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Medieval-Style Honey and Saffron Cream Tart

from Luscious Creamy Desserts by Lori Longbottom
Honey and Saffron Cream Tart

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

1 1/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1/3 cup whole milk
3 to 4 tablespoons honey, preferably dark honey
Scant 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in
Lori Longbottom's Luscious Creamy Desserts
from Chronicle Books


When you taste it, you'll see why this tart has been made since the Middle Ages. Try serving it with fruit - raspberries tossed with sugar, roasted apricots or cherries, or sliced ripe figs.

Pastry crusts baked "blind," without a filling, sometimes have a tendency to crack. To remedy that, use a bit of the leftover dough scraps, or make a paste with flour and water, and patch the crust with a thin smear while it's still hot.

Step 1
To make the pastry: Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until well combined. Add the butter and process for 30 seconds, just until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir together the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons water with a fork in a small bowl. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and process for 10 seconds, or just until the dough holds together when you pinch some between your fingers; if necessary, add some or all of the remaining 1 tablespoon water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Shape into a disk, wrap the disk in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or for up to 1 day.

Step 2
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12-inch round. Fold the pastry in half and transfer it to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Unfold the pastry and gently press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan with your fingertips. Trim the overhanging edge of the pastry to 1 inch. Fold the overhang in and press the pastry against the sides of the pan so it extends about 1/4 inch above the rim. Prick the bottom and sides all over with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Step 3
Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Step 4
Press a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil snugly into the bottom and up the sides of the pastry shell and fill with uncooked rice or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and the rice, and bake for minutes longer, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 35O°F.

Step 5
To make the filling: Bring the cream, milk, 3 tablespoons of the honey, the saffron, and salt just to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep, covered, for 15 minutes.

Step 6
Taste the honey mixture and add the remaining 1 tablespoon honey, if desired. Whisk together the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour in the honey mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer set over a medium glass measure or bowl, then pour the filling into the pastry shell.

Step 7
Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. Cool slightly on a wire rack.

Step 8
Remove the side of the pan and serve the tart warm, cut into wedges.

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