Whenever I make pastry cream or 'Crème Pat' as it's commonly known, I always have a bit of a giggle and think of my foodie pal Lisa Falkner. Lisa was hosting the stage at BBC Good Food Show and I was the chef giving the audience tips on how to make my MasterChef-esque mango trifle. A key element of the dish was to make a Crème Pat and no matter how many times I did the demo (I think about eight times over five days) it always turned into a yellow congealed globular mess! I thought to myself, there has to be an easier way of making this, not only to save myself the embarrassment on stage but also to make my life easier in the kitchen!
I had a bit of a play with my original recipe whereby I whisk together corn starch and eggs, heat milk then slowly introduce the egg mixture and flavouring, I thought I'd have a go at making an easy Crème Pat without the stress. I've figured it out and it works so well. This recipe I made at the weekend for the family and it is full of lovely middle eastern flavouring such as orange blossom, almonds and figs. A perfect autumnal dessert that has a wow factor with both flavour and presentation. I hope you enjoy it!
Fig, Orange Blossom and Almond Tart
To make the pastry cream:
2 medium free range organic eggs - Yolk only
25g unrefined golden caster sugar
450ml whole milk
1tbsp orange blossom
1 pre made sweet pastry case (you can buy these from any supermarket in the baking aisle)
4 figs cut into quarters
6 strawberries sliced in half
handful of toasted flaked almonds
a few sprigs of lemon verbena
200ml whipping cream whipped to a dropping consistency
Using a saucepan over a low to medium flame, add the egg yolks, milk, cornflour, sugar, orange blossom and cook gently for around five to seven minutes until smooth and thick. Do not let the pastry cream boil.
Strain the cream through a sieve and allow the pastry cream to cool for around two hours. In order to stop the pastry cream developing a skin a great tip is to cover the cream directly with a piece of cling-film as it's cooling.
Once the pastry cream is cool, gently fold in the whipping cream and orange blossom.
Fill the pastry case with the pastry cream, top with fruit, almonds, lemon verbena and serve.