I remember the very first time I had Creme Brulee. A friend of Mr. Fits (a very fancy friend) order it for me while we where all out for dinner at a little restaurant in Pasadena. I was young, in my last year of college, and I was too embarrassed to say that I had no idea what Creme Brulee was. So I waited. Every dessert flanked waiter who came within ten feet of my table was given a thorough visual molesting as I tried to figure out if what he was carrying was, in fact, Creme Brulee. Is that cake-like thing it? Nope. What about that Chocolate thing in that tiny ceramic pot? hmmm, wrong table. And then it was in front of me. I was intimidated. Do I pick off this thick, hard crust on the top? What do I do? I stalled and waited to see what Fancy Friend did with his. Oh..you crack it open by smashing it with the tip of your spoon. I like dessert that involves very subtle violence. I loved it. The fleeting thought did cross my mind that I would love this vanilla custard with the hardened sugar top in a tart shell. Six years later, I did just that.
This week I wrote another article for the Glendale Examiner on the Montrose Farmers Market. It was there that I discovered that apricots are in the last few weeks of their season. I was so drawn to these huge bins of beautiful pale orange fruit they became the center of my recipe. I wasn’t until I was leaving the market that I noticed the lovely Manilla mangos begging to join the party. I obliged.
Apricot Mango Creme Brulee Tart
1 1/4 cups of flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3-5 tbs ice coldwater
Apricot Mango Filling:
1 cup chopped apricots
1 cup chopped mango
1/4 cup of honey
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp slt
1/4 cup granulated sugar for brulee crust topping
In a food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the cubes of butter and process until combined, about 1-2 minutes. Your dough should resemble course meal. Start with 3 tbs of water, pulse until combined. If the crust doesn’t hold together add more water, a bit at a time, until it does. Dump the dough into a tart pan with a remove-able bottom. Starting with the sides, form the crust inside the pan, trying your best to make it all as even as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a least 3 hours (don’t even think about skipping this step).
Heat your oven to 375.
Once your tart is all chilly cold, remove from the fridge and poke holes in it with a fork.
Place a sheet of parchment paper inside your tart and fill with pie weights. If you don’t have any, dried beans work great. Just don’t forget which beans you’ve used as pie weights and accidentally try to make soup out of them later.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your tart is a light golden brown.
In a pot over medium heat, combine the apricots, mango and the honey. Sprinkle with the cornstarch and stir. If you hate mangos, or apricots or maybe have an undying love for one or the other, this recipe is easily altered. You need 2 cups of chopped stone fruit, you can use whatever ratio of each that you want or 2 full cups of either. You can even sub in some peaches if you wanna get craaaazy. Cook the fruit, stiring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until it is thick and the fruit is broken down a bit. Add to the bottom of the tart crust.
In a bowl, combine the yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk until light and frothy. In a pot, combine the cream, salt and vanilla and heat until steamy but not boiling. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. While you whisk the eggs, slowly, slowly add the cream, whisking until combined. If there are any lumps or “eggy bits” in your cream mixture (possibly because you didn’t let your cream cool down) strain the custard through a mesh strainer. Pour into the tart shell on top of the fruit.
Bake at 300 degrees until the edges are set and the middle is still wobbly (it will continue to set as it cools) about 40-45 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and keep cold until ready to serve. Just before serving, top the tart with an even layer of granulated sugar. Pass the flame of a kitchen torch slowly and evenly over the tart until it’s liquified and a light amber colored. Serve immediately. The sugar crust will start to break down after about an hour.