Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ruth Reichl's Raspberry Tart

In the day to day cooking most of us do, its so easy to forget the reasons you loved to cook in the first place.  It becomes a hassle, another thing to worry about after work.  This tart is a way back.  It can't be cooked quickly or thrown together in an hour.  It isn't particularly difficult, but there are several steps that require waiting.  But in the end you will end up with an outrageously delicious tart, better than anything from a store.  A tart to be shared with friends and family on a warm summer night.  Is there any better reason to cook than that?

The recipe comes from Ruth Reichl's memoir Tender at the Bone.  She learns it from a woman in the French countryside while there as a summer camp counselor.  I will make nearly anything Ruth Reichl signs her name on, especially if its from France.

The first step is to make the dough.  It has to rest for at least 3 hours, so I left mine in the refrigerator overnight.  The dough came together easily when I made it, but was very stiff when I took it out of the fridge.  It softened eventually.  I put it on a floured cutting board and used the heel of my hands to spread it out.

When it was large enough, I placed the tart pan on the dough and flipped it over.  It didn't get into the pan perfectly, but with a little work it looked like this:

The almond filling was very easy to make.  The only problem I ran into was no food processor to grind the almonds and sugar.  I decided to try it in a blender (the latest edition of will it blend...), and it worked fine.  I then mixed the almond sugar with butter, egg yolks and vanilla.  I didn't have extract, so I used a half of a vanilla bean instead.

I spread the filling into the crust and topped with half of the raspberries.  After baking for 40 minutes I took it out to cool:

When I was ready to serve, I topped the tart with the remaining berries.  The only problem I had was that the filling was quite runny.  Maybe 5 more minutes in the oven would have helped.

It was still fantastic.  I loved the contrast between the berries baked in the oven and those still fresh on top.  The almond filling was sweet enough to contrast the tartness of the fruit, but it wasn't overwhelming.  It was worth the few hours of waiting, and certainly tasted better for it.

Ruth Reichl's Raspberry Tart
Adapted from Tender at the Bone

For the crust:
1 and 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 stick butter (I used unsalted, but salted might be better) cold, cut into small squares

2 tbs. heavy cream
1 egg yolk

For the filling:
3/4 c. blanched almonds
3/4 c. sugar
2 tbs. softened butter (for this I used salted)

3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract or the beans of 1/2 a vanilla pod
4 c. raspberries (about 24 ounces)

1. To make the crust, begin with the flour and sugar in a bowl.  Add the butter and rub with your fingers until it resembles cornmeal.  Add the egg yolk and mix with a fork until combined.  Pull together into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and put into the fridge for at least 3 hours.

2. When ready to make the crust, take the dough out and let warm up for about 15 minutes, or until its pliable.  Put it on a floured board and spread out by pressing with your hands.  It will be very sticky and somewhat difficult to work with.  Flip the dough into the tart pan (Reichl suggests 8-9 inch pan, I used a 9.5).  Put into the freezer for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350.  Take the crust out and line with foil.  Fill with beans or rice and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and rice or beans and bake for another 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool.

3.   While the crust cools, make the filling.  Process the almonds and 2 tbs. sugar in a food processor (or blender!) until finely ground.  Cream the butter with the rest of the sugar (I did this with a fork).  Add the yolks, stir, and then the almond sugar and vanilla.

4. Spread the filling in the crust.  Top with 2 cups of the raspberries and sprinkle with 2 tsp. sugar.  Bake for 40 minutes (or longer to avoid the runny filling dilema).

5. When done, remove, cool, and top with the remaining berries.  Serve!

1 comment:

  1. Looks yummy. Can you make me a tart for my birthday?