Steve and I visited the Fulton Street Farmers Market here in Grand Rapids MI yesterday with the express purpose of buying fresh cherries for the tart I was planning for the day's celebration.
Not only did we find cherries, cherries, cherries but soooo much more. The covered outdoor market is a colorful and enticing destination with all manner of veggies, fruits, perennials, herbs, meats, cheeses and a smattering of local artisans selling their wares. And surely I've omitted some of the other goods we saw.
|Fulton Street Farmers Market|
As is often the case, I plan my tarts (and baking in general) around what fridge stock needs to be used up. This time it's ricotta and buttermilk, both perfect complements to fresh summer fruit.
I decided to bake two different tarts as a way to highlight some of the local seasonal fruit. I was already planning on cherries but when I saw the strawberries, they looked so succulent I couldn't pass them up. I also bought a small box of California lemons for only ONE DOLLAR (such a deal!) - perfect for my lemon buttermilk filling.
So the day's duo includes tarte citron aux fraises and tarte aux cerises/vanille/ricotta.
|laying out the fruit|
I used my favorite pâte d'amande, blind baked, for both of the tarts. First up is the tarte citron which is actually a lemon buttermilk tart à la Emily Luchetti. She makes hers with raspberries baked in the tangy filling, but I baked it sans fruit, saving my fresh strawberries for the after baking garnish.
|ready for blind baking|
The filling is trés simple and is made by whisking together 3 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 8 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, zest of 2 lemons, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of ground nutmeg.
|working on the filling|
Pour the filling into the blind baked crust and bake at 325º for about 50 minutes until set.
|just out of the oven|
Once cooled I garnished the top with fresh strawberries brushed with a hint of vanilla syrup for a bit of sheen.
Next up - the cherry/vanilla/ricotta tart. This filling is another straight forward preparation, made by whisking together 4 large eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, the seeds scraped from one vanilla bean, plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 cups ricotta (whole milk or part skim - your choice).
Pit and halve 1 1/2 cups of sweet cherries and place them on the bottom of the blind baked tart shell.
Pour the filling over . . . .
|ready for the oven|
and bake at 350º for about 30-35 minutes until set.
|just out of the oven|
Once cooled I garnished with a central pile of whole, unpitted cherries just for fun.
Nothin' fancy here folks!
Time to eat.
Slicing was a bit messy. Steve and I shared a sample piece of each. The lemon buttermilk was tasty with a nice tang that went well with the fresh, ripe strawberries, but we both found the cherry ricotta lacking a little something. The texture was smooth but there wasn't much bold cherry flavor to complement the ricotta custard, and I would have liked a more intense vanilla component.
All in all not bad but next time I'd roast the cherries in raw sugar ahead of time (as I've done for gateau Basque) to provide a richer cherry experience.
So Happy Birthday USA! On to the fireworks!!