Recipe: Grape Tarts with Vanilla Pastry Cream

from the Headache Prevention Cookbook

Grape Tarts with Vanilla Pastry Cream

Serves 6
These tarts look like a fancy restaurant dessert.
The tangy grapes contrast well with the smooth pastry cream, creating a unique and satisfying dessert.


  • 12 ounces (about 1 box) vanilla wafers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pastry Cream

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups skim milk, heated
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless purple grapes, stemmed and halved lengthwise

Crust: Chop the vanilla wafers into fine crumbs in a food processor. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the butter. Line 6 removable-bottom 3-to-4-inch tart pans with the wafer mixture. Chill in the refrigerator.

Pastry cream: Whisk the egg yolks in a medium saucepan, gradually adding the sugar and salt. Whisk until the yolk mixture is thick and lemon colored. Sift the flour over the egg mixture and whisk it in. Gradually whisk in the milk. 

Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. The custard will start to get lumpy but will become smooth as you whisk. Reduce the heat to low and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring. Press the sauce through a fine strainer into a medium bowl and stir in vanilla. Cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Glaze: Heat the apricot preserves, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Press the preserves through a fine strainer into a small bowl, then return to the saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Cover the top with the grape halves cut side down, alternating red and purple, arranged close together in a circular pattern. Brush the grapes lightly with the glaze. Chill the tarts in the refrigerator. Remove the outer ring from the tart pans and let come to room temperature before serving.

Copyright © 2000 David R. Marks, M.D. and Laura Marks, M.D. Reprinted with permission.

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