I have two recipes that I hope will brighten your day as they did mine.
Iris and I made a chocolate tart this afternoon. We had to do it. The other day we tried a new lemon tart recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours, and the lemon cream filling (which she learned from Pierre Hermé) was superb, but the crust was thick and tough. A bad tart crust just makes me mope. Why it should upset me more than a bad burger I can’t say, but I’m not alone. It upsets Jeffrey Steingarten, whose favorite tarts are found at Maury Rubin’s City Bakery (locations in LA and New York):
If a baker, at home or in commerce, cannot make better pastry than Maury’s he or she should simply follow Maury’s recipe or throw in the towel and find other work.
To make Maury’s pastry, buy The Book of Tarts. But the recipe I use is, in my experience, indistinguishable from Maury’s and slightly easier, because it doesn’t require cream. It’s from Tamasin Day-Lewis’s lovely book The Art of the Tart. It takes minutes to make, only has to chill an hour, rolls out easily, and the texture is perfect–a fork passes easily through the raised edge. The only problem with this recipe is that it makes a weird amount–more than enough for one 9- or 10-inch tart, but not enough for two. But seriously, I am never going to make a different sweet tart crust recipe again.
SWEET TART CRUST
Adapted from The Art of the Tart
75g powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
225g all-purpose flour
Put the butter, sugar, and egg yolks into the bowl of a food processor. Process until fully combined. Add the flour and process until it begins to come together into a ball, about 30 seconds. With your hands, press the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Roll it out very thin (1/8-inch) and line a large tart pan. To blind bake, dock the dough well and bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes.
For the chocolate part, just buy the book already.
Now, the next recipe, which is not in metric. Iris and I were planning to surprise Laurie with the tart. In fact, we did. As soon as Iris heard the door open, she yelled, “MAMA, WE HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU.” Unfortunately, the tart hadn’t cooled sufficiently to eat yet, so I threw it in the fridge for after dinner.
Our plan for dinner was buckwheat pancakes, but we couldn’t have pancakes with syrup and then a tart. “Do we have any frozen brussels sprouts?” Laurie asked. We did. This is what I made; I’ve done something like it before, but never quite so well.
PENNE WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND BACON
Serves 2 to 3
10 ounces penne rigate
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups frozen brussels sprouts, thawed and halved
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup (lightly packed) grated Parmigiano
In a large skillet, cook the bacon in the olive oil until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the fat in the pan. Raise heat to medium-high and add the brussels sprouts. Cook until lightly browned, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook the penne. Drain and add to the brussels sprouts along with the bacon and Parmigiano. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
“There’s too much Parmigiano on this noodle,” Iris complained, but you won’t. She didn’t complain about the tart.