makes one 9-inch tart (or two 6-inch tarts)
- 2 Tbspn fresh thyme leaves
- 260 g all-purpose flour
- 50 g sugar
- 1/8 tspn salt
- 7 Tbpsn butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 3-4 Tbspn water
- 1 egg white
for pastry cream:
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 40 g all-purpose flour
- 75 g sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 Tbspn unsalted butter
- ripe apricots
- turbinado sugar
- for pastry. Combine the thyme leaves, flour, sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the egg yolk and pulse to combine. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition. Pulse just until the dough holds together when pressed between two fingers. Do not overmix.
- Remove the dough from the food processor, form into a small, flat disc, cover tightly with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least one hour. The dough should be firm to the touch.
- Preheat the oven to 220° C. On a lightly floured surface, roll the cold dough out to ⅛-inch thickness. Transfer to the tart pan, press in the bottom and sides, and prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Return the pastry to the refrigerator if it has softened.
- Line the pastry shell with a piece of parchment paper, fill with pie weights or beans, and bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Remove the weights and the parchment paper, brush the insides of the pastry with a small amount of egg white, and return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- for pastry cream. Combine the milk and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk. Add the pod. Heat the milk and cream brûlée tart over medium heat until just barely simmering, before it boils. Remove from heat.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk to combine the flour and sugar. Prep the egg yolks in another heatproof bowl and whisk briefly. Over medium-low heat, add the milk and cream to the flour mixture. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan until the mixture has boiled for about two minutes. Slowly temper the egg yolks by gradually pouring a small amount of the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Once hot, add the yolks to the saucepan. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has reached 75° C and is very thick. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat and press through a fine mesh strainer. Cover and let cool completely in the refrigerator.
- Once cool, stir briefly and then spread into the tart shell.
- for apricots. Cut the apricots in half and arrange on the custard. Just before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of turbinado sugar on the apricots and caramelize with a blowtorch or under the broiler. Top with a few fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately.