Even though I have never been to Ireland, I love Irish food, the hearty, comforting stews, succulent lamb, warm and satisfying potato dishes, and sturdy breads. My girls await with anticipation the celebratory American-Irish meal of corn beef, potatoes, cabbage, and soda bread some time this week and our foggy mornings keep me motivated and eager to tackle the humble feast.
My Irish flag tart probably has as little to do with Ireland as I do, but it is festive, fresh, simple, and rewarding, pairing tart mandarin oranges and fragrant baby kiwi with rich vanilla-scented custard and sweet, ripe bananas. It is a small indulgence, an easy surrender to the world of desserts, a pretty and uncomplicated few forkfuls, just enough to satiate the desire for sweets.
I wish all my Irish and Irish-wannabe friends Happy St. Patrick's Day - you have definitely colored my life with so many unusual and bright hues that it can never be drab and boring.
IRISH FLAG FRUIT TART
Shortbread Pie Crust:
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup water
½ cup orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Fruit: 1 banana, sliced, 1 package (6 oz) baby kiwis, sliced 1 mandarin orange, segmented
Using a hand-held mixer blend butter and sugar together into a paste. Add the egg yolk and mix to combine. Slowly add the flour and knead lightly until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a circle slightly bigger than the pie pan, and using the rolling pin, transfer the dough into the pan. Pat the bottom and sides to adhere to the pan and cut off the excess dough. Spear the bottom with the fork a few times, cover with aluminum foil, fill with pie weights (or dried beans) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes, until it starts turning golden brown.
Using a hand-held mixer, mix the egg yolks and sugar together until combined. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and stir into the egg mixture to form a paste.
Heat the milk on medium temperature until it starts to bubble up around the edges. Remove from the heat and slowly add into eggs and sugar, vigorously stirring to prevent curdling of the eggs. Return to medium heat and cook until boiling, whisking constantly. Once it boils, whisk for another 30-60 seconds to thicken and remove from heat. Immediately stir in the vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent the crust from forming and keep refrigerated until use.
Combine all the ingredients in a small stainless steel pot and heat on medium temperature to thicken slightly.
Pour the cooled pastry cream over the crust and place the fruit decoratively on top. Pour the glaze over the fruit and keep in the fridge until ready to eat.