Strawberry pistachio feuilletés

Forever scheming about ways to use ingredients I have on hand, whether in the freezer or cupboard, I hit upon feuilletés, puff pastry cases filled with whatever your little heart desires.

Our local grocery store, Meijer, has recently started carrying local Michigan, greenhouse-grown strawberries, which look world's better than the usual year round California giant, and often anemic looking, berries.

not bad for "out of season" fruit

I also had some pistachio paste on hand and decided on a pistachio pastry cream filling topped with fresh strawberries and pistachio crumble for this particular adventure.

I rolled out my puff, cut squares and fashioned the turned-corner feuilletés as seen in the photo below.  I popped them into the freezer while heating the oven to 425ºF.

Once the oven came up to temp, I brushed them with a little milk, sprinkled on some vanilla sugar and baked them with an overturned cooling grid across the top of the sheet pans - this technique keeps the puff even as it rises.

After about 10-15 minutes I removed the cooling grids and continued baking until nicely puffed and golden brown (another 10 minutes or so).

just out of the oven

love those layers!

I had made a classic crème pâtissiere au pistache earlier that day.  I added a bit of whipped cream to lighten the chilled pistachio cream.

Once the feuilletés were cooled, I simply pushed down their centers to make room for the filling, piped in some pistachio pastry cream and topped them with slices of strawberry.  Pistachio crumble finished them off, along with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Et voila!

These made for a delicious flaky, buttery, creamy, fruity, crunchy treat after a traditional Easter dinner of ham, cheesy potatoes, asparagus, strawberry spinach salad, carrot souffle and more.

Tasty.  Now just get into YOUR kitchen and create your own version of feuilletés!

Yes indeed.

Jour de l'Indépendence et les tartes aux saison - cerises et fraises

Happy July 4 tout les mondes!

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).

les ingredients

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!!