Friday, September 28, 2007
Parade of the Raspberry
When asked to prepare dessert for a dinner party, I always want to spoil the host. A recent invitation to a friend’s dinner table was almost too easy. I know how much he loves raspberries and tarts. And although I had several ideas for things that would be exciting for me to experiment with, I realized that what would most please him is just a pile of raspberries nestled in a little pastry shell. Sometimes it's just that simple. So I got out of the way and let the raspberries carry on in their own perfect parade.
Chocolate Tart Shells
Adapted from David Ogonowski in Baking with Julia
Makes 6 4” tart shells or many mini tart shells
1 1/4 C flour
1/4 C cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
1/4 C sugar
1/4 t salt
4 oz cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1 T ice water
1 C crème fraiche or heavy cream
1 T sugar
1 - 2 pints raspberries
Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse about 8 - 10 times to break up the butter into pea-sized pieces. Add the yolk and ice water and pulse a few more times until the dough begins to look crumbly. Finish the dough on a clean work surface using a motion called fraisage, which is smearing parts of the dough across the work surface with the heel or palm of your hand. This is a great technique that essentially flattens the butter and coats it in flour, producing that all-important flakiness. As with all pastry doughs, be careful not to overmix. Fraisage the dough just 3 or 4 times (depending on the amount of dough you're working with) and then use a bench scraper to gather and fold the dough back on itself. Form into a flat round, wrap in plastic and chill the dough until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Let the dough warm up for a few minutes at room temperature. Roll between 2 pieces of parchment to an 1/8 inch. Line tart pans, patching as you go if necessary. Chill the shells for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Prick the bottom of the tart shells with the tines of a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. The surface of the tart sheets should appear dry and firm to the touch. Cool completely.
Whip 1 cup of crème fraiche or heavy cream with 1 T sugar until medium peaks form. Fill the tart shells halfway and top with berries. Stand back and hail the parade.