Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market by Deborah Madison, includes excerpts and recipes like Lychees; Late Summer Rhubarb and Blackberry Compote; Individual Rhubarb Tarts in a Corn Flour Crust; and Native Wild Rice Pudding with Maple Syrup and Wine Soaked Cherries.
Makes six 1-inch tarts
This is a dessert for a special meal—individual anything is always special—but it can also be presented as a single large tart. The puree can be cooked well ahead of time and the shells baked early in the day of your dinner. Then all that's left is to fill the shells and garnish the tarts with a perky little Johnny-jump-up or a cluster of local or homegrown strawberries.
This golden dough has character and crunch. Make sure you use corn flour and not cornmeal. If you can't find corn flour, use semolina. Like the corn flour, it has crunch, but not too much.
1. Put the flours, salt, and sugar in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse to make a large, rough crumb with chunks of butter still visible. Mix the egg yolk, vinegar, and vanilla with 2 tablespoons of the ice water and dribble it into the dough while pulsing just a few times. Add more water if needed, using just enough for the dough to be moist enough to come together in your hands rather than in the machine. Turn out the dough, gather all the crumbs, and bring them together in your hands.
2. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Press each piece into a 4-inch tart pan (the bottom needn't be removable), working it evenly up the sides, as you would with a larger tart pan. (You may have an extra ounce or two of dough.) Leave the bottom a little on the thick side. Chill briefly to firm the dough while preheating the oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Line each tart shell with foil or wax paper, then fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Put the weighted shells on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Take the shells from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Remove the paper and the weights, return the shells to the oven, and bake until pale gold and well set, another 5 to 10 minutes. Once they've cooled, carefully turn each pan over in your hand to release the shell.
4. To assemble the tarts, stir enough of the rhubarb syrup, if you have some, into the puree with a fork, leaving it streaky but still thick. Divide the rhubarb among the tart shells and smooth it out with an offset spatula. Garnish with a flower and serve whipped cream on top or on the side.
Instead of serving cream separately, fold 1/2 cup whipped cream into the rhubarb to make a fool.
Spread a layer of cream and crème fraîche whipped together in equal amounts over each tart.
Use the grape pie filling on page 116 (of the book) in these little tart shells.
One puree is delicate, seasoned only with citrus, while the other more robust, bursting with cinnamon, clove, and maple sugar. Serve each of them cold with a bit of cream poured on top. Turn them into Rhubarb Fools (page 209) or use the mixture to fill a tart shell. If an excess of juice is produced, reduce it and use it as a glaze or to enhance the flavor and sweetness of the rhubarb.
Makes 2-1/2 to 3 cups
Trim the ragged ends of the rhubarb. If large stalks look tough or fibrous, peel them. Chop them into 1-inch chunks, then put them in a 3-quart saucepan with the sugar, zest, juice, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb has broken down into a rough puree, after about 20 minutes. Don't use the food processor—the look of the textured threads of rhubarb is appealing. Chill well.
Make this puree with red rhubarb the same way as the Green Rhubarb Puree with Grapefruit, using for flavorings 1 cup maple sugar or organic brown sugar, 2 teaspoons grated orange zest plus 1/3 cup fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, and a pinch of salt. Serve chilled.
This page created August 2010
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