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fruit Custard Pies and tarts
Custard is a liquid mixture that contains eggs and sets when it is cooked. The best-known custards, such as crème brulée or crème caramel, are made with milk or cream, but custards can also be made with purees of fruit or vegetables—a pumpkin pie, for example, is filled with pumpkin custard. Any fruit can be used to make a fruit custard; the sugar should be adjusted according to how sweet the fruit is. The custard fillings for fruit custard tarts and pies are very similar to fruit curds except that fruit curds are cooked on the stove and usually contain butter, while fruit custard fillings are baked in the oven and contain cream. Though fruit custard tarts or tartlets make fine stand-alone desserts, they can also be used as the base for raw fruit tarts—just arrange berries or other fruit on top.

alsatian apple tart
This is a traditional Alsatian apple tart. You can adapt the recipe to use virtually any fruit. Just cook the fruit on the stove or in the oven before you bake it in a tart surrounded with this simple vanilla custard. The vanilla bean is optional, but it elevates this tart’s flavor into higher realms.
Makes one 9 1 / 2 -inch TarT

1 recipe sweetened basic pie and tart pastry dough (page 131) 3 large apples (1 pound 8 ounces), such as golden delicious or rome
1/ 2 1/ 4

lemon cup butter

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/ 4

cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs 1 cup milk confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Use a 91/ 2-inch tart ring or fluted tart pan. Roll the dough 2 inches larger than the ring or pan and line the tart ring or pan with it (see page 143). Prebake the tart shell (see page 145). Preheat the oven to 325°F. Peel the apples and rub them with the lemon. Halve and core them, and cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges, depending on their size. Put the apples in a nonstick sauté pan with the butter over medium heat. Add the vanilla bean, if using, and gently toss or stir the apples for about 12 minutes, or until they’re a golden brown. Sprinkle the 1/ 4 cup granulated sugar over the apples. Continue to toss or stir for about 5 minutes longer, or until the apple wedges are deep brown on both sides. Be careful not to break them. Remove from the heat. To make the custard, whisk together the eggs and the
1/ 3

cup granulated sugar for about 2 minutes, or until the

mixture gets a little pale. Stir in the milk. If you used the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds in each of the halves and add these to the egg mixture; otherwise, add the vanilla extract. Arrange the apples in the prebaked tart shell and pour the custard mixture over them. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custard sets—when it no longer moves in the middle when you jiggle the sheet pan slightly (don’t move the tart). Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

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Baking

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Ma k in g a n al satian aP P l e tart

1. Sauté the apples in butter with a split vanilla bean (optional). When the apples start to brown, sprinkle over 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar.

2. Continue sautéing until the apples are deep, dark brown on both sides.

3. Arrange the apples in a prebaked tart shell placed on a sheet pan.

4. Whisk together the eggs and 1/3 cup granulated sugar until smooth and add the milk. Pour the mixture into the tart shell.

5. Bake until the custard no longer jiggles when you move the sheet pan gently back and forth.

6. Allow to cool, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Pies, TarTs, and PasTries

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