Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day Tarts!

Hello all!

I don't have much time to write today, but wanted to post a Valentine's Day dessert recipe for you for this weekend. I created it based on inspiration from some recipes I learned in school, plus from inspiration from a few of my mentors. Check it out below!

Valentine’s Day Tarts

You can interchange the raspberries in this tart with strawberries or blueberries, depending on the berries that are in season where you live.

Also, I added some plating techniques at the end that include dark chocolate. Consuming dark chocolate (at least 70%) actually mimics the feeling of falling in love – perfect for this day! How? Dark chocolate stimulates endorphin production, which in turn increases feelings of pleasure!

For the tart shell:

Pate Sucree (sweet tart)

250g butter, room temperature
100g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs, room temperature
400g pastry flour

All purpose flour for dusting

For the filling:

3 pints of raspberries
200g granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
125ml of water, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon cornstarch
A touch of cinnamon

For the plating:

1 pint of raspberries
1 bar of dark chocolate, at least 70%
A few mint leaves

For the Pate Sucree:

  • Line up 8 3-4 inch tart shell molds on a sheet pan (you can use recyclable ones made of aluminum if you don’t have real ones). Set aside.
  • Cream the butter, sugar and salt together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed (about 3-5 minutes – until creamy). Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Add the pastry flour and mix until incorporated.
  • Place dough onto a floured table/counter (use all purpose or bread flour to dust the table – pastry flour with by too lumpy to work with). Knead the dough and form into a ball. Wrap with saran wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes.
  • Once chilled, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick on a floured table with a rolling pin on a flat, clean surface (if you don’t have a rolling pin, just use any cylinder shaped bottle you can find).
  • Place one of your tart shell molds on top of the dough, and cut a circle around it, about 5 inches wider than the mold so it fits. Repeat this for each mold (if you run out of dough, combine the dough scraps and re-roll it out until you can fill each mold).
  • Mold your dough to each individual pie shell. Cut off the excess around each mold.
  • Dock the dough with a fork (you are essentially just making little holes in the bottom of each tart to keep the dough from rising up in the oven).
  • Cover each tart with aluminum foil to prevent shrinkage in the oven (make sure the aluminum foil is touching every surface of the dough – whatever part of the dough isn’t touching the foil will shrink during baking).
  • Bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes, or until a nice light brown.

For the filling:

  • Place the raspberries in a bowl with the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and 125ml of water. Let chill in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Once chilled, strain the juice out of the berries. Place the juice in a pot over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch, and then add this mixture to the pot. Stir until the mixture starts getting thick. As soon as it starts getting thick, remove the pot immediately from the heat (if you heat it up too much, the cornstarch will break down and the mixture will cease to be thick). Let it cool.
  • Once cool, pour mixture into each cooled tart shell.

For the plating:

  • Use a rectangular shaped plate.
  • Place one of the tarts on the left side of the plate. You can leave the tart as is, or decorate with a dollop of whipped cream, or place fresh raspberries on top.
  • In the middle of the plate, place 2-3 pieces of dark chocolate in a pile.
  • On the right side of the plate, place a few raspberries in a neat pile, and top with a mint leaf.
  • If you want to add more, you can place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle of the plate, and place the dark chocolate pieces on top of it.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love always,

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