Showing posts with label fruit tart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fruit tart. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fourth of July Fruit Tart

Happy almost Fourth of July! If you're anything like me, you like to have something sweet and festive around for the holiday. This tart recipe looks like it's intensive, with lots of steps, but it's not hard at all. I've given options for both regular and gluten-free crust. That's the only thing that matters when it comes to dietary issues.
After that, it's time to enjoy the flavors of summer! And your independence. 

Did you know (fourth of July fun facts):

...that John Adams wrote home to Abigail on the 3rd of July that this day, July 2nd, will go down in history...but it wasn't until July 4th that congress accepted Jefferson's proposal. a bizarre twist of fate, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th.

...the fourth of July was being celebrated as early as 1777, but it wasn't an official holiday until 1870.

...the fourth of July is the biggest hot dog consuming day, with over 155 million being eaten for celebrations.

...this one for Sheila...which I'm sure she knows, history buff that she is...the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846, for fear of cracking it further. Therefore, on July 4th, it is tapped 13 times to signify it is time to ring the bells of freedom across the country.



For the crust (***regular or gluten-free option):
1 stick cold butter, cut into pea size pieces
1/4 cup sugar (*I used raw sugar)
1 1/4 cup regular or gluten-free flour, plus extra for rolling dough (depending on your dietary needs!)
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
2 to 4 tablespoons cold water (I used 4)

For the tart:
1 1/4 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup white sugar (*I used raw sugar)
4 tablespoons cornstarch 

Jam Glaze: (optional)
1/2 cup apricot jam or strawberry jam
1 tablespoon water


3 cups fruit including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and more…raspberries kiwifruit, bananas, plums, pineapple, melon, etc., depending on your preference

Special equipment needed:
1 pound dried beans or rice
Parchment paper
10-inch tart pan


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the dough:
Put the butter, sugar, flour OR gluten-free flour, egg yolk and salt in a food processor and pulse for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mixture has a grainy consistency. Add half of the water and pulse the food processor 2 to 3 times. The dough should start to come together. If desired, add the remaining water. (I did!) Check the consistency by clenching a small handful in your fist. If the dough stays together it is the proper consistency. If not, pulse the dough with a little more water. When the dough has reached the right consistency, set it on parchment paper that has been dusted with flour (or gluten-free flour, depending on your needs!) Dust with more flour (or GF flour). Top with another piece of parchment paper. Flatten slightly using the heel of your hand. Put the entire thing into a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When ready:  Set the dough, including parchment paper, on a clean work surface. Roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch in thickness between the paper. Peel off the parchment paper and roll the dough gently into a tube. Then lay the dough in the tart pan, unrolling as you go. Push the dough into the sides of the tart pan. Roll dough over the top edge of the tart pan, then cut the extra dough from the pan. (You need this extra bit because the dough will shrink when it bakes.) Cover the dough with parchment paper and gently poke holes in the paper. Fill the tart shell with the dried beans or rice and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, remove the parchment and beans/rice and bake for 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove the tart shell from the oven and cool. The dough should be golden and crisp.

For the custard:
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together.

Add the cornstarch to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.

Next, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla to a boil, just until the edges bubble. Remove from heat and add slowly to the egg mixture. Now pour the egg-milk mixture into a FRESH medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. Whisk for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat. Pour into a clean bowl and VERY IMPORTANT cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature.

To construct the tart:
Heat the jam and water in a small saucepan in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds on medium-high. Brush half of the jam over the bottom and sides of the baked tart shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry (about 20 minutes). 

Remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan by placing your hand under the pan and gently pushing the tart straight up. Neat trick: the fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. Set the tart pan on a flat surface and the tart ring in the sink.
If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto your platter. But this isn’t necessary.
Next, spread the cooled to room temperature pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place fruit on top of cream or in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Using the remaining jam, brush the fruit with a glaze.

Refrigerate the tart, but bring to room temperature before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves about 6-8 people.


On Killer Characters blog, which a number of us participate on, we are having the Cozy Days of Summer Giveaway, where each day you can enter to win a book or more. Check it out and leave a comment with your email! Click the picture to follow the link:


For STIRRING THE PLOT, which comes out September 30th, I'm going to be doing a number of giveaways. Books, mugs, stuffed kittens!  Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and "like" me on Facebook, where information about the giveaways will appear.  Look for pictures of Tigger, the ginger cat in the series, celebrating ala Halloween!


Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Check out our website.

Days of Wine and Roquefort 
is out!
order here

Inherit the Word
  is out!
                                    order here

STIRRING THE PLOT is available for preorder: order here.

If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Apple Quince Tarte

by Sheila Connolly
As you might have heard by now, New England, like much of the country, has been suffering through back-to-back snowstorms. Bad for driving, but good for baking, if you are so inclined (and have power).
I was happy to find fresh quince at the supermarket a couple of weeks ago. They’re odd little critters, with a long history. I have to say upfront, you can’t eat them raw.  They taste kinda like Styrofoam. But cook them, and you have an entirely different story: they become sweeter and they give a kind of silken texture to whatever you cook them with.

Quince tree at Old Sturbridge Village

Being snowbound, I had only a few fresh apples. But since I write about an apple orchard, I happen to have the last of last year’s crop from my own trees. They’ve been refrigerated since I picked them, but otherwise I haven’t done anything to them. When I pulled them out they were soft and a bit wrinkled, but not rotted, and they tasted fine. I felt like one of my ancestors, pulling out the last season’s harvest, while waiting for reluctant spring.  Bottom line, I had two new Cortlands, and three old Cortlands, plus two quince.

This is basically a tarte Tatin, which I first encountered in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art etc. a long time ago. But the dish scared me, because serving it for guests (which helps justify the effort that goes into making it) is risky because of that heart-stopping moment when you have to invert the tarte from its cooking pan onto a serving dish. It is fraught with peril: will the tarte emerge intact? Or will you be serving your guests an apple cobbler disguised with ice cream? (Hey, it tastes good either way.)

This one worked! And the result had a wonderful, rich flavor—the combination of caramel, apples and quince is delightful.

Apple Quince Tarte 
For a 9” tart
One 10” circle of pastry (use whatever you like—puff pastry, home-made, or straight from the supermarket freezer))

2 Tblsp unsalted butter
6 Tblsp sugar
1-2/3 – 2 lbs apples (soft to middling)

2-3 quinces, poached in vanilla syrup

To poach the quinces:
Make a syrup of 1 cup water, ½ cup sugar, and a vanilla bean, in a non-corroding saucepan (not aluminum).

Quarter and core the quinces, and slice 1/2 inch thick. Add the slices to the syrup, bring to a simmer, cover and let cook, barely simmering, for about 2-1/2 hours, until the slices are a warm pinkish-tan color and soft.  Do not stir: if the slices float to the top, push gently down again.  Let the slices cool in their poaching liquid.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Quarter, core and peel the apples, then slice them lengthwise.

Just starting--once it starts to caramelize,
you don't have time to take pictures!
In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat then immediately add the sugar and stir constantly.  Cook until the sugar is a golden caramel color, stirring steadily. Remove from the heat (the sugar will continue to cook from the heat of the pan for a bit). (Note: this will harden on its own, so move fairly quickly to add the next ingredients.)

Make a ring of apples over the caramel in the pan, around the edge, then make another ring in the center.  Press the slices of poached quince between the apple slices. (Another note: when liquid, the caramel is hot, so don’t burn your fingers!)

Set the pastry on top of the fruit, and when soft enough (if chilled), press in down over the filling at the sides of the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the pastry is browned. (Test the apples with a sharp knife.)  Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for a minute or two. Set a serving plate upside down on top of the pan. Lifting the two together (three asbestos hands would be helpful about now!), flip them both over so that the tart drops onto the plate (hopefully intact!) If a few bits of fruit stick to the pan, you can rearrange the tart.

It worked!

Serve warm with crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream. (If you have to wait, leave it in the pan, then return it to the oven for 5-10 minutes to soften the caramel again (shake the pan to make sure it’s dislodged).

A New York Times bestseller!

And this one is a Nook
bestseller this week!