Last month was Dad’s birthday. Which means I’m back to my birthday cake making duties. Deciding what to make often is the biggest challenge when it comes to making birthday cakes. Asking the VIP what they want, I often get “whatever you want to make for me”. It’s tough to choose the right cake for the right person. And I can tell you how tough.
I often look to magazines, TV Shows and cook books for inspiration. For this cake, I was watching a New Zealand cooking show and they were making beignets (French donuts) that were stuffed with stewed apples and rolled in cinnamon. Seemed pretty straight forward, so I thought to try that. But wait! Dad doesn’t like cinnamon. Okay, let’s try raspberries and topped with white chocolate and rolling in macadamia nut meal. Then suddenly I remembered, Dad LOVES custard. So I'll stuff it with custard! Ok that's like profiteroles! I was settled with that plan… so I thought. I decided to make the custard on one day, then the beignets, and then stuff them on the next day. I decided to use the custard (Crème pâtissière) recipe based on SBS’s website, from their croquembouche recipe. Without any regard for the amount of ingredients being used, I ended up with a lot of custard! What do I do with a tonne of custard? Make a TART!
So here we are! After considering 3 different recipes – this is my fruit and custard tart. Suffice to say my family demolished the tart. So I take it as a good sign.
The base is an almond meal base – like my New York Baked Cheesecake.
1 litre milk
175g white sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
2 eggs plus 4 egg yolks
95g cornflour, sifted (I ran out of cornflour while making this so it was a 50/50 cornflour and custard powder)
1 1/2 cups almond flour/meal
1 1/8 cup plain flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
135g butter, chilled and chopped
5 kiwi fruits
Whatever other fruit that takes your fancy. Suggestions include: raspberries, passion-fruit, blueberries, peaches, rock-melon, honey dew, mango, pineapple, figs.
1. Combine the milk, a quarter of the sugar, vanilla and butter in a large saucepan and heat gently until hot (not boiling), then remove from the heat.
2. Whisk the remaining sugar with the eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl until pale. Add cornflour and a little of the hot milk and whisk well. Whisk this mixture into the hot milk and return the saucepan to medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook for around 3 to 5 minutes, until thick, smooth and glossy. Transfer to a clean bowl to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease base and sides of a large tart tin with melted butter.
4. Place almond meal, flour, sugar and butter into a bowl. Rub mixture with your fingertips. You can also use a cake mixer with the dough hook attachment. The mixture will form coarse breadcrumbs. You know this mixture is ready when you squeeze a handful in your hand and it stays that shape.
5. Place the base mixture in the tin and press gently with fingers to line the tin until even and then smooth out with the back of the spoon. I suggest doing the sides first before you press down the base. Bake for about 15 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
6. Pour cooled custard into baked base. Smooth out with a bake of a spoon or spatula.
7. Slice up fruit and arrange accordingly. Some like to pile the fruit high. Others prefer more custard, so less fruit.
8. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar.
Note: I had a little leftover pastry and custard, so I make a few little ones too.