i spent almost all of last year making my tart shells out of pâte sucré — mostly because it’s pretty much foolproof. then, at some point during new year’s resolution season, i decided that i really ought to spend some time in 2010 mastering pâte brisée (aka. the flaky tart dough) based tart shells. it’s a bit trickier than pâte sucré, though making it in a food processor does simplify things a bit. still, i had to practice a few times before i rid myself of the urge to over-pulse or add too much water.
As an aside, pâte brisée is often used in savory tarts (as well as sweet) because it contains little sugar. If all sugar is removed from the recipe, the dough is called pâte salée.
i threw together the tart in the picture above with what i could find in my fridge — some fruit, some almond cream. i only had one apple, so i had to substitute a pear. i decided to slice both fruits as donut shaped circles rather than as half moons. it made layering the slices go much more quickly than otherwise. the hubby said he really liked it — but then, he’s become a great fan of almond cream as well.
(enough for 2 eight-inch tarts; adapted from the French Culinary Institute)
|Cold Butter||125g (1 stick), cubed|
|Ice Cold Water||65 ml|
- Pour flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a food processor
- Add in the cold butter and pulse until the butter pieces are the size of peas (about 5 to 6 short pulse bursts)
- Add in the cold water gradually until the dough is soft. It might seem like you need more than 65ml but resist the urge.
- Knead the dough by hand on a clean surface until the dough is smooth.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Apple, Pear and Almond Cream Tart
(makes one 8 to 9 inch tart)
|Pâte Brisée||½ pâte brisée recipe from above (you can freeze the other half for a future occasion)|
|Almond Cream||~1/3 of an almond cream recipe|
|Apple||1 large apple, peeled (I used fuji)|
|Pear||1 medium sized pear, peeled (I used a red Bartlett)|
|Vanilla Sugar or Granulated Sugar||1 tbsp (vanilla sugar is preferable if you’ve got it on hand. Otherwise, regular sugar works as well)|
- Roll out the chilled tart shell and fit it into an 8 to 9 inch tart ring. The tart ring should be set over a half sheet pan that’s lined with parchment paper.
- Heat the oven to 350ºF.
- Put the prepared tart shell into the freezer while you’re waiting for the oven to heat.
- Prick the frozen tart shell a few times with a fork. Place a sheet of foil on top of the frozen tart shell and weigh it down with dried beans or other pie weights.
- Bake the shell for 15 minutes, then remove the dried beans and foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- When the tart shell has cooled, spread the almond cream evenly on the bottom of the shell using an offset spatula.
- Peel apple and pear. Remove the core. [If you haven’t got a core-removing gadget, you can slice and use a melon baller to remove the core when you get to the center of fruit.]
- Slice the apple and pear as thin as possible, creating a donut shape.
- Arrange the sliced fruit in a circular pattern on top of the almond cream. You can alternate between apples and pears, if so inclined.
- Sprinkle with sugar and dot with bits of butter. (Alternatively, you can brush melted butter onto the fruit and then sprinkle the sugar on top).
- Bake at 350ºF for 40-45 minutes or until the almond cream has set and the apples and pears have browned.