Saturday, February 26, 2011
The month of February was a very tough one because the whole family got sick, one after another. The thing is, as long as the mother is ok, things are under control. BUT, once she is not feeling well, that's where the trouble starts: who will take care of the still sick husband and the kids? Who cleans, cooks, drive kids (once up and running!) to school and their various activities? who does the groceries?? Sure friends help and I do thank each one of them, but it is always hard to go through a phase like this, especially when you, the "head of the house" need a helping hand, a cup of water or warm tea brought to you while you are stuck in bed not able to move!
Not a lot of baking happened lately neither. Once I started to feel better, I made these tarts to share with some friends. I was happy they enjoyed them. My friend K's 6 year old son liked them, which surprised me. I say so, because he is a very picky eater, and that he liked the Lemon Meringue tart, or the Almond strawberry tart was a bit surprising to me. He sure knows to eat!
These tarts share the same dough and the same cream as a base (except for the Almond ones). Make the dough a couple of hours in advance. The pastry cream could be made up to 2 days in advance, and the lemon cream should be made ahead and left to rest in the fridge for a couple hours. The almond cream could be made in advance too. It keeps well in the fridge for 2 days.
Almond Strawberry, Lemon Meringue and Almond Tartelettes
Dough (Pate Brisee)
250g All purpose flour
125g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
40g ground blanched almonds
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar and salt. Add the cubed butter and rub between your hands until crumbly. Add the egg and work the dough quickly and as little as possible until a dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or put it in a zyploc bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Pastry Cream (makes about 2 cups)
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
40g granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1 heaping cup milk
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1- In a saucepan, combine the egg, egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and flour. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is lump free.
2- Heat the milk and slowly add it to the egg mixture while whisking continuously.
3- Slowly, cook the custard over medium low heat, while whisking non stop.
4- Once the custard starts bubbling remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
5- Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool completely.
1 cup pastry cream
zest of half a lemon
Juice of 1 lemon (or more depending on how sour you want the cream to be)
4 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
In a blender, combine the pastry cream, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pulse for 10 seconds. With the machine running add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Blend until creamy.
The cream will look runny, but after resting a few hours in the fridge it will have the perfect consistency.
125g ground blanched almonds
100g granulated sugar
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 medium eggs
3 Tablespoons flour
In a food processor, combine the almonds, sugar and butter. Pulse until well combined. Add the eggs and pulse for 10 more seconds. Add the flour and pulse again 10 more seconds. The cream is ready to be used right away or can keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
1 recipe Pate brisee
1 1/2 cups pastry cream
1 cup almond cream
1 Tablespoon soft butter
1- Preheat the oven to 375F.
2- On a floured surface or between 2 sheets of wax paper, roll out the dough to 1/4 in thickness. Cut out circles and transfer them to your tart molds.
3- Fill each tart shell with 1 to 2 tablespoons of almond cream.
4- bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the tarts cool.
5- Combine the soft butter and the pastry cream and mix until well combined. Fill each tart with some of the pasty cream and decorate with strawberries.
1 recipe Pate brisee
2 cups lemon cream
2 egg whites
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1- Bake the tart shells in a 375F preheated oven. Let cool.
2- Fill each baked tart shell with lemon cream
3- Make the meringue: beat the egg white with a pinch of salt and few drops of lemon juice to stiff peaks.
Add the sugar a tablespoons at time while mixing. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy. Decorate each tart shell with the meringue (either use a pastry bag or just a spoon). Preheat the oven to 350F.
4- Bake the tarts for 5 to 8 minutes or until the meringue has a light golden color.
1 recipe Pate brisee
1 1/2 cups almond cream
1- Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare the tart shells
2- Fill each tart with almond cream (do not exceed 3/4 of the tart's height)
3- sprinkle the top of each tart with sliced almonds and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy and have a nice weekend!