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

Tart Filling
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.


Anonymous said...

Fraisage. Hmn. I haven't a read a cookbook in so long that I've never come across that expression before, but if that will contribute to the flakiness, I'll have to try it. At a culinary school website I just came across "Sabler: Reduce to Sand. Papillon: add the water to a trough created through the flour and then fluff or 'butterfly' the water into the butter and flour.
Fraisage: Smear the dough with the heal of your hand.

Do we do that fraisage just long enough to turn the crumbles into a paste? say smear and scrape 4-5 times, or more like 12-15?

One more question, m'am, but what did you squeeze the whipped cream through to get those pretty waves?

Thanks, Pastry Goddess.

pastry studio said...

Hello Pastry Goddess! Thanks so much for the info and your great questions. I've never heard the term "Papillon" used in connection with my favorite kind of hand mixing, but it fits beautifully. I'll have to write about that the next time I do a piece on pastry dough.

Fraisage just 3 or 4 times to smoosh it across the work surface and get that butter flattened and floured. You don't want to overmix. I'll amend my post.

The pastry tip I used was I think an Ateco closed star #843. It's a fairly common tool and should be easy to find (or something like it) in all the usual places.

Thanks again for your visit!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I really need to invite you to dinner! *g* I do love raspberries.

Paola Westbeek said...

This looks amazing. It is definitely something to keep in mind for my next dinner party.


Sylvia said...

I really love your Chocolate tart shell combined with raspberries. I thing this is a perfect combo.Chocolate whit something citric flavor

pastry studio said...

Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments.

Paola, I visited your beautiful blog and saw your comments about Dutch art and your post on working with celebrity chefs. I'm about to go to NYC to see the amazing Dutch art show at the Met and I've also worked on a public television food show with a celebrity chef. I'll have to write about that sometime!

Paola Westbeek said...

Thanks for your comment! A friend has told me about the expo at the Met. I had a look and it should be amazing. Hope you enjoy it...and looking forward to hearing about your celebrity chef experience sometime!


Anonymous said...

You're killing me here...out of any delicious flavor combination in this world, I'd have to say chocolate and raspberries trumps them all!

Shaheen said...

This looks soooo good! I feel like having some now