Friday Jan. 19,
Hurrah!!! I’m done with interviews for the week! I need to bake some therapeutic tart…
Hungry. Trudged uptown for dinner at Sezz Medi with Ry. Hurrah! Food!
Still eating. Got a call. HURRAH!!! I GOT AN OFFER!! I NEED TO BAKE SOME BIG ASS CELEBRATORY TART!!!
Proceeded to Fairway. Shopped deliriously because I was too excited.
Started making the tart, deliriously because I was too excited.
Anisa’s Delirious Celebratory Berry Tart (crust recipe from How to Be a Domestic Goddess)
for the crust:
7 tbsp. soft unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
for the filling:
1 egg, separated
some amount of creme fraiche (probably 1 cup)
about equal amount of fromage blanc
enough sugar to make it tastes good (about 1/4 cup?)
strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or whatever fruit tickles your fancy
for the wine gelee/glaze:
1/2 cup whine wine (approx.)
enough sugar to make it tastes like moscato (if using nondessert wine)
1-2 tsp. gelatin powder
1. To make the pastry, cream the butter and the sugar together, then add the yolks one at a time. Stir in the flour to form a soft dough, then form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for half an hour (or in the freezer for 15 min).
2. Once the dough has cooled down to play-doh texture, line a flat surface with a big sheet of wax paper, sit the dough on the sheet and cover it with another big sheet of wax paper. Roll out the pastry between wax paper to fit the pan. The dough is delicate so use the bottom piece of paper to help you carry your dough to the tart pan. Push gently down so that it lies flat at the bottom, leaving a little overhang. Put back in the fridge to rest for 10 min.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll a rolling pin (or an empty wine bottle if you’re ghetto like me) over the top of the pastry shell to cut off excess pastry. Line the pan with foil/wax paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 min, then remove the beans and the paper and continue baking for 5-10 more min. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
4. To make the filling, whisk the white until stiff but not dry and set aside. Beat the yolk with the sugar until thick and pale; you may think there’s too much sugar to make a paste, but persist: it happens. Add the creme fraiche and fromage blanc and beat until smooth. Fold in the egg white and pile and smooth this mixture into the prepared tart shell (that has sufficiently cooled down). Put in the fridge for 20-30 min to set.
5. In the meantime, cut the berries, make the glaze, steal a glass of wine and think of innovative noncircular ways to arrange the fruit (although you’re going to end up doing a circular design anyway because the tart pan is circular as James has pointed out to me. Thanks!)
6. To make the glaze, heat the wine in a saucepan and add a couple tsp. of sugar to make it tastes like Moscato. I happened to have a white Bordeaux so I used that. Ideally, I would use a still, aromatic dessert wine like Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. But anyway, let the wine simmer for a little bit. Then mix the gelatin powder with some cold water then pour the liquid into the wine pot. Stir and turn off the heat. Let cool.
7. The most challenging part! Arrange the fruit. Once you’re done, pour the gelee/glaze over the whole entire surface. Voila!
in full glory
I apologize for being unspecific with the quantity of certain ingredients. I was delirious and sort of playing and making it up along the way, so I forgot to jot down how much of each thing I actually threw into the mixing bowls. Use your senses =p. They’re the best measuring tools you’ll ever own.
For the filling, I took inspiration from the creamy frozen dessert at Aquavit that uses a combination of creme fraiche, fromage blanc, and goat cheese. I know that using berries around this time is very unseasonal – Alice Waters forgive me. I was too fixated on the creme fraiche + fromage blanc combo and I knew it would go well with berries, (or they’re the most obvious complement and I was too delirious to think). The gelee/glaze idea came at the last minute. The occasion called for some alcohol anyway.
A pathetic attempt at plating
I love making tarts. They’re one of those things that seem deceptively complicated, but are actually fairly easy too make. You spend the most time on the pastry. The rest is just beating, cutting fruit, and putting it all together. The procedure is therapeutic and the product tastes good. Please give it a try.
Thanks to James for taking the pictures. Yay, I make semi-photogenic tarts!