Triple Cream Tarte
This pretty tart combines hazelnut crust and triple cream filling. Triple cream cheese is mildly salty and has 60% or more butterfat; it makes a creamy, rich filling. The tart is simply dusted with confectioner’s sugar before it is cut. Pretty swirls of fruit purees and pieces of fresh fruit would be perfect accompaniments. Bring all ingredients for the crust to room temperature before proceeding. For the filling, you will make a pastry cream, incorporate the cheese, then make an Italian meringue and lighten the cheese mixture with the meringue.
- Hazelnut Crust
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup
- Confectioner's Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Egg Yolk - 1 large, lightly beaten
- All Purpose Flour - 1-1/2 cups
- Almond Flour - 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
- Hazelnuts - 1/4 cup, coarsely chopped toasted
- Salt - Pinch
- Triple Cream Filling
- Whole Milk - 1 cup
- Sugar - 5 tablespoons plus 1 cup
- Vanilla Beans - 1
- Eggs - 4 large, separated
- Cornstarch - 1/2 ounce (about 2 tablespoons)
- Triple cream cheese - 3 oz, such as Explorator or St. Andre, cut in pieces
- Light Corn Syrup - 1 tablespoon
- Confectioner’s sugar - For dusting
- Seasonal Fruit - 3 cups, sliced
To prepare the crust: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioner’s sugar together at low speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, hazelnuts, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Mix just until the dough holds together. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it up, and form it into a flattened ball. Chill for at least 1 hour, until firm.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle between two pieces of plastic wrap. Remove the plastic and fit the dough into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fold any excess dough back into the pan, building up the sides of the tart; trim the top level with the top of the tart pan. Prick all over with a fork to prevent air bubbles from forming. Bake the crust until it is golden all over, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack to cool, then remove the sides of the pan, leaving the tart on the base. Let cool completely. The shell may be made up to 8 hours ahead of time, or made and frozen, then brought back to room temperature before proceeding.
To make the filling: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 3/4 cup of the milk and 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the mixture, then drop in the pods. Bring the mixture to a simmer. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, and another 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and pick out the vanilla bean pods. Whisk a little of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to warm it. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly as you combine them. Return the custard to medium-low heat and cook, stirring gently with a whisk, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon. Add the cheese and whisk until smooth. Strain the custard through a sieve into a deep bowl.
In a small heavy saucepan, combine the remaining cup of sugar, corn syrup, and a splash of water. Cook over medium heat without stirring until it reaches 245 F on a candy thermometer (firm ball stage). Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment, whip the egg whites until they are light and fluffy and stand in medium peaks. When the sugar reaches temperature, set the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the sugar into the whites, running it down the side of the bowl in a slow, steady stream. Once the sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is cool, about 5 minutes. This mixture is called Italian meringue.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Transfer the meringue to a large bowl and fold in the triple cream custard in three additions. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe the filling into the tart shell. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is set. remove from the oven; let cool. The tart could be filled ahead of time, then covered with plastic wrap, sealed in foil, and frozen; bring it back to room temperature before baking.
To serve: Dust with confectioner’s sugar and slice into individual wedges. Serve with seasonal fruit.