Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tarty Tarts

My new obsession is French Macarons, they are so decadent, colourful and so so good. So how did I end up making tarts you ask? After hours of researching I found pastry chef Joanne Chang’s classic French Macarons. Long story short I made the fillings, lemon curd and chocolate ganache, then realised that my local supermarket didn’t stock almond flour and therefore I couldn’t make the macaron cookie itself! Trust me not to think these through but it occurred to me that I could use the fillings for tarts. So macarons to come but here are my tarts.

For the ganache I used the recipe from my earlier post, birthday banana cake and for the lemon curd I followed Joanne Chang’s curd recipe word for word. It’s the perfect curd; it’s sweet but not too sweet with the right amount of fresh lemon zest. Just a word of warning when you put the curd back on the stove be very careful as it thickens very quickly and you don’t want to over cook.

As for the tart base I put together a few different recipes until I got the dough consistency that I liked. For the dough:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg yolk

Sift the dry ingredients and combine. Many recipes say to use a food processor for this step but since I don’t have one I just used my freestanding mixer, combine the butter piece by piece until the butter break down into small pea size bits. This next bit needs 4-5 tablespoons of cold water to combine the mix. Add and combine the water one tablespoon at a time so the dough doesn’t get too sticky! Knead and gather with your hands and the dough should resemble play dough when you’re done. Once combined wrap in glad wrap and chill for a minimum of half an hour. Once chilled lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough. Just a tip; the dough rises a bit in the oven so roll out the dough a tad thinner than usual so it doesn’t rise as much as mine did. I used metal measuring cups to cut out the dough and place into a greased tin.

Pat down the dough lightly so it shapes to the tin and poke tiny holes in the bottom with a fork to avoid rising. Then chill the dough again for about 30min because I read somewhere that when you chill the dough in the shape you want it tends to retain shape better and you know what its true! Because I am me and was totally paranoid that they would burn, I baked them in a 170 degrees Celsius preheated oven. Baking time varies obviously depending on your oven but bake until the bottoms of your tart shells are browned. 

  Once chilled fill to your hearts content!

So my piping skills need practice but you get the general idea and I don’t do anything by half measures so I finished them off with a caramelised peal dusted with icing sugar, divine!

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