Pie-a-Day #18: Parisian Pudwill “pie”

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I have a weird effect on lamps.  Every lamp I buy shorts out within two years of use.  Sometimes they go on and off when I walk by.  This electro magnetic sensitivity occasionally ventures into the extremely weird when I predict an upcoming earthquake.  But don’t be scared!  I only mention this strange (dis)ability because I think I may have an extreme de-sensitivity when it comes to cornstarch.

So far every time I’ve used cornstarch in this Pie-a-Day experience it’s been oh so disappointing.  Over thickened fruit glop with less than stellar taste and more than once Pastry Cream as glue.

These little beauties were to be so simple.  The classic Parisian fruit tart made of three parts.  A very short sablee crust, a quick cornstarch thickened vanilla pastry cream, and perfect berries.  Maybe where I went wrong was to convince myself a tart was a pie.

I followed the recipe exactly.  Again Dorie Greenspan’s so I know it’s a good recipe.  After mixing the egg yolks together with the sugar and the cornstarch You add the hot milk gradually.  All fine so far as it starts to thicken, but wait!  Where the instructions say “bring to a boil and let boil for a couple of minutes” my cream couldn’t boil because it was already too thick.  Tasted really good though.  I scraped it out of the pan into a bowl covered it with plastic wrap and let it cool completely.  Now it was a nice mold that you could cut with a knife.  Sort of like a middle eastern semolina pudding.  I wrestled it into the tart shells and topped them with berries.  Served them to Angeli waiters getting a coffee training from La Mill.  They were happy.  So what is it with me and cornstarch?  Is California cornstarch more robust?  Was it the fact that the 1/3 cup measure disappeared so I had to use an equivalent tablespoon measure which I got from Cook’s?  I will try again.  Meanwhile  can I just say that Pudwill Berries are too too?  Everything tastes of more.  More raspberry, more blackberry, more blueberry. So yummy.