Monday, July 5, 2010

Beautiful Berry Tart

My husband's indifference in the face of dessert is never more obvious than when he is in a bakery or pastry shop. Where the rest of us drool and ooh and aah, he is entirely unmoved by the rows of plump eclairs, the delicate sfogliatelle, the deepest darkest layers of chocolate . If you totally twist his arm, he will reluctantly agree to a fruit tart. When he gets around to eating it though, he will exclaim over its deliciousness. I'm pretty familiar with the routine now, so for his birthday I always used to get him a little one. Now, if you've ever priced one of those suckers at a bakery, you know where I'm coming from when I say that stuff ain't cheap. So out of respect for my budget, I learned to make one. It's really not difficult and there are ways to cheat so that it's even less work. Also, it looks very fancy schmancy, which is nice if you have guests or just like praise.

Crust - Julia. Cream - Bon Appetit by way of epicurious.

for Julia's dough - for an 8-9 in. tart pan
1 1/2 C sifted flour (so, sift the flour, then measure it)
1 1/2 T sugar
8 1/4 T butter (Julia calls for a mixture of butter and shortening, but I never use shortening)
3-5 T ice water

for the filling
1 8 oz container of cream cheese
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C whipping cream
3/4 t vanilla
1 T lemon juice

for the topping
1/4 C jelly or jam (pick a complementary flavor for your fruit of choice, apricot works best on light color fruits) - I used blueberry, but had planned to use raspberry.
3 pints berries (or other fruit)- I used 1 pint of raspberries, 1 of blackberries and filled in with just enough blueberries. 3 pints may be too much, but better to have left over berries than a naked tart.

For the crust:
You need a pie crust. You can purchase one (clearly the easiest tactic). You can make my standard pie crust. You can make a crust of your choosing, or you can try Julia Child's pie crust (well, her Patee Brisee Sucre). Start by sifting the flour, then measure out one and a half cups, and add the sugar to this. Then pour into a food processor, and add the butter. Process until it has a sort of sandy consistency. Then add a bit of water. Don't add too much. I like to work it by hand, sort of kneading, once I've added the water, it's easier to tell if the dough is right that way. Form it into a flat disc and refrigerate for about an hour. For heaven's sake do NOT listen to Julia and put it in the freezer for an hour. It would come out solid like a rock (not that I know from personal experience or anything). You want it cold so it's easier to work with, but still pliable. Roll it out to the proper size, then put it in the tart pan. I use one with a removable bottom, similar to this. It makes it much easier to get out later. Anyway, when you get the dough in the pan, use a fork to prick all over the bottom. Then cover the whole pan/dough with foil and weigh it down with pie weights. Bake at 400F for 8-9 minutes. Then remove the foil and weights and bake an additional 7-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the tart pan and cool on a rack.
For the filling:
Use a mixer to combine the cream cheese and sugar. Then add the vanilla and lemon, and mix again. Finally, add the whipped cream, and run your mixer on high for a few minutes until the whole mixture is much lighter and fluffier. It should be much less dense than frosting. When finished, you can use a spatula, and fill the center of your (cooled) tart crust. Please make sure the crust is completely cool or the creamy stuff will melt and you'll be sorry.
For the fruit:
It is time to pretend you are an artist. Arrange the fruit so that it looks pretty. Heat up the jelly in a sauce pan until it is no longer gelatinous. When it is basically a liquid, you can use a pastry brush to brush it on all the fruit, which will make the fruit shiny, but also help in case your fruit isn't perfectly ripe and sweet.

Ta Da! You are done.


JMLC said...

So very pretty! I've been known to cheat and use vanilla pudding as the filling....
And happy birthday Mr. Hippo! See you all soon xox

mom said...

OMG! This is nothing short of fantastic and I should know because you brought it to share for dinner yesterday. It is worthy of any bakery and Dad said the ones at Wegman's were priced at $25 or something equally daunting. You are a wonderful baker. I am way too lazy to do this for myself, so I thank you for sharing. (And sorry about the wrong jam!)

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

What a gorgeous work of art! Your other half is a very lucky man... :)

Carrietracy said...

Mom - It is REALLY not too much work. I think it's much easier than baking a cake, or even making a regular pie.

Celia - Thanks for the compliment! It's so much easier for me to make things look pretty with fruit, they do most of the work for me.


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