Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dim Sum Sunday: Baking

The thing about having a sweet tooth the size of a Mac Truck is that, in spite of all my running/hiking/swimming/biking/worrying, the pounds can really sneak up on my ass because of it. So I haven't been doing much baking lately. I think I'm still hungover from all that holiday partying, so I've mostly been sating my sweet tooth with fruit and tiny bits (ah hem) of hard candy. But when Shamu announced a Dim Sunday Sunday with a baking theme, how could I resist?

This recipe is inspired by something La Diva Cucina made during my recent visit to her swanky Miami abode. After plying Moi with wine, tostones, grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, potato salad and the best cole slaw I've ever had, I still managed to have room left over for a fig compote with walnuts, balsamic vinegar, and mascarpone cheese. Which promptly made me think of how wonderful the combo would be as a tart. Which I fully intended to make for this challenge, but when I found out a dinner guest to whom I would serve the tart didn't like figs (!?!?!), I used strawberries instead. But I still intend to use the figs at some point . . .

Anyway, here's what I did, using what in my mind is the most fail safe tart dough known to man, courtesy the sadly now defunct Gourmet magazine. I apologize in advance for the crap photos. I STILL can't figure out my camera. Sheesh. Math.

STRAWBERRY & MASCARPONE TARTLETS

What:

For the dough:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice cold water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the strawberries:
Core and cut into half a pound of fresh, ripe strawberries, and place in large bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar stir, and let sit about 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place strawberries in a sieve over a small saucepan, and let the juices slowly strain into the pan, about 30-60 minutes. Reserve berries. Add to the juice in the pan 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar (you can also use any alcohol of choice, like sherry, port, Kirsch, etc.), along with a tablespoon of sugar. Stir and bring mixture to a rapid boil until sugar has fully dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Let sit for about 30 minutes to cool and thicken.

For mascarpone:
Take one pound of mascarpone cheese (2 cups) and thoroughly mix with 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar, and one
teaspoon each of fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Hardware:
Set of six, 3" diameter tartlet pans (I like the shiny tin ones from Williams and Sonoma. They're French, don't cha know, and their surface is perfect—your dough won't stick, but neither will it slip and shrink while baking like non-stick surfaces tend to do.)

OR: a 10" round tart pan with removable bottom.

How:
Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a larger bowl, either with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. You can also do this in a food processor. Mixture should look like this:


Beat together the egg yolk, water, and vanilla then pour into middle of flour mixture and use fork to stir until a rough dough forms. Again, you can also do this in a food processor.

Then, pour mixture out onto a clean, lightly floured surface, and knead very briefly until a dough forms:


DO NOT OVER MIX or your tart dough will be tough.

Form dough into a flat disk about 5" around, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. with rack placed in the middle of the oven.

Once dough is thoroughly chilled, take out of fridge and roll out into a round disk about 1/4" thick. Use tartlet pans to cut out perfectly formed disks and press those disks evenly into the pans, building up a kind of ridge at the top. Place tartlets on a larger baking pan.


Line each pan with a small piece of tin foil and fill with pie weights or beans to weigh down. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take pan from oven and carefully remove foil and weights. Place back in oven and cook another 15-20 minutes, turning once, until shells are an all over uniform deep golden brown. Cool in pans about 30-45 minutes.

To assemble your tartlets, spread about two tablespoons of mascarpone in each tart shell. Then, top with strawberries and drizzle the balsamic vinegar glaze over the top.



EAT!

44 comments:

MakingSpace said...

Good LORD!!!! You had me at "tartlet pans" but holy moly that's a gorgeous piece of bakery Moi.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

I'm up already (as you know) at makingspacethejourneyout.wordpress.com although it appears for the purposes of this blog that I am blogless. Sniff...

Big Shamu said...

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. The Undaunted Baker is BACK! Always remember, we never see our asses on our blogs so in theory, they are all small.

And this is why I don't make sweet stuff. NO ONE else would get any. You're right they would be awesome with figs. Plus your photos are great. Why? Because I'm drooling.

Happy Dim Sum Sunday.

moi said...

MakingSpace: Isn't "tartlet" so much fun to say, too? Thanks for your kind words; although I'm not sure why you're blogless. I got in just fine . . .

Shamu: Good point about the asses. Too bad YOU can't shoot photos of my stuff (hmmm . . . task for next blog summit). It would look so much more appetizing!

Boxer said...

Wow-zer.

In BlogLand we are all the perfect weight.

I think I may be making this with the nephew next weekend. He's become quite an undaunted baker too.

fishy said...

Oh Bother! This certainly makes me wish I could bake. Cook? Yeah, I can do that. Bake? Not so much. So is it really bad form to lick the screen?

LaDivaCucina said...

Well done, Moi, WELL DONE!!!! I can just imagine the combo and it sounds divine! YUM!

LaDivaCucina said...

PS: Thanks for the sweet comments esp. about the cole slaw! x

moi said...

Boxer: And he's luring you into his madness. Bwahahahahaha!

Fishy: Well if it helps any, it's more assembling than it is baking.

La Diva: That was a coleslaw to End All Coleslaws. And I WILL make this with figs, I will!

Dani said...

Looks great Moi! I'm such a sucker for anything made in those cute tart tins.

Happy DSS!!!

Aunty Belle said...

French tarts? The figs woulda been amazin' but these look delectable!
Know yore guest ate two...but, what happened to the rest of the marscapone? 2 cups is more than enough fer 6 tartlets, no?

No fair ravin' over the coleslaw then NOT sharin' the recipe!!

P.S. I doan believe ya Moi--I'se sure that runnin' bikin', stylishly clad derriere is shapely.

moi said...

Dani: They're a lot of fun, especially for savory pastries like individual quiches.

Aunty: I had dough AND mascarpone left over. I only made five because that was the number I was serving and didn't want leftovers for breakfast the next day :o) Depending on how thin a tart crust you want, you could probably stretch this recipe to eight tartlets or a 12" dia. tart pan. But I like a relatively thick crust.

Buzz Kill said...

Crust is the bain of my existence. I love it but can't make it. So I have crust-envy here. And anything with strawberries is good. Well done.

moi said...

Maybe one day, some time, in another life or universe, I will master the perfect pie crust, golden colored and flaky textured like a piece of fool's gold. But, for now, I content myself with having mastered the tart crust. This one is no fail, I guarantee.

chickory said...

thats beautiful. i dont think i know what marscapone is! but i am with you on the loving to bake thing. and since i am growing strawberries this is something to look forward to.

Heff said...

Ohhhhhh I can feel my ass getting fat already. I'm out of here !!!

moi said...

Chickory: Mascarpone is like cream cheese only slightly gamier and a little wetter.

Heff: Run, Heff, run! Then you'll be able to eat all you want :o)

許冠廷 said...

請繼續發表好文!加油加油加油! ........................................

韋于倫成 said...

.有價值的東西,都要付出代價。-..............................

健豪 said...

令人心動的好文章~~.........................

batesda said...

Time and tide wait for no man. ............................................................

萱祥 said...

Failure is the mother of success. ....................................................

郁雯 said...

上班好累哦,看看部落格轉換心情~~~先謝謝啦!! .................................................................

李哲維 said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」......................................................................

佩春 said...

Quality is better than quantity.................................................................

啟均 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

鄭湘定 said...

人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。............................................................

江冠彭珮李佳宏陽筠 said...

No one knows the weight of anothers burden. ............................................................

玉婷良DGFHFJ瑋黃吳 said...

世間唯一永恆的,就是改變..................................................

香昱信張君林 said...

開心不開心都是一天,祝您能夠笑著面對一切!............................................................

吳玉婷 said...

All good things come to an end...................................................................

楊儀卉 said...

命運,就是自己行為的結果。..................................................

香昱信張君林 said...

Judge not a book by its cover.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

士凱士凱 said...

你要保守你的心,勝過保守一切,因為一生的果效是由心發出................................................

dawsonfelicia張君dawsonfelicia均 said...

感謝您費心的分享............................................................

李志吉 said...

Learning makes life sweet.

李家黃喬盈榮 said...

人生最重要的一件事,就是從生活中認識你自己。......................................................

彥麗威霞 said...

Learning makes a good man better and ill man worse.............................................................

承王蓁 said...

要在憂患恥辱的環境裡,創造我們自力更生的新生活。..................................................

老陆 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。............................................................

承王蓁 said...

感覺很用心經營呢!鼓勵鼓勵............................................................

智柏林婉林亞 said...

與朋友在一起,分擔的痛苦是減半的痛苦,分享的快樂是加倍的快樂。......................................................................

木詹詹詹詹詹行詹詹 said...

人有兩眼一舌,是為了觀察倍於說話的緣故。............................................................

fwqtsd said...

很精彩的部落格 期待你的繼續加油..................................................

彬彬哲宇 said...

唯有穿鞋的人,才知道鞋的哪一處擠腳......................................................................