If you recall we were experimenting with the ratios of two types of flours (cake and all-purpose) in the preparation of tart dough shells for the summer about a month ago. If you want to refresh your memory, please click here. Also, I do not want to mislead you, but if you did not prepare pre-baked tart dough in June, then you will need to bake it now.
I hope you were with us in June and your freezer is filled with pre-baked tart shells, or at the least with “ready-to-be-baked” tart dough. However, it is never too late. Better late then never. Unfortunately (or fortunately for some of us) the heat wave is here to stay. I must tell you that for me heat wave is great, because I am suffering from a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis and I cannot tolerate cold (cold I mean like even in the 60s), but never mind that; this blog is not about me – it is about enjoying what we do, or what we want to do and learn what did not master yet.
This is July in New York City, in Hartford, in Boston, in Philadelphia and in DC. What you expect? It is in the 90s for the entire week. There will be some thunderstorms with great humidity, as well so we can save some money by no need to visit a health spa for the steam room.
If you think that the weather wizard forgot about the Midwest; think again. OK. Lets stop taking about the weather and make a nice refreshing dessert in our cool, air-conditioned kitchen. If you will read this post to the end, I will have a surprise for you.
I am going to assume that you may not have prepared the tart dough last month, so I will go over some aspects of the preparation of the tart shell and for some details I will direct you to click on the link.
First, the reason we are using two different flours is to control the gluten formation, which we do not want.
Second, our aim is to control the texture of the tart shell, because it may make a difference for the type of filling we want to use
I love flakey tart shells the most, because they feel light, add flavor to any types of filling and their presentation is much more attractive than any of the other tart shell (i.e. Pate sucree, or Pate sable)
How you control the flakiness of the shell?
1. Control the development of gluten to a minimum:
a) cut the butter into split pea size then flatten it into the flour mixture (do not use a food processor for mixing);
b) gently work the fat into the flour;
c) toss the pieces of fat with the flour mixture (do not cut it into the flour) and the fat will “waterproof” the flour. Ms. moisture is the friend of Mr. gluten and we wish them good luck to visit another household.
2. Use butter only as the principal fat source with shortening as a “flakiness helper” (1/3 of the total fat content can be shortening)
3. Use the butter right out of the freezer (the colder it is, the better)
4. Chill the bowl and the rolling-pin too.
5. Use the least possible amount of water.
6. “Take it easy with the hand” (meaning work the dough as little as possible.
7. Incorporate the other ingredients, with minimal kneading (i.e. egg, sour cream, etc.)
8. Envelop (see photo below) the dough at least two times, possibly three, and let the dough rest in the freezer for 20 minutes after each folding.
9. Let the dough rest 1-2 hours following completion (or overnight) and prior to use, in the refrigerator – it will cause the fat to firm up and the moisture to be distributed evenly.
10. Roll out the dough as thin as you can with a rolling-pin that was left in the freezer prior to use.
11. Roll the dough from the center outward and turn it repeatedly.
12. Start to bake the shells on high temperature to encourage good rise (i.e. 400F)
For the Preparation of a Flakey Tart Shell, please click here. If there is a problem in viewing, or you are unable to connect, please send me a note.
375 g blueberries
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional – 1 ounce of lemon-flavored vodka
500g cream cheese
½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1-cup heavy cream
½ cup sour cream
zest from 1 lemon (please buy organic)
Method of preparation
Prepare the blueberry compote – NOTE: you can use other berries, or other fruit all together, but why would you? They are in season, bursting with flavor and loaded with antioxidants. Not to mention they taste delicious and look inviting with the cream cheese
- Place the blueberries, lemon juice, and the sugar into a medium saucepan and cook it for 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat it for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese appears to be real smooth.
- Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and sugar and beat it for another 4 minutes until well combined.
- Whip the heavy cream to soft peak and fold it into the cheese mixture.
- Pour the cheese mixture into the pre-baked tart shell.
- Pour the blueberry compote on top of the cheese and use a swirling motion with a knife to incorporate the blueberries into the cheese mixture.
- Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight until the filling is set.
Remove the tart from the pan and slice it with a serrated knife. Dust it with confectioners’ sugar to enhance appearance.
Buying blueberries – try to select them with a silvery bloom (which is their natural protective coating). Look at the bottom of the fruit for signs of withered skin coating.
Blueberries can be frozen in a single layer, and then transferred to a solid container in the freezer. Thaw them in the refrigerator prior to use.
- The most important step in the preparation of the tart dough is the method used for mixing the flours with the butter. (or other fat)
- If you cut the butter too small, the dough will be crumbly
- If you cut the butter too large, then as the butter melts it will create holes in the dough.
- If you bake the shells under low temperature (i.e. 350F or below), there will be very little steam produced and the dough will either never rise or will collapse
- Use European butter – they have 12% water vs. American butter with 15%. The less water used the flakier the tart shell will be.
And here is your…
SURPRISE! Have a great smoothie. It is a glass of health and great refreshing drink on a day like this:
- 6 ounces chopped strawberries
- 6 ounces blueberries
- 3 ounces blackberries
- 1 piece banana, sliced
- 2 tablespoons
- 1/8 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
- lemon juice from ½ lemon
- ½ tablespoon crystallized ginger (or if you have a fresh ginger handy, peel a 1-inch size and grate it into the smoothie before mixing everything
- Optional: 2 ounces Greek yogurt
Place everything in a blender and mix it well (for 30 seconds). If you are not using the yogurt, you could add a half a bottle of lemon-flavored Perrier.
Thanks for visiting. If you will try to make it please let me know how did you like it? Did you make any changes to the recipe? Did the tart shell came out flakey?
In addition, I’d appreciate it if you could give me a like.