29 May 2007

Memorial Day Tarts

I was invited to two barbecues on Memorial Day. For my part in both outdoor grilling festivities, I brought a fruit tart to each. I can't stress enough how easy it is to make a fruit tart—especially with the recipe I use—that I would encourage all to try it once when tempted to buy one instead. The only thing that I baked was the tart shell, everything else was bought and either cut or mixed.

Berries are in season and every other produce stand was selling them by the flat at my local farmers market, so it only made sense to use them as my fruit of choice—I'm also a big berry fiend. The filling was mascarpone sweetened with a generous spoonful of vanilla sugar. I assembled the tarts in the morning, although I baked the shells the day before and let them cool overnight



My tart recipe came courtesy of Jamie Oliver, aka The Naked Chef, and his first cookbook of the same name. The instructions I'm giving are only the bare essentials, minus the book's banter, although I heartily recommend the cookbook and Oliver's second, The Naked Chef Takes Off. His books read well and cook well, and his easy-going approach makes you wanna have a go of it in the kitchen.




SHORT CRUST SWEET PASTRY
(Makes two 12-inch shells)

1 cups plus 2 tablespoons of butter
1 3/4 cups of confectioners' sugar
a medium pinch of salt
just over a 1lb of flour
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cold milk/water (Note: I used water.)

Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt, and then rub or pulse, if you're using a food processor, in the flour and egg yolks. When the mixture has come together, like coarse bread crumbs, add the cold water or milk. Work together gently, forming a ball of dough. Then shape it into a short, fat sausage, wrap in plastic wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Slice the dough in 1/8 slivers and place on the sides and in the bottom of a your tart pan. Push the pieces together and seal them. I suppose you could also roll out the dough, but the book says to slice—and I like this method.

Throw the pan in the freezer and let the dough rest again for at least an hour before baking, or you can store these pre-made crust in this state for future use. Pull the crust out of the freezer and pop it into an oven pre-heated to 350˚F for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.

Cool the crust before filling, if making a fruit tart.


MASCARPONE CREAM

1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
9 oz of mascarpone cream

Mix sugar and cream together.

Note: I used an 8 oz. container of mascarpone with a little over 1 tablespoon of sugar to get the sweetness I liked; and I doubled the mascarpone and sugar equally to fill two tarts.


VANILLA SUGAR

In a food processor, "blitz" 2 lbs of granulated sugar and 4 vanilla beans until an "ashy-color". Store in an airtight container and use as desired.



Bonus Burger Pic—one of the many foods I ate that day.

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4 Comments:

Blogger s. said...

mmm. that tart was so tasty! thanks so much for bringing it!

6/04/2007 11:29 PM  
Blogger Blue Plate said...

your welcome.

6/05/2007 12:54 AM  
Blogger marias23 said...

There's nothing better than a fresh berry-laden tart in summer. I'm totally giving this recipe a try. Thanks for posting it and sharing the awesome pics!

6/06/2007 1:19 PM  
Blogger Blue Plate said...

your welcome, marias23. thanks for stopping by. i hope you enjoy the tart as much as i did.

blue plate

6/07/2007 4:23 PM  

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