Well it would seem that I’m on a bit of a tart kick. They’re just so nostalgic and make me think of family reunions or town hall get togethers, weddings, and special occasions. Love that. There’s something so beautiful and classic about a tart. The shortbread crust, the pastry cream, the fruit and the endless flavour opportunities. And they’re such a treat.
Even though I’m trying to remove wheat from our diet, the occasional treat is allowed, but it has to be good. It has to be worth it…and tarts definitely are! I’m actually going to try to make a wheat free crust, using almond flour…I think it will be great…stay tuned for that.
Anyway, when I was thinking of different flavours of pastry cream, I immediately thought of maple. Thanks to my Dad, I just so happened to have 4 cans of pure Quebec maple syrup in my pantry just waiting to be used in some delicious concoction. So I made some Maple Cream. Oh my deliciousness.
Maple + shortbread crust = delish.
The maple flavour in these tarts is not overpowering. You actually taste it more in the aftertaste…a nice maple finish. But they are sweet, and definitely need a fruit topping. I put some pears on ours only because that’s what I had around, but you could add any fruit that you like: berries, bananas, even toasted nuts.
Maple Cream Tarts
This recipe makes 6, 3 inch tarts, or 1, 10 inch tart.
The Shortbread Crust:
- 11/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup butter (cut into chunks)
- 1 egg yolk
- 6 inch mini 3 tart pans (or 1 large tart pan)
The Maple Cream:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp pure maple syrup (split)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean (split down the centre to expose the seeds)
The Shortbread Crust:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- In a food processor, process the flour, sugar and salt for about 10 seconds.
- Then add the chunks of butter and process until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- Add the egg yolk and process again until the egg is thoroughly combined.
- If you are making mini tarts (tartlets), separate the mixture into 6 â 3 inch tart pans, and press the dough into the molds, making the sides slightly higher than the centre. Bake for 12-15 minutes, making sure to prick them with a fork several times, as the dough tends to puff up. Watch them carefully, as they go from not done to overcooked very quickly!
- If you are making one large tart, press the mixture into a 10 inch tart pan (making the sides slightly higher than the centre) and bake for about 15-18 minutes. Again make sure to prick the tart with a fork several times while baking, and watch it carefully.
The Maple Cream:
- Using a mixer, beat together the sugar, 2 tbsp of the maple syrup, cornstarch and egg yolks until the mixture is thick and pale yellow.
- In a small saucepan combine the milk and the vanilla bean, bring to a simmer. Then remove the vanilla bean.
- Pour about half of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, and stir.
- Then return this milk/egg mixture to the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan, and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the custard is thick and slightly bubbly. Make sure to whisk constantly so that the mixture doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the remaining 2 tbsp of maple syrup.
- Cover the custard with a sheet of parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming, then it set aside to cool.
Putting the Tarts Together:
- Once the tarts and maple cream have cooled completely, fill the centre of the tarts with a scoop of the cream.
- Top with fruit of your choice.
So do you love tarts? Do you have a tried and true flavour you make? Leave a link and share with everyone what tarts you’re whipping up in your kitchen!