There’s nothing more alternative than posting a green dessert a few days after St. Paddy’s, right?! You can chock this questionable content strategy up to poor planning on my part. While today’s Matcha Cream Tarts with Lychee Caviar missed their chance to be a part of your St. Patrick’s Day plans, they can still be a part of your life. And honestly, you want them to be. They are so freakin’ delicious and pretty to boot. So, let’s take a walk on the wild side and discuss the controversial act of eating green after St. Patrick’s Day. So badass!
Matcha is everywhere these days. In fact, the vibrant green powder has been enjoying an obscene amount of popularity for going on ten years now. There are matcha donuts, matcha lattes, matcha cheesecakes; you name it and it probably comes in matcha. The tea has been riding so high for so long that it’s actually hard to remember a time when it wasn’t as common as apple pie.
To be honest, I’ve been suffering from matcha fatigue for a couple of years now. It took over the world and now, frankly, it’s overdone. It makes me miss the days when it was a sushi shop exclusive. Remember that? Remember when green tea ice cream was a novelty? The first time I had green tea ice cream, it blew my ever-loving mind. I still remember the first time I spied a tub of it at the grocery store. The concept of being able to eat green tea ice cream at home was almost too much for me. But now it’s matcha this and matcha that. Where’s the magic?
So, for the past few years, I’ve avoided all things matcha and I was quite content to keep it that way. But the idea for these Matcha Cream Tarts crawled into my brain and refused to leave. I took it as a sign that I was ready to return to the matcha mothership. Maybe you’re not there yet. Maybe matcha is still a dirty, overused word to you. I get it. But if you think you could learn to love matcha again, these Matcha Cream Tarts are the push you’ve been waiting for. So, let’s talk tarts.
These Matcha Cream Tarts started out predictably enough with a crust. The pastry is a basic Pâté Sucrée just like the one I made for these Midnight Blue Tarts but with a slight twist – I added black sesame seeds. Think shortbread with a hint of tahini and you’re not far off. There is nothing particularly revolutionary about adding sesame seeds to pastry but it does make for a visually striking crust.
You’ll be happy to know that I finally gave my go-to pastry cream a rest. I still adore it but I figure there has to be a limit to how many times you trot it out. Instead, I opted for a mousse, which was a little more finicky than a pastry cream but I did appreciate the texture and speedy setting time. It does involve whipping egg white as well as cream, so it does have the potential to use a preposterous amount of bowls but, hey, good things come to those who wash dishes…or at least that’s what I tell myself.
I finished the Matcha Cream Tarts with Lychee Caviar, which looks wildly impressive but it’s actually fairly simple. It involves agar agar, hot fruit juice, and cold vegetable oil. It’s a cool process to watch and a lot of fun to make. When I finished making this batch, I found myself scanning my fridge for other things caviarize. I’m aware that’s not a word but it should be.
So, that’s about all I have to say about these Matcha cream Tarts. They’re a bit of work but they are a ball to make and sure to impress.
Matcha Cream Tarts with Lychee Caviar
Black Sesame Pastry
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cold
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 g 2 oz powdered gelatin
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons matcha powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar divided
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup lychee syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons agar agar flakes
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the pastry
- Place the flour, sugar, sesame seeds, and salt in a large food processor and blitz until blended. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and, with the food processor set to low, feed the butter into the flour mixture. Blitz until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, heavy cream and vanilla extract together. Return the food processor to its lowest setting and stream the yolk mixture into flour/butter meal. Blitz until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and cut in half. Form both halves into discs and tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Transfer one disc to a freezer bag and freeze for future use. Place the remaining disc in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
- When the hour has elapsed, place the pastry on the counter for 20 minutes. Unwrap the dough and transfer to a floured surface. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll the dough out until roughly an 1/8 of an inch thick. Place a 3-inch tart pan, face-side down, onto the dough and, using a sharp knife, trace a circle around the pan leaving a 1/2-inch border. Place the tart pan right-side up on the counter and lay the circle of dough overtop. Carefully feed the dough into the pan and trim the excess. Repeat until you have 6 filled tart pans. Transfer the pans to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
- While the tarts are chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Pierce the surface of each chilled tart shell with a fork and cover with a small piece of parchment paper. Fill the tart shells with dried beans and transfer them to a baking sheet. Bake the shells for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans and pop the shells out of their pans. Set aside to cool completely.
For the Matcha Mousse
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let sit for 15 minutes.
- While the gelatin is softening, pour the milk, salt, and matcha powder into a small saucepan, whisk to combine. Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook until steam starts to form. Remove from the heat.
- While heating the milk, separate the egg. Set the egg white aside and add 1/2 the sugar to the yolk. Whisk the sugar into the yolk until pale yellow in color. Whisk a 1/4 cup of the warm matcha mixture into the yolk mixture to temper the egg. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and return the pan to the heat. Gently heat the mixture to 200°F, then remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
- Pour the heavy cream and the remaining sugar into a stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the cream on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream mixture into the matcha mixture and set aside.
- Wipe the stand mixer's mixing bowl clean and add the egg white. Whip the egg white on high until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped egg white into the matcha mixture.
- Pour the mousse into the cooled tart shells and transfer to the refrigerator. Leave the mousse to set for 1 hour.
For the Lychee Caviar
- Pour vegetable oil into a tall glass and place the glass in the freezer. Let chill for 1 hour.
- When only 30 minutes of the oil's chilling time remains, pour the lychee syrup and agar agar flakes into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to 125°F.
- Using an eye dropper or a wide-mouth syringe, drip drops of the lychee mixture into the chilled vegetable oil. Small pearls should form and fall to the bottom of the glass.
- Drain the caviar using a fine mesh strainer, and gently rinse in cold water. Place the caviar on a piece of paper towel and pat dry. Transfer the caviar to a bowl and set aside.
- Place all the ingredients for the whipped cream in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the cream on high until stiff peaks form.
- Dollop a teaspoon of whipped cream onto each set tart and, using a palette knife, give it a quick sweep to form a whoosh. Sprinkle each tart with lychee caviar and garnish with a bit of citrus zest, if desired.