Amy Green's Fresh Fruit Tart
Treat Your Family to This Delicious Treat
"I haven't met anyone who doesn't love this tart, which makes it a go-to recipe when I have company. It makes preparing a big meal simplier because the entire tart can be assembled a day ahead of time." Amy Green
For the Opera Cream:
Prepare an ice bath to cool down the pastry cream by putting some ice in a bowl large enough to surround the bowl you'll use to store your final product. Cover the ice with water, but don't add so much that it will overflow when the bowl of pastry cream is added. You'll need a whisk, a spatula, a 4-quart or larger stainless steel saucepan, a clean bowl to store the final pastry cream, and plastic wrap.
In the saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of milk and salt to a boil, stirring with the spatula. The milk will start to foam up, so watch it carefully. If you don't way attention, you'll have a mess on your hands. While the coming to a boil, whisk the cornstarch into the remaining 1/2 c milk in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla to the milk and cornstarch mixture and whisk until combined.
Once the milk comes to a boil, temper the egg and milk mixture by pouring about one-third of the boiling milk directly into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Don't stop whisking or your eggs will curdle. Then pour the whole tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the milk, whisking constantly. As it comes to a boil, it will start to look like scrambled eggs. Don't stop whisking or eggs will really scramble.
Once the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, take it off the heat and immediately add the butter while still whisking. Don't stop whisking until all the butter is melted into your pastry cream. Add the agave. Taste the cream, if you want it a littler sweeter, go ahead and add more agave, but do it quickly.
Turn the hot pastry cream into a cream bowl and put plastic wrap directly on the cream. This will keep it from forming a skin. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap to protect it from absorbing any odors while in your refrigerator. Place the pastry cream in the ice bath, then put it, surrounded by the ice bath, in the refrigerator to cool completely.
Once cooled completely combine 1 c heavy cream with 1/8 t powdered white stevia and beat to stiff peaks. In a large bowl, whisk 2 c pastry cream to break it up so it's smooth. Stir 1/4 c whipped cream directly into the pastry cream. Fold in the rest in 2 additions. This opera cream is the consistency of a light mousse. Total heaven.
For the pecan pie crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray and 8 or 9 inch tart pan or pie pan with cooking spray.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pecans and dates until finely chopped. Add the melted butter and process until a dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until light golden brown. The crust will puff slightly. Let the crust cool completely before filling.
Quick Tip: This can be made a day ahead of time, cooled, wrapped, and refrigerated overnight.
For the fresh fruit tart:
Spread the opera cream evenly in the baked pecan pie crust.
Combine the preserves and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer to melt. Strain if necessary to remove any pieces of fruit.
Slice the berries and grapes in half lengthwise. Peel the kiwi, cut them in half, and slice thinly. Peel the oranges and remove the membrane. Lay the slices on paper towels with the cut-sides down to absorb any juices that would otherwise mar the top of your tart. Create an attractive pattern with the fruit with melted preserves to give the tart a professional, finished look. Chill before serving.
Quick Tips: When cutting this tart, use a good-quality, sharp serrated knife and let the knife do the cutting. If you press down into the tart, you'll smash the gorgeous crust.