Biscuit Cream Tarts, also known as Number or Alphabet Cakes, are still all the rage! These popular tarts were created by the Israeli pastry chef Adi Klinghofer and consists of layers made of either cookie dough, puff pastry or cake with a creamy filling between the layers. The filling can be custard, buttercream, cream, etc. The tart can be topped with anything from fresh flowers, to fruit, macarons, meringues, candy, etc. The tarts are great for birthdays, engagement parties, hen’s parties, weddings, baby showers, etc. During this demonstration attendees will be shown how to make a variety of bases and fillings, as well as how to assemble and garnish the tarts.
Here are a few reasons why these tarts are so popular:
- they are not too time consuming to make. You can prepare the base layers and filling in advance and assemble close to serving time or the day before.
- you can decide how many layers you would like your tart to have
- you can decide how and with what you would like to decorate your tart, i.e. fresh flowers, shop-bought or home-made macarons, chocolates, candy, cookies, meringues, fudge, marshmallows, etc. You can really get those creative juices flowing with these cream tarts!
- they are relatively easy and inexpensive to make.
Puff Pastry Layers
4 x 400 g shop bought puff pastry (this will be sufficient for four A4-size letters or numbers)
Creme Patisserie Filling
6 extra large egg yolks
60 ml cake flour
60 ml corn flour (Maizena)
125 ml castor sugar
2.5 ml salt
600 ml milk
5 ml vanilla extract
300 ml fresh cream (to be added after the custard has been made)
– fruit, e.g. strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, figs
– candy, e.g. marshmallows, meringues, honeycomb, etc.
– chocolate, e.g. Ferrero Roscher, Lindt, etc.
– flowers, e.g. roses, daisies, etc.
– sprinkles, glitter, etc.
- Combine egg yolks, cake flour, corn flour, castor sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add a little of the milk and mix well with a hand whisk until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Transfer the rest of the milk to a medium saucepan and eat the milk to just below boiling point.
- Pour the milk into the bowl with the egg mixture while whisking with a hand whisk.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook the mixture over a medium heat while stirring until thickened. It only takes a few minutes, so be careful not to let it burn!
- Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and place cling wrap directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate until chilled and firm – about 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
- Cut out a template for the letters or numbers that you plan to make.
- Place a large sheet of baking paper on the counter.
- Dust the sheet, your hands and a rolling pin with a bit of flour.
- Open the first packet of pastry and unroll it onto the baking paper.
- Roll the pastry a few times in each direction to make it a little bigger.
- Place the template on the pastry and cut the template out.
- Remove the excess pastry and use it to make small pastry shapes, etc.
- Do the same with the rest of pastry until you have all the letters or numbers for your tart.
- Slip a baking tray under the baking paper and bake the pastry for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
- Do the same with the rest of the letters or numbers.
- Transfer the pastry shapes to a cooling rack and set it aside to cool.
- When ready to assemble the tart, whip the cream with an electric hand mixer until thick.
- Fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard with a spatula.
- Fit a piping bag with a decorating tip and transfer it to a tall glass to keep it upright.
- Transfer the pastry cream to the piping bag and secure the top of the bag with an elastic.
- To assemble the tart, place the two bottom puff pastry layers side by side on a large cake board.
- Pipe a neat row of filling around the outer edges of the pastry shapes, and then in the middle. The surface of the pastry shapes should be covered completely with filling..
- Gently place a second pastry shape on top of the first, and repeat the pastry cream pattern.
- Decorate the top of the tart with the fruit, macarons, chocolate, candy, flowers, etc.
- The tart can be enjoyed right away or up to 8 hours after assembly.
- Refrigerate the tart until ready to serve.
- The pastry cream can be substituted with chocolate ganache, buttercream icing or frosting.