Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fruit Tart: Encore

My aunt is visiting us, and although I had promised to create something with apple, her favourite, mum overrode me, and commanded that I provide them with their new favourite treat: The Fruit Tart. The recipe is here.
Make no mistake, I was not unwilling :D And so I did.

As you can see, I went for a different, spiral arrangement of the fruit, reasoning that this would allow the most even distribution of each while still maintaining its aesthetics. I prefer it to the concentric fruit-circles of the first tart.

The jam glazing is a crafty idea and gorgeous to look at.

and that custard is quite something...

I get the feeling that this is not the last fruit tart I shall make.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fruit Tart

I had not, in my memory, actually tasted fruit tart before my parents requested I attempt to make it for our guests At the risk of sounding biased, it was utterly mouth-wateringly delicious. Not only did I learn how to make the softest (if you know what I mean) custard from scratch, I also discovered the secret of getting the fruit atop the tart to glisten with such brilliance…
This recipe is taken from Jane Price’s ‘Kitchen Classics: Pastries and Breads’

Fruit Tart
Shortcrust Pastry
  • 150g of Flour
  • 2 tablespoons of Castor Sugar
  • 90g of Unsalted Butter (chopped)
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of Iced Water
Custard Filling
  • 250ml of Milk
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 55g Castor Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Flour
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
  • Strawberries, Kiwi and Blueberries, to decorate
  • Apricot jam, to glaze

Yep, to glaze.

Shortcrust Pastry
Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk and iced water. Mix to a dough with a flat bladed knife and a cutting action, and then gather it together in a ball. Press the dough evenly into a circular 23cm tart dish (a 10 × 34cm rectangular dish can be used). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Line the pastry-lined tin with baking paper and spread a layer of uncooked rice evenly over it. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the paper and rice, and bake for another 20 minutes, or until cooked on the base and golden brown around the edge. Set aside to cool completely.
Custard Filling
To make the filling, put the milk in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Set aside while quickly whisking the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl, until light and creamy. Whisk in the flour. Pour the hot milk slowly onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Wash out the pan, return the milk mixture to the pan and bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring with a wire whisk. Boil for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the vanilla essence, and leave to cool, stirring frequently to avoid a skin forming. When cooled to room temperature, cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
Cut the strawberries in half across what would be their equators and slice the kiwi. Spoon the cold custard into the cold pastry shell, then arrange all the fruit over the custard, pressing in slightly. Heat the jam in the microwave or in a small saucepan until liquid and sieve to remove any lumps. Using a pastry brush, glaze the fruit with the jam. Serve the tart on the same day, at room temperature.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baking Blindfolded

During my week back home in Gabs, I was able to convince my very tolerant friends to indulge me and my baking. Having carelessly forgotten 'Chocolate', I quickly summoned the power of the internet, and was able to find a variation on the recipe, which I was able to further vary to produce an approximation of the cake I was looking for.
We began baking, and soon found that we were lacking in a sieve, any measuring instruments or sensibly sized baking bowls, or a scale. Or mixing spoons.
We managed though:

Yep, chopsticks.

Let me put this in perspective; I normally use perfect cup, spoon, volume and weight measurements, going out of my way to get them just right. Here, I had little or nothing of the sort. Oh, and we were making twice the normal (already monstrous) amount. We estimated everything, and ultimately, it came out alright in the end.

In fact, we had only one hiccup, and it was not the fault of adventurous equipment. We poured the first quarter of the batter (we intended to make four cakes, you see) into the baking tin, popped it in the microwave, and returned to our game of counterstrike. Forty minutes later, upon removing it from the oven, I was struck by a very obvious fact; We had forgotten in our haste to grease or line the tin. Inevitably, this meant that when we gingerly tried to ease the cake from the mould it did not oblige. Instead, it collapsed out of the tin, still desperately clinging to the sides. In the end, we were left with a broken, steaming mass of dense chocolatey goodness. It was not a complete waste though, as we were able to enjoy a rare thing. While one usually must wait for a cake to cool before icing it, thereby missing the fresh-out-of-the-oven warmth. It was this moist warmth that we greatly enjoyed before cleaning out the tin, properly lined and refilled it, and put it back in the oven. In the end, we produced four perfect cakes which we sandwiched into the two you see above. We finished icing it well after two in the morning, true to our insomaniac style.

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