Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tart from Bill in Texas

Perhaps a photo at a later date...

It’s taken some time,
but I have finally come to the conclusion that I am simply not very skilled
at tart dough.

Shrunk too much,
Tore and crumbled,
Got tattered,
Pasted together in scraps
Big diet in the oven as well.

I’ve tried everything–
pricking the dough
weighting the dough
freezing the dough
sacrificing countless boxes of butter and hours of my life to the dough
closing my eyes in a brief prayer before checking on their baking status
but still,
they fight me every time.

I decided it time to,
once and for all,
stop fighting the tart dough timeline.
Take it slow,
stop lopping corners off the chilling and re-chilling time,
following a recipe from a respected tart-maker to the exact letter.

This caramel, cranberry and almond tart from
Maury Rubin at the City Bakery,
is pure holiday decadence.
If you’re bored of standard Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts,
or you just want to show off a new instant classic,
you have to make it this winter.

The caramel is to die for and
plays off the tart/sour cranberries and
nestles against the almonds

But you’re on your own with the crust.

Cranberry, Caramel and Almond Tart
Adapted Maury Rubin, City Bakery

Yields: 1 9-inch tart or 12 4-inch tartlets

13 tablespoons (1 stick plus 5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon heavy cream

1. Let the butter sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until malleable.

2. Place the powdered sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer.
Add the pieces of butter and toss to coat.
Using a paddle attachment with a standing mixer,
combine the sugar and butter at medium speed,
until the sugar is no longer visible.

3. Add the egg yolk and combine until no longer visible.

4. Scrape down the butter off the sides of the bowl.
Add half of the flour,
then begin mixing again until the dough is crumbly.
Add the remaining flour and
then the cream and
mix until the dough forms a sticky mass.

5. Flatten the dough into a thick pancake,
wrap it in plastic and
refrigerate at least 2 hours
before preparing to roll out the dough.

6. Lightly butter a 9-inch pastry ring (or fluted tart pan) and
place it on a baking sheet lined
with parchment paper or
a nonstick Silpat pad.

7. Once the dough has thoroughly chilled,
cut it in half,
then cut each piece in half lengthwise.
Rotate the dough 90 degrees and
until you have 16 equal pieces.

IMPORTANT: Work quickly with the dough so that it remains chilled.
Sprinkle your work surface with a thin layer of flour.
Knead the pieces of dough together
until it forms one new mass and
shape it into a flattened ball.

Flour a rolling pin and
sprinkle flour again on the work surface underneath the dough.
Roll out the dough into a circle one-eighth-inch thick.

8. To easily transfer the dough into the ring or tart pan,
fold it in half gently,
then in quarters.
Move the folded dough to the tart ring or pan,
with the point of the dough in the center,
then unfold it,
gently patting the dough into the bottom and
up the sides of the ring.
Trim the edges so that they are flush with the top of the ring.
Dock the dough with a pastry docker or
prick the dough all over with a fork.

9. Put the baking sheet and pastry ring into the freezer for 1 hour.

10. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the baking sheet and ring in the oven and
bake 20 to 25 minutes or
until the dough is lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before filling.

Filling and assembly

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into eight pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup frozen cranberries
2 cups unblanched sliced almonds

1. Keep (or preheat) the oven to 350 degrees.
Measure the cream and butter into a saucepan and
heat it over low heat.
When the butter has melted completely,
remove from heat.

2. To make the caramel,
spread the sugar evenly in a perfectly dry, deep 10-inch skillet and
place it over medium-low heat.

3. The sugar should turn straw-colored,
then gold and
then a nutty-brown caramel after about 10 minutes.
If the sugar cooks unevenly,
gently tilt or swirl the pan to evenly distribute the sugar.
Remove from heat and
slowly whisk the cream and butter into the sugar,
which can splatter as the cream is added (long sleeves are a good
If the caramel seizes,
return it to the heat and
continue to stir until it is smooth and creamy.
Strain the caramel into a bowl and cool it for 30 minutes.

4. Stir the frozen cranberries and the almonds
into the caramel and
mix until all the fruit and nuts are coated.
Spoon the filling into the partially baked tart dough mounding toward the

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes,
until the juices and the caramel are bubbling slowly around the edges.
Remove from the oven and
let stand for 1 hour,
then gently lift the tart ring off the pastry.

6. Carefully transfer the tart to a serving platter.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

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