Creamy custard on a sweet, buttery crust, topped with juicy grapes lightly dusted with sugar.
1 1/4 cups (187 g) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (237 ml) milk
1 vanilla bean
1 thick strip of lemon zest
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup (65 g) powdered sugar, sifted
medium-sized, seedless green grapes
Add flour, sugar, and salt to your food processor and mix until combined. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until you get small crumbles, about 10-15 pulses.
Add in the egg and vanilla, and pulse until it just starts to clump together into large clumps (not to the point of becoming one ball of dough). The dough should stick together without crumbling if you press it together.
On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough into one big ball, then flatten it to make a thick disk. Plastic wrap it and leave it in the fridge for an hour or so. (You could even leave it for up to a couple days).
When you are ready to prepare the tart crust, set the dough out to soften slightly before rolling it out. I found that working with the cooled dough quite quickly was key to the smoothest result. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a roughly 11-inch round, then transfer it into a 9" tart pan.
Trim the edges down to the edge of the pan. Remove any excess flour on the surface of the dough.
Wrap the tart pan with plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer for 30 minutes. (This step helps prevent shrinking.)
Preheat oven to 375.°
Remove the plastic wrap and then cover the tart crust in aluminum foil. Fill it with evenly distributed pie weights, then bake it on the centre rack for 20 minutes.
Remove the tart crust from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Reduce the oven to 280° and remove the foil and weights from the crust.
Cut open the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds. Discard the pod.
In a saucepan, bring cream, milk, vanilla bean seeds, some freshly ground nutmeg, and strip of lemon zest to a boil.
In a large bowl, stir together the egg yolks and powdered sugar until the mix begins to lighten in colour. Pour the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, continuously stirring all the while. Strain the custard into another bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes, then skim any froth from the surface.
Pour the custard into your tart crust. [If you find it difficult to transport the liquid-filled crust back into the oven, just fill it to an easy-to-move level and then top it up once safely on the oven rack.] Bake the tart for 40 minutes or so until it is mostly set with just the slightest jiggle in the middle when you tap the sides.
Set the tart on a rack to cool. You can trim the edges of the crust down to the filling if they are sticking out. Cool the tart completely before decorating.
Cut the rounded edges off of each grape, then cut the remaining middle section in half. You want to have the slices be similar in thickness. Set the slices onto the tart in a ring around outer edge. You will work from the outside in. Set the second ring of slices slightly resting on the slices behind them. Continue this with the subsequent rings to get the layered effect. Set a tiny baby grape at the very centre.
Sprinkle the grapes with a dusting of superfine super. Store refrigerated until you are ready to enjoy.
Keywords: grape custard tart