What a terrible blogger I've been. It has almost been a month since I last wrote here even though it seems like I have been baking every day! I feel like such a bad person. I kinda wish I hadn't been baking within that last month (I dread the day I have to put my skinny jeans back on).
Wow so much has happened since I last posted here. I had an early 21st Mexican fiesta birthday party back home! Which was awesome. The photos are on my instagram feed :). What else, oh I moved back to Dunedin back into my wee little flat. Lucy and I got a new flatmate; Alex, to replace Alix who moved up to Auckland. Just to clarify, this Alex is male. You never know with the name Alex. Oh and I turned 21! Yay me for surviving childhood illness in this hardship that is the 1st world. Slash yay me for not screwing up so far. My parents can proudly call me a success and no longer have to take the bad parenting blame for anything dumb I do now. But most exciting were the arrival of my two new babies.
For a whole week before my birthday there were these two HUGE gift wrapped and bowed boxes
sitting in the corner of our tiny lounge.
Then on my birthday two glorious machines emerged! My 21st presents from my family and family friends were a beautiful Kitchenaid stand mixer and its (almost) matching Kitchenaid food processor. Holy mackerel! They are beautiful. Wonderful. To die for. Amazing! They are brilliant. I have named my cake mixer Nigella (because she is a goddess) and my processor Annabel (it was going to be a Jamie but I have trust issues with Jamie recipes at the moment).
Seriously, who needs a man when you have two perfectly smooth, stunning, robust, high quality kitchen appliances in your life? They do the job and they do it well. They don't complain and they are forever reliable. So. Much. Great.
Anyway since receiving these beautiful machines I have been baking and processing almost everyday. I think my flatmates need to stage an intervention on the baking front. Pretty sure I will be obese in no time.
Do you remember that Little and Friday cookbook I got for Christmas? I made the wee banana cakes from it about two months back. Ever since I got it I have been wanting to make one of the beautiful tarts they have pictured. The only problem is that you had to make pastry, then the frangipane then the creme patisserie and so on and so forth. The recipes were tricky and bitsy.
But! Now that I have my beautiful toys making these tarts (and finally using the tart dishes I bought) was be a dream.
I managed to find some cheap blueberries ($2.49 a punnet!) at Vege Boys and I wanted to use them in something special. Blueberries are still a treat food for me and I feel like their glory is wasted when they are just thrown into a smoothie or sprinkled over yoghurt.
Now what better way to celebrate the wonder that is the humble blueberry that by placing it on a pedestal of vanilla bean and lemon pastry, a layer of delicious frangipane as well as cushioning each and every berry with the soft caress of creme patisserie. Ok I got a little carried away there. . .
I adapted this recipe from the Little and Friday book (Treats From Little and Friday). I started off thinking I was going to make six small tarts. I was going to line all six of my small tart tins then freeze four of them and only bake the other two. Since Lucy is away this weekend it seemed silly to have an abundance of tart in the house.
I made this pastry up yesterday in my food processor and left it wrapped up in the fridge overnight. When I went to go roll it out (after softening it in the microwave for 20 seconds) I realised that I had far too much pastry and that the recipe I used was whack as crack when it said it would do for 6 small tart cases. I ended up lining my long rectangular tart tin as well as 10 small muffin holes for when I need to make mini pecan pies next. Its not a problem at all, its actually a good thing. It saves time in the future. It makes access to tarts far more . . well accessible.
So I am saving the small individual tarts for another day and instead using my long rectangular one. Winning!
This was definitely a learning process for me so along the way i'll point out mistakes to avoid and things to remember! :)
Also, you can buy food processors from Kmart for $59. I'm not sure what they would be like but I bet they would do the job for pastry.
Blueberry and Frangipane Tart
Makes one long rectangular sized tart
Loosely adapted from Treats from Little and Friday by Kim Evans
You will need 2 punnets of whatever berry fruit you desire. I would avoid strawberries though, they have too high a water content and would turn to mush on top of the tarts. I recommend raspberries and blueberries.
For the vanilla bean and lemon pastry (of which there will be plenty left over to line around eight or nine small tart cases):
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 cup icing sugar
1 large egg
3 teaspoons of lemon juice (about the juice of half a lemon)
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
In a food processor (buy, borrow or steal yourself one), pulse together the flour, icing sugar and lemon zest. This is to mix it together and to aerate it. Add the butter in cubes and pulse until the mixture looks like fine golden sand. Add the egg, juice and vanilla and pulse until the mixture comes together. It will look dry and crumbly but trust me, it does come together. Turn the dough onto a floured bench and bring it together into a smooth ball. Flatten the ball into a disc then wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. Apparently this pastry can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. Or if you aren't going to use it all at once, do what I did and line spare tart tins. Wrap them in glad wrap then pop them in the freezer. When you go to use them you don't need to thaw them, just fill them and bake!
To line your tins, roll the pastry out onto a floured bench until it is about 3mm thick. Try spraying the top of the pastry lightly with cooking spray to stop the pastry sticking to the rolling pin. If you are making the rectangle shaped tart roll the pastry out until it is about 4 cm larger on each side than the tart tin. Drape the pastry over the tin and gently press the pastry into the corners of the tin with your fingers. Use large cooks knife to trim the edges. Prick the base with a fork and then return to the freezer while you preheat the oven (about 30 minutes).
|Press the pastry into the tin gently with your fingers|
|You don't have to wrap it in gladwrap if you are going to|
use it that day. At the time of wrapping I still thought I
was going to make the small ones.
|Dock your pastry with a fork|
For the frangipane (enough for just the rectangular tart or six small tarts i.e. about a cup and a half):
62g butter, softened
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons plain flour
Cream together the butter and sugar. When light and fluffy, add in the egg and beat until voluminous and airy. Add the almonds and flour and stir until combined.
For the creme patisserie (enough for just the rectangular tart or six small tarts i.e. about a cup and a half):
250 ml (1 cup) milk (trim or full fat it doesn't matter)
1/4 cup caster sugar
4 teaspoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 egg yolks (from small eggs)
Beat together the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla until thick and pale. Add the flour and beat until thick. In a medium sized saucepan (don't use a small one like I did!), bring the milk to a simmer whilst stirring so it doesn't burn on the bottom. Whilst beating the egg mixture start carefully pouring the hot milk into the mixing bowl making sure the addition is gradual. Beat until all the milk has been added and there are no lumpy bits at the bottom of the bowl. Return this mixture to the saucepan. Heat the custard whilst quickly whisking until just before boiling point (Ie a trembling simmer). If you heat the custard mixture to beyond boiling point it totally collapses and the egg curdles and it becomes a total unusable disaster. Don't do this. Thankfully we had enough milk in the fridge for me to start again. Take it off the heat immediately and pour into a clean bowl. Leave to cool before using. you should see it become nice and thick as soon as you take it off the heat. Check out this video to see if you are doing it right.
|Heat the milk (in a much larger saucepan than this!)|
|In a bowl, beat your eggs, sugar, vanilla and flour until|
thick and pale. Then gradually pour in the hot milk.
Beat this until everything is mixed in then return to the
|Whisk until just until it starts boiling. No later!|
|It should start thickening as soon as you take it off the heat.|
Don't be tempted whatsoever to keep it cooking.
|If you leave it to boil too long it will end up looking like|
|If in doubt, google!!|
To assemble the tarts:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake. Place a baking tray in the oven to also preheat. You will put the tart on this and it will enable a crispier base.
Spread the frangipane over the base of the tart. Then spread the creme patisserie over the top of that. Top the tart with the berries. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden.
Leave the tart to cool before removing from the tin.
To serve, dust with icing sugar and some long strips of lemon zest.
|On goes the frangipane|
|Then the creme patissiere|
|Then the fruit :)|
|Place it on the preheated baking tray|
|So. Much. Great.|
|Prepare for your friends to weep when you serve them up|