Tartelette trio - some classics

Lemon  feuilletées  / blackberry / lemon mascarpone

Lemon feuilletées / blackberry / lemon mascarpone

Dark chocolate ganache / brownie cube / whipped milk chocolate ganache

Dark chocolate ganache / brownie cube / whipped milk chocolate ganache

Fresh berries / pastry cream / raspberry  gelée  (yes - you’ve seen these before!)

Fresh berries / pastry cream / raspberry gelée (yes - you’ve seen these before!)

After my last couple of posts on Americana themed baked offerings, I’m turning back to my French pastry loves for the summer months. So much to talk about!

You know I’m always one for tart making, especially the petite versions of my favorites. This time around it was for a special luncheon for a group of former co-workers who gather once a year at Heron Woods/Manor, a local independent/assisted living facility just down the street from my home. Deftly orchestrated by Kim and David, it was a fine repast of salads, soup, fresh croissant (made by yours truly!) and topped off with the tartelettes for dessert.

These three babies were so fun to put together. The lemon consisted of baked quick puff (more on that in an upcoming post) feuilletées, one of the coolest twisted versions of a puff pastry case that there is, filled with my new favorite version of lemon curd (from the book “Sweet” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh), then baked a second time to set the curd. Follow that with a whipped lemon curd mascarpone garnish and fresh blackberry and it’s done!

Waiting for a short bake

Waiting for a short bake

Garnishing in process

Garnishing in process

The chocolate ganache offering was my usual chocolate pâte sucrée and dark chocolate ganache filling, but this time I cut small brownie cubes to tuck in so they would be a hidden surprise under the whipped ganache garnish.

Trust me - there’s a brownie cube hidden in there!

Trust me - there’s a brownie cube hidden in there!

Of course the fresh fruit choice follows the classic approach of a blind baked pâte sucrée crust filled with crème pâtissière lightened with some whipped cream and then topped with fresh berries coated in a raspberry gelée. Mmmmm good!


I must say I never tire of these and I hope you don’t either!

All toted up and ready to go

All toted up and ready to go

What a delicious trio! The followup up report from the luncheon-ers was a huge thumbs up! Yay, I love that!!

A quick end note: I walk regularly and so enjoy seeing nature in its various forms - the birds, the wild flowers, the flowering trees, and especially now the aroma of the lilac bushes I pass at various points in my route. It’s my time for thinking and reflection and helps me keep my head straight. This morning it was a scattering of simple wild daisies amongst the “ weeds” that caught my attention. Lightly coated with dew and looking so content, it made me smile. The simple things are often the best, don’t you think? Enjoy.


Fresh fruit tarts in January

There's something so attractive about fresh fruits arranged on a layer of vanilla pastry cream, nestled in a lovely tart crust.  A feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.

Recently I received an order for a fresh fruit tart with a request for kiwi and berries.  Typically I use a 1-2-3  cookie-type dough (similar to shortbread dough in the ratio of sugar, butter and flour with some egg and vanilla added in).

But . . . . I had some pâte brisée dough in my freezer and decided to do a comparison between that and the usual 1-2-3.

I don't normally blind bake pâte brisée, but this time I lined 9" tart rings and smaller rings with each of the two doughs, primarily so I'd have something I could sample and compare.

Notice in the photo below how the pâte brisée edge is not as sharp and pristine.  It's an ongoing battle with that dough - trying to keep its shape, avoid shrinkage and have a nice looking end result.

Two things that help when working with pâte brisée are making sure the dough is nice and relaxed before lining the tart form and then freezing the dough in the form before baking.

Keep trying, right?

blind baked pâte brisée

small version of blind baked 1-2-3 dough

larger 1-2-3 version for the ordered tart

I filled the above shell with vanilla bean pastry cream lightened with a bit of whipped cream and topped with fruit.  As seen below on the left, I typically do a little fruit "practice" before placing it on the finished tart.

I added in some mango slivers to give a bit of contrasting color to the kiwi and berries.

getting ready for final assembly

et voila!

As for the smaller versions with the two different doughs, I just randomly topped the pastry cream with some of the fruit leftover from the order, not being concerned about the artistry.  I wanted to know how the two crusts compared taste wise.

the taste tester tarts

The left side is the 1-2-3 and the right the pâte brisée.

Somehow they were switched around for the "cut" pictures.

pâte brisée on left and 1-2-3 on right

While you can't really see a difference in the two doughs photographically, the taste experience was definitely one for comparison.  And to top it off, I stored these babies in the fridge for a day before we ate them.

Both were delicious, although Steve and I agreed that the pâte brisée taste and texture (crispy yet tender and oh so good) outshone the 1-2-3.  They both held up well after their refrigerator day - good to know when planning dessert.

Pâte brisée is now on my hit list of doughs to use for blind baked shells.  The 9 inch-er that I baked for this test went into the freezer for a couple of days after which I used it for a delicious lemon tart.

More on that later.

All in all an enjoyable comparison!