Even though I arrived at my list of favorite and regularly used tart doughs long ago, I can't resist trying a new one every now and then. Just gotta' do it.
The array of tart dough recipes one can find is overwhelming, with so many variations on the theme, whether it's pâte brisée, pâte sablée, pâte sucrée or sablé Breton! More butter? Granulated or confectioners sugar? Greater butter to flour ratio? Eggs, yolks? Nut flour? A splash of cream? The possibilities go on and on.
Felder's book has a great table at the beginning of the tart section giving an overall look at certain doughs' characteristics, how easy they are to make, what types of fillings work well with them, what oven temperature at which to bake them, etc. Check it out if you get the chance.
Now on to the recipe for pâte brisée fondante and tarte aux fruits rouges pistache. Let's go!
The word fondante means "melting" which certainly gave me a clue as to how this might come out. I compared the ingredients with a standard pâte brisée (flour, butter, water, salt and sometimes a little sugar) and found a higher ratio of butter to flour, plus a bit of egg yolk and milk in the fondante version. And more butter definitely means "melt in your mouth".
Here's the dough: mix 185 gm soft butter with 25 gm warm milk and 10 gm egg yolk; add a teaspoon fleur de sel and a teaspoon sugar; add 250 gm flour and mix just until it comes together. Wrap the dough and chill it for a couple of hours. (Note: this dough amount was plenty for two 180 mm/7" tarts, plus probably one more).
When I took the dough out of the fridge and tapped it with my rolling pin to render it more malleable, I could appreciate the firmness of the buttery dough. It rolled out pretty easily, although it was more stiff and breakable than other standard pâte sablée or pâte sucrée doughs I've used.
I lined the tart ring carefully (I made a 180 mm tart this time), pricked it with a fork and popped it into the freezer while I prepared the filling.
Now's the time to heat the oven to 350º.
I made 2/3 of the filling amount which turned out to be perfect for my 180 mm ring.
This is VERY easy! For 2/3 recipe mix together 2 eggs, 16 gm almond flour, 66 gm sugar, 100 gm heavy cream, 16 gm melted butter, a splash of vanilla (the recipe actually calls for kirsch, but I don't keep that around) and a scant teaspoon flour. In addition have 20 gm pistachios and 166 gm fruits rouges assortis ready to go. I used a mixture of IQF raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and cherries. Yum.
|filling all mixed up|
Sprinkle the pistachios and fruit into the shell (note - UNbaked shell!) . . .
|love the colors|
and pour the filling over.
|ready for the oven|
This baked about 40 minutes, pretty much on target with the recipe instructions. You can tell it's ready when it nicely browned on top and the filling doesn't jiggle any more.
Once it's cool dust with some powdered sugar and serve it up!
Imagine my disappointment upon finding an unbaked center with a big dimple on the bottom - yuck! That is one of my biggest pet peeves when baking tarts.
When I read this recipe over the first time, I had a niggling sense in my brain that blind baking the crust was in order with this very liquid filling. But Christophe Felder is a seasoned professional with an impressive resumé, so I decided to follow his lead. Not.
The good news is that, in spite of the unbaked center, the tart was deeelicious and the crust definitely a "melt in your mouth" experience.
Not to be thwarted, I decided to take one more go at this one but with a blind baking approach. Particularly with the lining step, one has to be very gentle and careful with this dough.
I started the bake with weights, but when I removed them there was a crack in the bottom crust. I took a small piece of raw dough to patch it and finished off the blind bake. Whew! Is this really worth it??
Then, just to be sure, before putting the filling in, I brushed the bottom with egg white to seal it. No leaks allowed here, folks.
The crust developed a nice light golden color, although you can appreciate some cracking in parts of the periphery.
The good news is a well done, non-dimpled center bottom crust. Now we're talking.
And it's still "melt in your mouth" delicious.
Moral of the story - blind bake first if you have a really loose, liquid filling!
Yes, I would make this again.