolled the dough out, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick, and carefully draped it over the large pan, fitting the dough from the center out. The edge of a pan is fine, which acts like a knife in removing the excess dough. I pressed on the edge, which cut off the overhanging dough, and ran the rolling pin over the edge to smooth it out. I re-formed the rest of the dough, rolled it out, and repeated for the two small pans, doing the simultaneously. (There was a lot of leftover dough, so I rolled it into a log to make cookies out of later.) I weighed down the shells with dry beans, baked them at 400° for 15 minutes, then removed the parchment paper with beans, and baked for another 10-15 minutes. Then I sat them all on a rack to cool.

While cooling, I made the lime custard filling:

5 eggs
¾ – 1 c sugar
1 c whipping cream
zest and juice of 3 limes (about 2/3 – 3/4 c)

I whisked together the eggs and sugar until combined, then added the cream, zest and juice until well combined. Then I poured the custard into the shells. (The shells should still be a little warm, which is fine. Being empty shells, they’ll cooled quickly enough.) Since the mixture was still thin and runny, I filled the shells only partially to prevent custard sloshing out during the transfer. Then, once on the rack inside the oven, I used a measuring cup to pour the rest in the shells, filling as close as I could to the rim. Then I baked at 300° for 40 minutes. (I left the shells in the pan, I don’t know what happens if you take them out and place them on a baking sheet.)

While that was baking I poached some apple slices in a sugar syrup bath, which I learned is better than just water. Water alone causes the fruit to plump up and lose some sweetness, as water diffuses into the fruit and sugar out of it, also risking mushiness. The sweeter the sugar syrup/water, the sweeter the fruit will turn out, so adjust accordingly. Anyway:

3 c water
1.5 c sugar
3 small-to-medium-sized apples, unpeeled

I whisked together the sugar and water in a saucepan and put on medium heat, until the sugar dissolved. Then, with the aid of an apple corer, I cut and cored one apple at a time (to minimize oxidation) into 8 wedges, and cut each wedge into four thin slices (since their time in the oven will be limited) and place them in the bath. I simmered them for 10-15 minutes, then fished them out with a slotted spoon into a colander. By the time 40 minutes was up, I took the tarts out (the custard should be mostly set) and arranged the apple slices, then returned the tarts to the oven for another 20-25 minutes. Then I set them out to cool on a rack for a couple of hours, then covered them with foil and sent them to the refrigerator. They’re so pretty, I don’t want to cut into them.

The mother:

lime custard apple tart mother
lime custard apple tart mother 2
lime custard apple tart mother 3
The babies:
lime custard apple tart baby
lime custard apple tart baby 2
lime custard apple tart baby close-up
It came out pretty well, the only thing I’ll second-guess is that maybe I should have poached the apple slices immediately after the filled tarts went in, as I waited about 20 minutes or so. I wanted to give them more time to release steam and dry out more, as the finished slices looked too moist for my liking. Or maybe I should have increased the oven temperature for the last 20 minutes, though altering temperature is always a big move. But what the hell, I’m never completely satisfied anyway. Based on taste, though, I am. I’m pretty proud of this one.
Okay, so much for not cutting. We were hungry, plus this way I can photograph the cross-section.
lime custard apple tart dissected
lime custard apple tart slice
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