Tag Archives: Tarts

Roasted Strawberry Lemon Meringue Tartlets

Tart 2I recently attended a food photography workshop at The Urban Element. The class was taught by two very gifted Montreal food photographers, Ariel Tarr and Valeria Bismar. Together they run The Illuminated Table.

I have been experiencing blogging fatigue, struggling with what to write about and feeling like I’m stuck in a rut with my photography and food styling. The opportunity to attend this workshop came at the perfect time. It was great to connect with other like-minded food obsessed women.

I came away feeling inspired to step away from my comfort zone and change my camera angle. (I rely too heavily on the top down shot) Watching Ariel and Valeria maximize the available natural light galvanized me to abandon my artificial lights and set up next to the window.Tart 1jpgPartially eatenI also left with some great new food blogs and Instagram accounts to follow. Food blogger Katie was there at the suggestion of her mom. Wish my kids listened to my suggestions!! Denine, a photographer and teacher of photography at Algonquin College was there to pick up a few tips about food photography. Food blogger and cooking show host Eva,  and cooking teacher and blogger Maria were both looking to hone their photography and food styling skills.

The workshop was mostly hands on, with lots of opportunity to practice the new skills we were taught. In the afternoon session we had the chance to style and shoot a gorgeous lemon meringue tart. With local strawberries just coming into season, I was inspired to create a  strawberry lemon meringue tart. The genius idea of roasting the strawberries, to intensify their natural sweetness and juiciness comes from this Bon Appetit recipe.Roasting StrawberriesYou could of course make one large tart, but I have mini tart pans and I love to use them any opportunity I get.dough fot tartsTart ShellsTime to build the tartlets. A tart lemon filling is topped with sweet and juicy roasted strawberries. I filled my tarts with a lemon cream, but I strongly suggest you fill yours with a lemon curd. The recipe that follows has detailed instructions on how to make a lemon curd. A curd is much more stable than a cream and as a result, the tarts will not get soggy within a few hours. putting strawberries on tartsI put the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a star tip and greatly amused myself making different designs. You could also just spoon it on, but then you won’t have as much fun. To brown the meringue I used a kitchen torch, because it’s so satisfying and just a bit dangerous to play with fire. (I know, I live on the edge!) If you don’t have one, a minute or two under the broiler will achieve the same result.tarts on wooden board 1Tart with black background 1

Click here to print recipe for Roasted Strawberry and Lemon Meringue Tarts.

3 tarts

Berry Brown Butter Tarts

 

These adorable mini raspberry tarts actually started their life as a cherry tart. It all began a few weeks ago when my brother-in-law sent me a link to this blog. The talented Rowena of Apron and Sneakers made a stunning cherry tart. As soon as cherries started rolling into the market, I bought a big box and got to work.

I had such high hopes for this tart. Fresh cherries in a tart with a brown butter filling. What could be bad? To be honest, the filling was just too sweet for me. I have discovered that I only really like cherries in their raw form. I think it’s that slight snap when you bite into a firm cherry, as it gives way to the sweet juicy fruit inside. For me, when cherries are cooked, they lose what makes them so special.

While the filling was just ok, the crust was fantastic. Buttery, slightly sweet and browned to perfection it was reminiscent of a cookie. I knew I had to make this again, but in mini form so I could maximize the crust to filling ratio. Admittedly, mini tarts are more work than one big tart, but I was convinced it would be worth it. The stands at the market this week were overflowing with raspberries and the little wild blueberries, that make me scream with joy, were just starting to arrive. The heady scent of the ripe berries filled my car and made me slightly dizzy as I drove back to the cottage.

The dough comes together really quickly. No mixer needed. Flour, sugar, vanilla, a pinch of salt and some melted butter are combined in a mixing bowl. The original recipe uses all-purpose flour but I snuck in a bit of whole wheat flour, not because I am delusional to believe that 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour will make this a healthy dessert, but because I thought it would really enhance the nuttiness of this crust. I unearthed my mini tart pans from my basement graveyard shelf of unloved and useless kitchen gadgets. The dough just pressed into the tart pans, no rolling required.

To ensure maximum crunch in the pastry, the shells are pre-baked before filling. While they are in the oven, prepare the  filling. The butter is cooked over low heat until it turns a light brown. Do not walk away when doing this. It goes from light brown to black in a flash! The smell of the brown butter is intoxicating. Brown butter gives a real depth of flavour to the filling.

Click here to print recipe for Berry Brown Butter Tarts.

The crisp tart shell shatters when you bite into it, giving way to tangy berries in a nutty brown butter filling. These are summer perfection!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts and a very sweet Mother’s Day.

Today I am grateful for several small and large blessings! I am grateful to be relatively pain free. If you read my last post,  you, may recall that I was in bed for over 8 days with terrible back and leg pain. The MRI revealed a bulging disc which was pressing on a nerve and causing me back pain. It seems to have eased greatly and I am back on my feet again. I feel grateful for a wonderful husband who brought me an extra hot skim milk latte in bed this morning.

Although I couldn’t be in Toronto today to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom, I am grateful to have 5 siblings all living there to celebrate with her. They gathered at my baby sister’s house and had a “friendly” game of softball. Some family members tend to get a bit competitive about these things so hopefully no one sprained a hamstring sliding into first base or got bonked on the head from being tagged out at home plate. I’m sure to get a play by play analysis very soon.

Finally, I am grateful for my sweet children. My oldest was unable to spend today with me, but he drove for over 5 hours to come home for a short visit yesterday. My middle child bought me a beautiful blue hydrangea plant and gave me a very fitting (and funny) card .

And my youngest, with the help of his sister, made me a video on YouTube, serenading me with Elvis’ “Love me Tender.” So sweet!

I made these tarts a few days ago and thought we would have them today for dessert. Unfortunately they were all gone the day I made them. Luckily I have other sweet things to satisfy me!

These tarts are the creation of Lucy Waverman, food columnist for the Globe and Mail. I have adapted the recipe somewhat.  The original recipe produced tarts that had a thin layer of caramel and then a thick layer of ganache. I doubled the caramel recipe so that the finished tarts would have a thick layer of both caramel and chocolate.I also added some salt to the caramel filling as well as a few decorative flakes on top of the ganache filling.

I made them in mini muffin tins. Not only do they look adorable, but there is no guilt at all involved in popping one (or three) of these into your mouth. The contrast in textures of this mini bite are what make it so special. Biting into the crisp flaky pastry you discover a silky smooth layer of bittersweet slightly salty caramel covered in a thick layer of chilled chocolate ganache. The ping on your tongue from a melting crystal of fleur de sel helps these tarts from being too cloyingly sweet.

Begin with making the caramel, as it needs time to cool and firm up. Sugar, water and corn syrup are boiled until a rich amber colour is reached. Finish with whipping cream and a pinch of kosher salt.

I like to roll out the pastry dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper, right after making the dough. Then I chill the rolled out dough. Be sure to roll the dough very thin (1/8 of an inch thick) for these mini tarts.

Let the tart shells cool completely before filling. I find it easiest to put the caramel filling into a disposable piping bag.

Finish off with chocolate ganache and a few flakes of fleur de sel.

Click here to print recipe for Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts.