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Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Ginger is used in Asian desserts as frequently as vanilla is used in Western desserts—it’s as aromatic and flavorful, but far less expensive. When combined with creamy fillings, ginger cuts through the richness for an alluring spiciness that tingles the tongue. You can use ginger pastry cream as a base for any fruit tart but I like the sweet-sour ones, such as berries, kiwis, and citrus fruits.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. To make the dough: Put the all-purpose flour, almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, ginger, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas, about 15 times. With the machine running, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and process just until the dough begins to dump into large pieces, about 30 seconds.
3. Form the dough into two balls, press into 1-inch-thick disks, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour. You will use one disk of dough for this recipe and reserve the other for another. The dough will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator or up to 1 month, well wrapped, in the freezer. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator before use.
4. Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Roll one disk of dough to a 1/8-inch thickness, rotating the circle a quarter turn with each roll. Lightly flour the dough and loosely roll it around the rolling pin, then unroll it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 10-inch tart ring set on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and press it up against the sides. Pierce the dough allover with a fork. Trim off any excess.
5. Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper and bake until the dough is golden brown and dry to the touch, about 13 minutes more. Cool completely on a rack.
6. Meanwhile, make the pastry cream: Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until the sugar is dissolved; set aside. Put the milk, ginger, and salt in a medium saucepan and warm over medium-high heat until bubbles form around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the warm milk to the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan, set over low heat, and cook, whisking constantly and vigorously, until the mixture thickens, about 7 minutes. The cream should stick to the bottom of the saucepan and form a ribbon on the surface when you lift the whisk. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and then the butter until melted and smooth. Transfer the pastry cream to a large bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap, and let it set and thicken at room temperature, about 2 hours. (If you are preparing this ahead of time, refrigerate the cream until ready to use.)
7. Unmold the tart shell and transfer to a serving plate. Remove the ginger from the pastry cream, and spread the cream evenly into the shell, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or a table knife. Arrange the fruit decoratively on top. Mix the jam with 2 teaspoons water, and brush this glaze over the top of the tart. Serve.
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