Why another cooking blog?

I decided to create this blog as a way for family and friends to see what I'm cooking and to share interesting food related tidbits I come across.
I'm frequently asked for recipes so I thought this would be a good place to start collecting the old, new, and funky recipes that I have.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Strawberry tart

I got a tart pan from my aunt and uncle at my bridal shower and I was itching to try it out so I made this tart using Mark Bittman's tart crust as well as the filling recipe. I'm rather proud of this because I am completely inept at making crusts. They defy me. As much as I hate to admit it more than a few have ended up thrown on the floor in a fit of frustration. This one came very close to the same fate but I pursued and triumphed over the damn dough's determination to tear and fall apart.

Sweet Tart Crust
Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything

Makes enough for an 8-10in tart
Time: 20 min, plus time to rest

1 1/4 C all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
10 T frozen or cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 egg yolk
3 T ice water, plus more if necessary

Combine Flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse once or twice.  Add the butter all at once; process until the mixture is uniform, about 10 seconds (do not over process). Add the egg yolk and process another few seconds.

Things are going well at this point...
Put the mixture in a bowl and add 3 T of ice water, mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another T or 2 of ice water if necessary (if you overdo it and the mixture becomes sodden, add a little more flour). Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 min or refrigerate for at least 30 min.  (You can refrigerate for up to a couple of days or freeze tightly wrapped for up to a couple weeks).

This is before I added the water... .otherwise
known as right before everything went to hell.
Sprinkle countertop with flour and put the dough on it; sprinkle the top with a little flour.  Use a rolling pin with light pressure from the center out. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour (if it continues to become sticky; and it's taking you more than a few minutes to roll it out, refrigerate or freeze again). Roll adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed; use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.

When the diameter of the dough is about 2 in greater than that of your pan, move the dough into the tart pan by draping it over a rolling pin and moving it into the pan. Press the dough into all nooks and crannies in the pan, being careful not to overwork it, and use a knife to cut the edges flush with the rim of the pan.  Refrigerate for about an hour before filling (you can freeze for an hour).

Simple Berry Tart
Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything

Makes one 8-10in tart about 8 servings
Time about 1 1/2 hours largely unattended

1 Recipe Sweet Tart Crust fitted into a tart pan and chilled
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C cornstarch
3 C strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and or blueberries, picked over, stemmed, and hulled if necessary

Prebake the crust and start the berries while the crust is in the oven.  When the crust is done, leave the oven at 350.
Rub sugar and cornstarch together with your fingers until well combined. Toss with about 2C of the berries; crush some of the berries with a fork or potato masher to help dissolve the sugar. Pile the berries into the tart crust, then top with the remaining berries, left whole (or halved).
Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake until the fruit mixture is bubbly, about 30 min. Cool then serve warm or at room temperature.
My dough is in timeout in the fridge for
probably the 3rd time at this point
Finished product inspite of myself

To prebake the crust (per Mark Bittman, paraphrased)
Preheat oven to 425. Be sure crust is pressed firmly into the pan, prick with a fork and well chilled before baking.  Butter one side of a piece of foil large enough to cover the crust; press foil onto crust butter side down. Weight the foil with a pile of dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 12 minutes; remove from oven and remove weights and foil. Reduce temperature to 350 and continue baking the crust until it has a golden brown color.... another 10 min or so.

My notes
For the tart filling: I put the sugar and cornstarch in my food processor to combine it.

Prebaking the crust: I didn't weigh down the crust. I was quite irritated at that point and figured if it didn't bake correctly I'd start over. Luckily it turned out fine.

The damn crust: Mark Bittman lied. Ok.... maybe he just mislead a bit. I think the recipe should be amended to say, add the ice water 1T at a time rather than all 3T at once. My crust became a very stick soggy mess after I added the prescribed 3T ice water.  It was pretty humid that day, so maybe that was part of the problem. This bastard crust must have been destined to torment me from the get go. I swear I put that sucker in the fridge no less than 4 times because of the issues rolling it out. Argh. I fault myself though. Not Mark.

P.S. Sodden? Who says sodden any more?

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