Raspberry tartlets – pistachio crème pâtissière

In search of new inspiration I got myself a few Pâtisserie books. One of then is Philippe Conticini’sSensations“. It is full of amazing recipes, creativity and complicated combinations, which happen, for some of them, to be a real challenge.

Having friends over for diner is always the perfect opportunity to practice and observe the reaction of our guests. I think it was pretty well received!

This recipe offers a different flavor and consistency provided by roasted pistachio paste,  mascarpone and a salty breton (from Brittany, France) cookie base. It isn’t really difficult to make although I got confused by the pistachio paste and praline. I have seen a few different recipes for the paste. Some uses nuts and icing sugar in the same amount (ex: 125g pistachios – 125g icing sugar) and mix them, or some roast the nuts, make a syrup and add almond powder and mix the whole thing.
The praline is nuts (roasted or not) added to a syrup in a pan and caramelised. Once caramelised it is mixed in an electric mixer to give a paste, the praline.
Crème pâtissière is the base of many french pastries. It uses milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, eggs and butter.

The amounts for the praline and paste are too much, but you can freeze them and re-use them of other desserts. That way you don’t have to go through the whole process again.

This dessert – a sweet and salty dough, a round nutty pistachio cream and the acidity of the raspberries, is special for that the dough isn’t usually used for tartlets but are enjoyed as they are with coffee and the presentation makes it pretty fancy.

Pistachio Praline (150g)

90g pistachios (non salty)
60g sugar
15g water

1. In a pan bring the water and sugar to a boil. When the temperature reaches 115c° add the pistachios.
2. Mix well. The sugar will crystallize and become white. carry on mixing for about 20 min until the sugar starts getting brown.
3. Place the mixture on a cutting board to cool. Once cold mix them with an electric mixer.

Pistachio Paste

125g pistachio (skinless and unsalted)
175 ml water
60g sugar
30g almond powder
2  drops almond essence (optional)

1. Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet. Let roast for 10 minutes or until slightly colored. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Make the syrup: add the water and the sugar in a pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook for 5 min. Pour the syrup on to the pistachios and let the mixture cool.
3. Pour the mixture in a mixer. Add the almond powder to it and mix again.

Pistachio Crème pâtissière:

60g pistachio praline
190g semi-skimmed milk
20g liquid cream
10g flour
10g Maizena (starch)
40g  sugar
2 egg yolks
20g gelatine preparation (20gr gelatine powder+100gr cold water. Mix well and let cool in the fridge until used)
20g pistachio paste
60g butter
25g mascarpone

The day before, make the pistachio praline.
Notes: For the ones who have never used gelatin. To soften the gelatin soak it in water for 20 min. Press out the water with the hands. Place it in a pan and let it melt on low heat. When you add it to a cream, whip continuously so that you get lumps.

1. Bring to a boil the milk and cream, put aside as soon as it boils.
2.
In a bowl whip the egg yolks and sugar until very creamy and “white”.
3.
When the sugar has dissolved, add the flour and Maizena, mix well to obtain an homogenous paste. Pour half the milk-cream onto paste, mix again and pour it back in the pan with the rest for the milk.
4.
Bring it to a boil for 2 to 3 min while mixing continuously with a whip.
5.
Once the cream has thickened set it aside. Add the gelatin. Mix well, then add the pistachio paste, the praline and the butter.
6.
Place the cream in a dish to cool and cover it with a cling film. Let it rest 30 min in the fridge.
7.
Once it’s cold, whisk the mascarpone 5 min with the cream.

Sablé breton dough:

125g flour
175g salty butter (take out of the fridge 2 hours before use)
90g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
80g almond powder
a pinch fleur de sel
Muffins tins.

1. On medium speed, whip the icing sugar, the almond powder and the butter (very soft).
2.
Once this is well mixed, add the egg yolks, the flour and the fleur de sel.
3.
Fill up the tins up to the third of the height.
4.
Preheat the oven on 170C°.  Bake for 8 min, take the tins out of the oven. Using a cork, press it in the middle of the dough to form a hollow space into the dough and bake another 7 min until golden.
5.
Once they are ready, take them out to cool, turning them upside down (the hollow side down).

Make the tartlets:

1. Using a piping bag or a teaspoon, generously fill the tartlets with the cream.
2. Place the raspberries on the tartlets and powder them with icing sugar.

Raspberry tartlets – pistachio crème pâtissière

Apple Tart with an almond-pistachio cream

THE apple pie. THE ultimate apple pie, differing from the typical but still delicious amandine apple pie, or the puff pastry based apple pie, the cream apple pie, tarte tatin classic etc.. This one would have to be on the top of the list – for now.

I combined this recipe (in french) a pistachio praline and almond cream pie to the Pierre Hermé sweet dough.
This is a different but also slightly heavier version – crunchy boscop apples, the tastes and textures of the creams, while melting, divide to then develop alongside and meet the round crunchy almond dough.

It is definitely worth a try, it’s not difficult to make and you can freeze the creams as well as the dough.

Sweet dough à la Pierre Hermé

Ingredients (for 4 24cm pies)
500g flour type 45
300g soft butter
190g icing sugar
60g almond powder
2 eggs
4 pinches Fleur de Sel
1/2 tbsp vanilla powder or half a vanilla pod

1. Cut the butter in cubes and mix it until soft.
2. In order, add : the icing sugar, almond powder, salt, vanilla, the eggs then the flour.
3. Mix it until it shapes a ball. Stop right away. If you over work the dough it will lose its crunchiness.
4. Share the dough into 4 pieces. Roll the dough in cling film and keep it in the fridge for 4 hours.

Notes: You can easily freeze the rest and take it out a few hours before baking.
The resting time is essential to the consistency of the dough so that it stays “flexible” and doesn’t break nor shrink while baking.

Pistachio paste

125g pistachio (skinless and unsalted)
175 ml water
60g sugar
30g almond powder
2  drops almond essence (optional)

1. Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet. Let roast for 10 minutes or until slightly colored. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Make the syrup: add the water and the sugar in a pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook for 5 min. Pour the syrup on to the pistachios and let the mixture cool.
3. Pour the mixture in a mixer. Add the almond powder to it and mix again.

Almond cream

100g almond powder
100g  sugar
100g unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
5 cl dark rum (optional)

1. In a bowl work the sugar and the butter.
2. Add the egg yolks, mix until you get an homogenous paste.
3. Add the almond powder and the rum, mix again.
4. Put aside in the fridge.

Make the Tart

5/6 large apples (I used boscop apples for their cooking resistance)

1. Spread the dough onto the pie tin with the pastry roll or using your hands.
2. Stir together the almond paste and 3-4 tsp pistachio paste. Spread onto the dough. Put the thinly sliced apples on the top, sprinkle roasted pistachios and bake for 35 min on 160 C° or until the apples golden.
3. Let the pie cool down before taking it out of the tin.

You can heat up some apricot jam in a pan and brush it onto the pie to look shiny.  I used some sugar cane syrup, not as sweet and color less.

Apple Tart with an almond-pistachio cream