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Fruit Tart with Armagnac and Vanilla Bean Crème Pâtissière

Ever since I was a little girl, I can only ever remember my father ordering a fruit tart whenever we went out. He loves fruit. So this year instead of a traditional cake for his birthday, we decided a large fruit tart would be perfect. And it was. As it is the middle of winter the berry selection is non existent so defrosting berries is a perfect way to give your tart that summer look and taste. Ingredients Sweet Short Pastry 3 c plain flour 250 g unsalted butter 1/2 c icing sugar 3-4 tbsp cold water Amagnac and Vanilla Crème 500 ml milk 1 vanilla pod and seeds 1 egg 3 egg yolks 55 g plain flour, sifted 75 g caster sugar 1 tbsp Amagnac Fruit Selection Fresh Strawberries, Red Grapes, Green Grapes, Kiwifruit, Nectarine, Passionfruit, Naval Orange Defrosted Raspberries, Blueberries Tinned Apricot Halves Apricot jam Mint leaves Icing sugar For the pastry, combine flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor. Blitz on and off until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Slowly add water until a dough forms, do not over mix. You may not need all the water. Shape dough into a disc, cover with glad wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 4mm thick and the shape of the tin you will use. I used a rectangular tart tin 35.5 x 13 cm. Feel free to use a round one. Carefully place pastry into case and press in and up over the sides. Trim edges. Prick the base. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with dried beans or pasta. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and gently lift out beans and paper. If you find that the paper sticks to the pastry, pop it back into the oven for another 3-5minutes. It should come away clean. Place empty pastry case back in the oven for a further 10 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Allow to cool completely before removing tin.

For the crème pâtissière, place the milk and vanilla in a saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly. In a separate bowl beat egg, yolks, flour and sugar until smooth and creamy. Slowly pour milk into egg mixture and whisk at the same time until combined and smooth. Pour mixture back into saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Stir continuously until it begins to thicken. Stir through Amagnac. Remove from heat. Place glad wrap over the top of the custard to stop a skin forming while it cools. Allow to cool completely before filling pastry case.

To arrange the tart, place pastry case on a flat surface. Pour in custard cream and smooth flat, ensuring all corners are filled in. Arrange the fruit however you want. I would start with the larger pieces of fruit like the apricot halves, strawberries and nectarines. Carefully arrange the remaining fruit around these. Melt 2 tbsp apricot jam with a little water. Use a pastry brush to wash jam over fruit to create glossiness. Keep in fridge prior to serving. Serve. Enjoy!

Super special French Apricot and Lavender jam

(Truffle - $12.95)

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