A light, fruity dessert seems rather enticing, when temperatures reach almost 90 degrees.
The blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in our garden are still green - (and the poor little strawberries get "slugged" before they are ripe), but the supermarket has now berries in good quality - not that watery stuff from California.
Therefore, Hanaâ's Avid Bakers' Challenge for July couldn't have come at a better time - the Classic Fruit Tart from "The Weekend Baker".
|Not ripe yet - blueberries in our garden|
Abigail Dodge wrote this book for people who don't like spending hours in the kitchen, when smart do-ahead steps are possible, and the refrigerator is your friend.
Usually I follow Abby's make-ahead suggestions, but my oven was still hot from my Saturday bread baking, and I had invited a neighbor for tea.
And, really, what could be nicer than a toasty kitchen, heated from baking pitas at 550º F - when outside temperatures almost reach the 90 degree mark? (My husband only rolled his eyes...)
I made the dough, substituting a quarter of the all-purpose flour with spelt. Being a bit in a hurry, I chilled my finished dough disk only for 30 minutes, the minimum given time.
After preparing the pastry cream I rolled out the dough on a silicone mat. Soon I realized the impossibility of achieving the desired 14"-round, the dough started tearing, and there was no way to roll it around the pin without total disintegration.
Cooling the dough was not an option - my nice, practical King Arthur silicone mat was too large for the fridge. Its size made it also too difficult to flip it over the tart pan. Sweating and desperate, I searched my kitchen for anything that could help me get the dough in the right place.
Fortunately I found a metal cake platter that I could press on the dough, then flipping it over the tart pan. But not without mishap, the sharp fluted edge of the pan cut right through the dough, and the whole pain of rolling out the round to that size had been in vain - "for the cat", as the Germans say.
|Skippy couldn't care less!|
But pastry cream covers all baking sins with a layer of pure innocence, and fresh blackberries and raspberries gave the tart a pretty, cheerful look.
And the reward for all that effort? The tart was absolutely delicious, and everybody had a second helping!
Afterwards I looked through basic tart recipes (from William-Sonoma, "Fine Cooking" and "Cook's Illustrated") to see whether there were some helpful hints. Obviously a cooling time of just 30 minutes for the dough was not enough, it should have been 1 hour instead.
Rolling out the dough to a 14"-round for a 9"-inch pan seems rather unnecessary, 2 inches larger than the pan should have done it.
And in William-Sonoma's "Pie & Tart" I even found my own scribbled note: "Roll out the dough on a thin plastic cutting board, and flip it over the pan". That's exactly what I will do the next time. Or just press into the pan with my fingers!