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).
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!!