Saturday, July 30, 2005

Queen of Tarts

Okay so I may be pushing it there by calling myself the Queen of Tarts... but I think I am getting the hang of this tart pastry and I will be making LOTS and LOTS of these! Thank God above for Nigella. I have a serious cooking crush on her... Both the pastry recipes I have used of hers have turned out PERFECT. Here are the two recipes I have used.. the first one was a savory pastry for the corn and tomato tart and the second one is a sweet pastry that I made the peach & mango tart with....

Rich Pastry Dough
Nigella Lawson

1 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 egg yolk
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon yogurt or creme fraiche or sour cream or orange or lemon juice

Measure the flour into a bowl, add the butter, and put in freezer (here I use my KA mixing bowl and put the paddle in the bowl to chill as well) for 10 minutes. Beat the egg yolk with the salt and whatever acidic ingredient you choose and put in the fridge to chill. Keep a few tablespoons of ice water in a measuring cup in the fridge as well.You may need it.....

You can make this either in the food processor or in a stand mixer. Pull the flour and butter out of the freezer and turn on slow. After barely a minute the mixture will begin to resemble oatmeal or flattened bread crumbs, and this is when you will add the yolk mixture. Add, and process or mix. If you need more liquid, add a little ice water a teaspoon at a time and go slowly. You don't want the dough too wet. You will need to stop the mixer JUST BEFORE the dough looks like it is about to clump, not once it has. When it looks right, take it out and form a fat disc, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to rest.

Sweet Pastry Dough
Nigella Lawson

1 cup all purpose flour
¼ confectionersoners sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cold and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Sift the flour and confectioners sugar into a bowl and add the cold butter. Place this bowl in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. In a small bowl beat the yolk with the vanilla, a tablespoon of ice water and the salt. Place this bowl in the fridge. When the 10 minutes are up take the bowl out of the freezer and process the flour and butter and when you reach oatmeal stage mix in the yolk mixture to bind. Be prepared to add more water drop by cautious drop, until you have reached a nearly coherent dough. Then scoop it out, still just crumbly, and push into fat disc and let rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Enough to line a deep 8 inch or shallow 9 inch tart pan.

If you are going to fill the pastry case with anything liquid or creamy, you will have to blind bake first. This means simply covering the pastry with foil or parchment paper, covering that with dried beans, and baking it. Take the pastry out of the fridge and flour a work surface. Place the pastry on your floured work surface and sprinkle it and your basic wooden rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking. Roll out your pastry fairly thin and place into the buttered tart pan. You can either trim off the overhang (what I do) or you can let it hang and blind bake with the overhang compensating for the shrink. Bake at 400 for about10-12 minutes or until beginning to take on some color. Let the pastry case cool and fill with whatever you wish....

I filled the sweet crust with mascarpone cheese mixed with peach brandy (about 4 tablespoons... okay... 5 tablespoons) and 1 block of cream cheese. I also added in 1 tablespoon of wild flower honey and a dash of vanilla extract. I topped all of that with sliced fresh peaches and mangos... I sprinkled a bit of sugar on top and baked at 350 for about 50 minutes.

Comments on "Queen of Tarts"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (July 31, 2005 11:04 AM) : 

Oh! I had my mother's silver sunbeam for many years...she got it for her wedding in 1964. It worked fine until it finally died a noisy death in 2001. I had it by then...and I was very very sad. A lot of memories in that mixer. How fun that you collect them. I like rolling pins. Traci


Anonymous doggerham said ... (July 31, 2005 2:36 PM) : 

Thanks for the Nigella pastry recipes. I bought some peaches today that might end up in a tart!


Blogger Chan said ... (August 05, 2005 7:57 PM) : 

This tart was SO VERY good... of couse it bubbled over and became really ugly during the cooking..... but you know... it was still so very delicious. Kinda like that math nerd that was in braces and a head gear in 7th grade.... but now he is a hottie making 300+K in silicone valley..... you just gotta give it time and a little love... let it come in to itself... really a beautiful tart.
i hope your peaches met a beautiful fate....


Blogger Girl With An Alibi said ... (August 05, 2005 8:35 PM) : 

Oh. My. God.

I love you. I just stumbled onto your blog and I want to eat my screen right now. I shall return to harvest your recipes. Don't worry, I give you proper cred.

*grbrbrbbr* that's my stomach asking for a tart. ;D


Blogger Cathy said ... (August 07, 2005 9:28 AM) : 

Chan - I'm always so impressed by your willingness to try these difficult (or at least intimidating) dessert recipes! I can only bring myself to do it once in a while ... but this tart recipe just might inspire me :)


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