Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tartine Tarts

Apple nougatine tart, based on the recipe from the Tartine Bakery book. It is a flaky all butter crust filled with caramelized granny smith and golden delicious apples, tossed with a teeny bit of cinnamon and the juice of a lime (the recipe didn't call for cinnamon and used lemon instead of lime; I used lime just because I was lazy and didn't want to go hunting for a lemon). The tart is topped with an almond nougatine (what the heck is that?) which is made from sliced almonds, egg whites, sugar, and salt. Couldn't be easier!

The trick to a flaky crust? Cook's Illustrated will tell you to use shortening and vodka...but seriously, how are you supposed to bake when you are tipsy and suffering cardiac arrest from trans fats. Listen to Martha Stewart, or Tartine Bakery, and use all butter! The key points:
- Cut butter into 2 cm cubes and freeze for 10 min while you put flour in food processor
- Weigh all ingredients
- Use ice water
- Pulse butter and flour very briefly until you have fat pea-sized clumps. Peas are big! Don't be fooled by their unassuming name. None of this pea-wee nonsense. Fat peas!
- Pour the bare minimum of water in all at once and pulse very briefly until it just starts to clump - Don't wait for it to form a ball in the processor! Squeeze together, and if it holds, you're golden. If it doesn't, sprinkle on a little more water.
- Dump the dough out into a bowl, squeeze once into a dense flat disk, cover with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for a good hour.
- Roll out into disks, and fill tart pans. No stretching the dough! It will shrink when it bakes.
- FREEZE again for 15 minutes, then bake immediately from the freezer in a 385 degree oven with coffee filters weighted down with beans for 25 minutes, then remove weights and bake until golden, at least 5 minutes.
The complete recipe is in Tartine's book. First you peel and core the apples, and then slice them 1/8-1/4 inch thick (I think it's ok if they are different thicknesses because the texture difference is nice). Working in batches, melt 1 Tbsp butter and 2 tsp sugar in large heavy bottomed pan over high heat until sugar starts to caramelize. Add apples, cook until apples soften - remove to a holding bowl. Repeat for all apples, and then toss everything with the juice of a lime or lemon, zest, some salt, and some cinnamon (Tartine did not call for cinnamon). Layer the apples neatly into the shells; it's ok if the apples are still warm. For the topping, mix egg white, sugar, toasted almonds, and pinch of salt until well blended. Spread evenly over tarts. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until topping is just golden and you are salivating. The combination of the buttery flaky crust, tangy sweet caramelized apples, and toasted sweet and savory almonds is amazing.

Too many pictures of the same thing? I think so. But I couldn't resist! This mango tart is very simple. Just Tartine's pastry cream and fresh sliced manila mangoes (I am in love with these! They have a silken texture and an incredible floral, nutty, milky fragrance). Tartine's pastry cream is unique in that it uses whole eggs and milk, rather than egg yolks and half-and-half, so it is lighter and the vanilla flavor is brighter. Next time I might reduce the sugar a little because this was a teeny bit sweet, but delicious. (can't say no to custard!) I didn't have vanilla beans, so I used some vanilla paste.
Fruit tart with mango, strawberries, and bluberries


  1. the fruits were so refreshing and the cream was so creamy and matched the fruit very well! The tart shell is so flaky and crunchy, and the whole thing melts in your mouth very well and makes you happy!


    The mangos looks especially delicious. Ah, my mouth is watering. We must make this sometime, or at least, I shall make it for you as a symbol of my love and you can relax and supervise ;)