Friday, July 18, 2008

All Natural

One of my favorite things about my property is its abundance of raspberry bushes and how, in the summer, these bushes provide me with plenty of fresh fruit. Being the avid baker that I am, I take full advantage of these ruby berries by incorporating them into breads, pies, shakes.. the possibilities are endless!

The first creation I w
ent to work on was a Raspberry Tart and while I was worried that my tart shell wouldn't turn out correctly, I ended up being more than satisfied with the outcome.

(You can reproduce the following recipe using any combination of fresh or store bought fruit.)

(For Almond Crust)

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/3 Dry Roasted Almonds

1/3 Oven Roasted Almonds
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 Sticks Cold Butter, Cubed
5 Tablespoons Ice Water

1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
(For Tart Filling)
6 Cups Raspberries
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
1 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

Zest of 1 Lime
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Start by making the crust--In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, granu
lated sugar, ground almonds and salt. The almonds (both types) must be finely ground in either a food processor or by hand. I choose to use two varieties of these nuts because the smoky flavor combination really comes through in the finished tart. After the ingredients are combined, add in the cold, cubed butter. This must be fully incorporated into the dough--cubes left whole will lead to an excess of oil when the crust is baked. Continue by adding in the ice water and almond extract. Use your hands or a spatula to complete the formation of the dough, which must then be flattened into a disk, wrapped in plastic and placed in the fridge to cool for at least an hour. (Be forewarned, the dough is EXTREMELY sticky, so I suggest flouring your hands if you plan on ditching the spatula.)

After an hour has elapsed, preheat the oven to 400
° Fahrenheit and remove your chilled dough from the fridge. Find a free counter top or cooking board and create a layer of flour. The dough should be rolled out to an even thickness and into a circular shape. Once ready, place your dough in a tart pan (mine was 11 inches in diameter) and press it down thoroughly. Be careful not to fold the dough over the edge of the tart pan because it ma
y initially drip off to the bottom of the oven.. causing unnecessary smoke :( Yuck. Bake the crust for 20 minutes or until it begins to brown. If after removing the crust from the oven, it appears overly buttery, simply sprinkle some additional flour over the center.

Now comes the filling preparation. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, flour and lime zest (lemon zest can be used in its place)--Gently toss your raspberries into this dry mixture. Place your combined ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat until a sauce begins to form. At this time, add the vanilla extract and cornstarch. Stir lightly. Remove the pan from your stove and pour the mixture into a strainer. After straining the berries, they should be transported into the prepared crust and the entire tart can go back into the heated oven for 40 minutes.

The finished tart should be allowed to cool for at least 2 hours until it is sliced.

Its important that the crust is thick--The nutty crunch works to off-set the citrus from the raspberries.

No comments: