Creme Brulee with Citrus, Cardamom and Star Anise

I apologize for the lack of entries lately -- I've been completely invested in spending most of my time with my mom, because she's my favorite.  It's hard to believe that her visit is soon coming to an end, a week to be exact.  The entire situation still seems surreal to me.  I'm hoping that the day of, I don't have a complete mental meltdown and cling to my mother's leg screaming "NO DON'T LEAVE DONT DO IT!" as she's trying to get out of the car to catch her plane, but I'm not making any promises.  ^_^

It's been a blast though -- we've been sharing recipes, she'll cook her Chinese dishes and I'll cook her some French American dishes -- one of her favorites discoveries has been the creme brulee.  She kept Ooooing and AAAaaahing over this recipe so I figure I'd share it with yall, it's pretty epic not gonna lie.  Aside from that she's been feeding me traditional Chinese medicines that make my stomach churn but I take it anyways because apparently it's good for me (or so she claims). It's just unfortunate that most of the concoctions she makes taste like feet...   just kidding mom, you're the best! But seriously, I've spent a lot of time figuring out her secret of staying forever young.  I'll share pictures soon, you'll see what I mean...

One of the first desserts I learned working in at a French restaurant was the Creme Brulee and Souffle.  Souffle is definitely the more temperamental dessert and the failure rate is much higher than creme brulee -- so we'll warm up to that recipe later.  I love this creme brulee recipe because of its soft delicate texture and of course everyone's favorite part: the crunchy burnt sugar on top, hence it's latter name -- burnt cream.   Plus it always adds a dash of sophistication and excitement to any dinner party when you bust out the torch!  I mean seriously guys, who doesn't like a little fire show?

Ingredients for Citrus Cardamom Creme Brulee:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 4 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 260 degrees F (150 degrees C) and line the bottom of a large baking pan with water.  Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, cardamom, citrus zest and 1/4 cup sugar and salt stirring occasionally 4 to 5 minutes, until steam rises. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Pour hot cream into yolks, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until all cream is incorporated. Pour mixture into four 6 oz. ramekins.

Place ramekins in the baking dish with water and cover the whole pan loosely with foil.  , and place dish on oven rack. Pour boiling water into dish to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover whole pan loosely with foil. Bake 60 to 75 minutes in the preheated oven, until custard is just set. Chill ramekins in refrigerator 4 to 6 hours.  Before serving, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of raw sugar over each custard. Use a kitchen torch or oven broiler to brown top, 2 to 3 minutes.

Poached Eggs with Smoked Provolone and Pistou

As I've mentioned before, my mother will be moving back to Shanghai this year -- September 14th to be exact.  I'm picking her up from Houston this weekend where she will come to stay with me and Collin in Dallas before she goes home.

A bittersweet feeling for sure, the child in me screams "DON'T LEAVE! WHAT WILL I DO WITHOUT YOU?" but I know it's for the best.  For years my mother has sacrificed her own personal happiness for mine, I could tell she always missed China.  Her food always evoked her longing -- I remember as a child I'd always complain "AW MAN MA, CHINESE AGAIN??" But now I realize it was one of the few connections she had to home.

Week after week it was always something different -- braised pork belly, sauteed peat shoots, tea smoked duck, herbal chicken soup -- I lived like a king when it came to food, I knew I had it good.  Now that she's leaving, I wanted to keep my mother behind with me, through her recipes.

I really look forward to learning traditional Chinese cuisine and at the same time exposing my mother to the different types of cuisines I make at home.  A month's worth of cooking adventures with my mother in my new kitchen, can life be any better?  I can't wait for everyone to meet her, she is truly the sweetest, cutest and the most talented lady I know.  You'll see :)

I made this healthy breakfast over the weekend -- I love poaching eggs because it's a great alternative to frying and you still get the same delicate texture and of course the best part, the runny yolk.  I got my recipe from Epicurious and made a few minor changes -- I used less oil and used Smoked Provolone.  I really enjoyed the addition of the Pistou, very bold in flavors but light in textures -- a great breakfast for the summer.

Ingredients for Poached Eggs with Pistou: (serves 2)

  • 1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 small garlic clove
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2-inch-thick slices french bread, toasted
  • Smoked Provolone cheese shavings

Puree basil, garlic, and oil in mini processor until very smooth. Season pistou to taste with salt and pepper.

Add enough water to medium skillet to measure 1 1/4 inches. Sprinkle salt generously into water. Bring water to simmer over medium heat. Crack eggs 1 at a time and gently slip into water. Cook until egg whites are just set and egg yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.

Place hot toasts on plates. Top each with Parmesan. Using slotted spoon, transfer 2 eggs, well drained, to each piece of brioche. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Drizzle with some of pistou and serve.

Dover Sole with a Raw Summer Coucous

There are many things in life that are unpredictable -- but there's one thing I've always believed every person is able to control and that is his/her health.  Sure we are inclined to certain genetic factors, however by maintaining a healthy diet, exercise regimen and an overall spiritual well-being we can insure ourselves a better life.  Too often I will see friends and family eating foods that clearly are not beneficial to them, whether it be processed foods like microwavable meals, mystery meats or foods high in sugars and sodium found in candies and snacks to high saturated fats in meats, cheeses and fried foods.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no saint myself. There will be times where there are no other options but the bad, but what can you do? Socially ostracize yourself and only eat at home?  Subjecting yourself to a life of healthy eating but suffer the consequences of lonely solitude?  No not necessarily.  But being conscious of what we put into our bodies is better than living in ignorance, which in this case will not bring you bliss but a myriad of health problems -- high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes just to name a few.

Maybe next time when you go out to eat with friends, opt out for the vegetarian option or maybe a salad (with no dressing). With most lessons in life, prevention is key, the whole "better safe than sorry" shpeal makes a lot more sense now that I'm older.  How can you even imagine enjoying your retirement when you can barely climb up a flight of stairs?  Or not be able to travel on a plane or even a train because of your heart condition?  How can your mind possibly be in a good mood when everything inside your body constantly hurts?  These are all important things we need to think about at an early age, and for those that are older, it is never too late to change.

I received this e-mail this week from Mommy Wells about causes of cancer along with cancer prevention techniques and really wanted to share it with you guys.  The following information was obtained from John Hopkins Research --

  • Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.
  • Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime.
  • When the person's immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.
  • When a person has cancer it indicates the person has nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, but also to environmental, food and lifestyle factors.
  • To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet to eat more adequately and healthy, 4-5 times/day and by including supplements will strengthen the immune system.
  • An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply. 

Cancer Cells Feed On:

  • Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses, but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color Better alternative is Bragg's aminos or sea salt.
  • Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk cancer cells are being starved.
  • Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little other meat, like chicken. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.
  • A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C)
  • Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.
  • Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines becomes putrefied and leads to more toxic buildup.
  • Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

1. No plastic in microwaves.

2. No water bottles in freezer.

3. No plastic wrap in microwave.

Dioxin chemicals cause cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Dr Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital , was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc. He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper The dioxin problem is one of the reasons. Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

What better way to share healthy information than to pair it with a healthy (yummy) recipe? :) I discovered Dover Sole while working at a French restaurant, since then it has become one of my favorite fish.  The meat is very delicate and moist, but because it is very thin it cooks very quickly.  Therefore, when cooking your dover be sure not to over cook the fish or it will taste dry.

I paired the dover with a raw summer couscous that I found in Raw, a cookbook written by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein.  I found it interesting that they put red grapes with the cauliflower.  I was quite hesitant about it at first but it really put the finishing touches on the couscous itself, providing a very nice sweetness and playfulness to this dish both in flavors and textures.

Ingredients for Raw Summer Couscous:

  • 1 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1/8 cup yellow bell pepper, small diced
  • 1/8 cup parsley, minced
  • 1 cup grapes, washed and halved
  • 1/2 cup radish, small diced
  • 1/8 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed
  • salt pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and honey together.  Place the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with honey lemon mixture.  Taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and serve with dover sole.

Ingredients for Dover Sole: (serves 2)

  • 2 x 6oz dover sole fillets
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon shallot, minced
  • salt pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat (about 4-6) and once it is bubbling add the minced garlic and saute for about a minute.  Season the fillets lightly with salt and pepper and fry 3 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of the fillets it may take longer, but remember that the fish will also continue to cook once it is taken off the pan so plan accordingly!). You can check the "doneness" of the fish by using the tip of the knife or fork -- if it pierces through the flesh easily, it is done, if it still feels rubbery it needs more cooking time. Serve immediately with couscous.

To Plate:

I topped my plate off with some orange segments -- I always love a little citrus with my fish.  Feel free to leave it off.  Using a hollowed out can or cookie ring cutter (I used a 4" ring), fill the mold with the couscous mixture.  Immediately plated the fish once it has finished cooking and garnish with orange segments.  This dish would go well with a glass of Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc.

I think dishes like these are perfect for the summer.  The contrast in textures, the whimsical bright colors and flavors -- all it takes is a little creativity to make eating! Bon appetit and hope everyone is having a fabulous summer :).

Cream of Potato Soup with Jalapeno Oil & Neiman Marcus Popovers with Fresh Strawberry Butter

You guys will not believe the weather we are having in Dallas.  For the 17 years I've lived in Texas I have never seen this much snow, a record breaking 12.5 inches of snow in a 24 hour period.  INSANE!!  We had a transformer blow out last night and the power went dead, thankfully we were able to seek shelther at Collin's parents.  Thank goodness for family :)

We woke up early this morning and built an 8 foot snow man!  Actually it was more Collin who built the entire 8 foot body and I sculpted the face :).  I was off taking pictures and I turned around and what do I see?  Collin rolling a gigantic snow ball around the front yard that sat almost as tall as my shoulders... I was concerned as how he was going to get the midsection on there, which weighed at least 200 lbs.  Thankfully with a family full of big Polacks (sp?), Collin and his dad moved it on there just fine.

It's been years since I've built a snow man, and never one of such massive proportions (Which I have my intense fiance to thank for that)! :) On our way back to our house this morning we saw streets decorated with all different types of snowmen of all shapes and sizes, it was truly adorable.

With weather like this I felt nothing could be better than warm bread and soup.  This classic cream of potato soup recipe can be dressed up in several different ways.  You can add bacon or sour cream, or perhaps some smoked chicken and cheddar cheese?  I decided to add some heat and drizzled it with some Jalapeno oil to give the soup an extra kick!

The popovers are to die for.  I had my first popover experience when Collin's father took us out for dinner over the holidays and the restaurant had served them as starters.  They were warm and had a crunchy outside but a warm and chewy inside.  The recipe I am using is Neiman Marcus', they suggest using a their popover pan, which I recommend using if you have it, but if not you can use a muffin pan.

Ingredients for Cream of Potato Soup with Jalapeno Oil:

(serves 4)

  • 8 medium sized potatoes, cleaned peeled and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, top discarded and thinly sliced
  • 2 small leeks, white part only, washed and finely chopped
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, washed, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery washed and finely chopped
  • 4 cups of chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • salt pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter starts to foam.  Add the leeks, celery, carrots, onion and shallots along with some salt and cook over gently heat for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.  Add the stock and potatoes, bring back to the boil, then lower the temperature to a simmer and cook slowly for 10 minutes.  Puree the soup in batches in a blender.  If you'd like you can pour the soup through a metal sieve.  Heat the pureed mixture and cream in a pan, check for seasoning and taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until oil slightly smokes.  Add the sliced jalapeno and allow to sautee until oil is fragrant and jalapenos are softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour oil mixture through sieve.  Set jalapenos aside for garnish.Divide the soup among four bowls and add a generous dash of black pepper.  Drizzle with jalapeno oil and add jalapeno slices.  You can also serve this soup with some crostinis as I have.  You simply slice a baguette into 1" pieces and brush with a butter mixture.

Ingredients for Crostini Butter mixture:

(for about 12 crostinis)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced

Mix ingredients together in bowl and brush onto sliced crostinis.  Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

"The key to making great popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before mixing.  It is also important to let the batter sit for an hour before baking it.  Popovers do not freeze well, and pre-made batter has a tendency not to work properly the next day."

Ingredients for Neiman Marcus Popovers:

(about 2 dozen popovers)

  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Place the milk in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch.  Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.  Crack the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color.  Turn down the mixer to low and add the warm milk.  Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Turn the machine off and let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Spray a popover tin or muffin pan generously with nonstick spray.  Fill the popover cups almost to the top with the batter and place the popover tin on a cookie sheet.  (If you are using a muffin pan, fill every other hole because the bread will puff up when baking).  Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn down the oven temperature to 375F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until the popovers are a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside.  Turn out the popovers and serve hot with strawberry butter.

For Neiman Marcus' recipe they used strawberry preserves, I actually used fresh strawberries and 1 tablespoon of agave syrup.  I have cut down the quantity of butter so the following recipe makes about 1/4 cup of strawberry butter.

Ingredients for Fresh Strawberry Butter:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup good-quality strawberry preserves (I used 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of agave syrup (I added this)

Place the butter in a bowl with minced strawberries and syrup.  Beat on high until lught and fluffy.  To serve, spoon or pipe the flavored butter into a plate or bowl.

If you have leftover strawberry butter it goes great on toast or any type of bread you may have lying around.  It am sure it is great with preserves, but the butter is SO fragrant when I made it with fresh strawberries, I recommend that everyone tries this recipe.  It is so ADDICTING!!

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  I am off to ice a cake for a special someones birthday that is coming up!  :)  Stay tune on Monday for a very special birthday dedication post for a very special lady!  In the meantime, everyone stay warm eat lots and be merry!!!


Our 8 foot snowman :)

Mixed Fruit Tart

"Nom nom nommy nom nom" -- are probably the only words that will escape your lips upon tasting this tart.  Recently at work I've been working on fruit tarts since Valentine's day is only right around the corner and I've forgotten as to how delectably delightful a well made fruit tart can be.  A rich vanilla pastry cream topped with juicy and succulent seasonal fruit and a nice flaky buttery crust to bring it all together, *exhales* is this heaven?

Since I am watching my caloric intake, I decided to use fat free milk as the base for the pastry cream -- I also replaced some of the sugar with honey.  (You can also use agave syrup if you'd like)  Also it is important to seal your fruit tart with Apricot jam.  Yes, apricot and only apricot.  The glaze helps seal in the moisture of the fruit and gives the tart a nice shiny beautiful appearance.  The reason apricot jam is chosen as the glaze for all tarts is because other preserves like orange or peach contain enzymes that will break down the fruit.

I had a little bit of pastry dough left from the quiche so I figured it'd be a great way to use it for this recipe.  I added some freshly grated orange zest to it to give it a nice citrus flavor throughout the crust.  You can also use lemon zest if you do not have oranges readily available.  You can find the pastry dough recipe and detailed instructions here.  I made an 8" tart since I didn't have much pastry dough left but you can easily make a 10" tart with this recipe.

At my first job as a line chef at a French restaurant, the chef use to make a fresh batch of vanilla pastry cream every week.  I would always sneak a spoonful here and there when no one was looking because it was so DARN good.  They used lots of heavy cream along with fresh vanilla bean which probably attributed to me growing a second butt cheek in a matter of weeks.  Therefore, I made a lighter version and I think it tasted just as good.   I will list the original pastry cream recipe and then put the changes that I made beside it.

Ingredients for Vanilla Pastry Cream: (From Le Cordon Bleu)

(yield: about 1 qt.)

  • 4 cups mik (I used fat free)
  • 4 oz sugar (I used honey)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 2.5 oz cornstarch
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

1.  In a heavy saucepan or kettle, dissolve the sugar (honey) in the milk and bring just to a boil.

2.  With a whip, beat the egg yolks and whole eggs in a stainless-steel (glass) bowl.

3.  Sift the cornstarch and sugar into the eggs.  beat with the whip until perfectly smooth.

4. Temper the egg mixture by slowly beating in the hot milk in a thin stream.

5.  Return the mixture to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

6.  When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat.

7.  Stir in the butter and vanilla.  Mix until the butter is melted and completely blended in.

8.  Pour out into a clean container and dust lightly with sugar and cover with waxed paper to prevent a crust from forming.  Cool and chill as quickly as possible.

Important steps to watch out for -- it is crucial to sift the cornstarch as you are mixing it into the eggs, or else your pastry cream will come out lumpy and the corn starch will not be incorporated correctly.  Also, be sure to stir constantly once you return the mixture back to the heat -- it literally is a 20-30 second time window when the mixture goes from liquid to suddenly a thick paste consistency.  This step is the easiest to mess up, because you can either end up burning the cream or making it too dry and thick.

For fruit selection, I would go with seasonal fruits -- that ensures quality and flavor.  Be sure to choose a wide range of colors -- greens, reds, orange, yellows, this will make your fruit tart visually appealing!  For my fruits I chose Mango, Grapefruit, Orange, Kiwi and Blueberries.

Ingredients for Mixed Fruit Topping:

  • 1 mango, peeled and thiny sliced
  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Ingredients for Apricot Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons Apricot preserve
  • 2 teaspoons water

Place in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until the mixture becomes a syrupy consistency.

Assembling the Fruit Tart:

This is the fun part -- assembling your fruit tart!  Take you pastry shell that's been baked and cool and leave it in the tart pan -- this will ensure that your tart does not crumble as you are assembling.  (This happened to me, I made two big holes on the sides of my tart :(!! )  Using a spatula, spread your cooled vanilla pastry cream inside the tart.  Fill it up all the way and make sure all sides are leveled.

Next take your sliced fruit and begin planning out how you'd like to lay out your tart.  I would start the outside border with which ever fruit you have the most of, in my case it'd be the mangoes. Place the mango slices where they are slightly overlapping, allow the tips to hang beyond the edge of the tart.  Next take the citrus fruit and assemble the same way as the mango.  Be sure to place the citrus slices so you are still able to see the tops of the mango slices.

Next take your kiwi slices and lay them on top of the citrus, being sure to leave a hole to place your blueberries.  Put as many blueberries that will fit in the center of the tart -- I chose to use some blueberries to decorate the sides as well, you can do whatever you like.  Be creative!!  Lastly, carefully glaze your tart using a pastry brush.  If you brush too hard all the fruit will slide off and blueberries will fly everywhere, just use a gentle dabbing motion and evenly coat the entire tart with the apricot glaze.  Place it in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.

The reason I love fruit tarts is because they are so versatile!  You can make them for a friend's birthday, a get together, any type of party -- you can also have it for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee or for dessert after dinner.  Honestly, what's not to like?  Citrus scented crust?  Good.  Vanilla pastry cream?  Reaaallly good.  Delicious array of fruit?  It just can't get any better!!!! You can also change the flavor of your pastry cream to whatever you -- chocolate, praline, even coffee.  If you are interested in making any of those flavors just leave me a note and I will send over the recipe.