There are many things that can make one happy.
Eating a freshly baked warm croissant from your favourite bakery.
Or snuggling up in your pjs re-watching your all time favourite movie on a cold, rainy day.
All those things make me very happy but nothing quite as happy as baking my favourite tart from Bourke Street Bakery.
The anticipation of eating these brûlée tarts once again made me giddy with excitement over the two days while I was preparing them. I can safely say that the anticipation and wait is more than worth it once your teeth cracks that layer of burnt sugar.
I used my own pâte sucrée (sweet pastry) recipe instead of the pâte brisée (sweet shortcrust pastry) used by Bourke Street bakery. It’s a personal choice: crumbly vs flakey, you decide. If you choose to use a pâte brisée, do go ahead with Bourke Street bakery’s pâte brisée’s recipe. It’s foolproof.
The vanilla crème brûlée custard needs time in the fridge to thicken and hold up so it is essential to leave it in the fridge overnight as indicated. It is not difficult to make this but it takes patience and lots of whisking.
The finishing touches of this tart is important – ensure that your custard is filled to the brim of the tart shell and ensure a smooth, even surface by using a small palette knife to flush the custard to the edges. This will allow you to blowtorch the sugar on a nice, even surface.
Oh, and another tip, you might want to blowtorch your sugar on those tarts quickly otherwise, some of them may just find their way into some hungry tummies even before that extra layer of burnt sugar. Some of my tarts were doomed to that fate.
I was a happy lark when I was baking these tarts.
Fast-forward to a day later, I was even happier biting into it. I think I ate
two three of these tarts at a go.
Burnt sugar, smooth and luscious custard jam packed with vanilla, strawberry puree, crumbly tart shell… this is the stuff my happy dreams are made of.
Recipe: Bourke Street Bakery’s vanilla brûlée tarts with strawberry puree
Makes 40 small tarts (5 cm diameter) or 20 x 8 cm tarts (as recommended in the recipe)
Recipe from Bourke Street Bakery: The ultimate baking companion
For the vanilla crème brûlée custard
720ml cream (35% fat)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
10 egg yolks
80g caster sugar, plus extra for blowtorching
For the strawberry purée (below is the quantity of half the recipe. Even so, I still had leftover puree)
125g fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
60g caster sugar
1. To make the strawberry purée, put the strawberries and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate until needed.
2. To make the crème brûlée custard, put the cream into a saucepan, scrape the seeds of a vanilla bean into the cream and add the bean. Bring to the boil over high heat. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and set aside for about 10 minutes.
3. Place the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl and use a whisk to combine. Add the sugar and continue whisking for about 30 seconds, or until the sugar has dissolved.
4. Pour the slightly cooled cream through a fine sieve, discarding the vanilla bean, then pour the cream into the egg yolk mixture, stirring well to combine.
5. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water, and continue stirring with a whisk for about 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and thick, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula. It is important to keep stirring at all times or the mixture will curdle.
6. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk briskly for about 2 minutes to cool it quickly. Over the next 1 hour, whisk the mixture every 10 minutes until cooled.
7. Use a rubber spatula to clean the sides of the bowl thoroughly and place plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture; refrigerate overnight to set.
8. To assemble tarts, spoon about 3/4 teaspoon of strawberry purée in the centre of the base of each tart shell. Pipe custard into the tart shells with a piping (icing) bag fitted with a plain nozzle – you should just slightly overfill the filling in each one.
9. With a small palette knife, scrape the custard to be flush with the top of the tart shell. Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
10. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon caster sugar (as evenly as possible, covering all the custard) onto the top of the custard and burn with a blowtorch until it caramelises. I find that it is best to refrigerate the tarts for a little after that (just in case the heat from the blowtorch melts the custard). If you don’t have a blowtorch the tarts are still very tasty without the extra sugar and burning.