I made the tart dough by hand as I usually do although the recipe recommends using a food processor. Butter was cut into flour that had been stirred with a little salt and some sugar. Cold cream and an egg yolk brought the dough together, and it was chilled for about an hour. As suggested in the book, I used a four-inch by thirteen-inch, rectangular tart pan. After placing the dough in the pan and docking the bottom, it was chilled in the freezer while the oven pre-heated. The tart shell was blind baked with pie weights for about 15 minutes, the oven temperature was reduced, the weights were removed, and it was baked another ten minutes. Meanwhile, that amazing filling was made with vanilla brown butter, sugar, salt, an egg, flour, and creme fraiche. The baked tart shell was allowed to cool a bit before the filling was added, and then halved cherries were placed in rows, cut side down in the filling. The tart went back into the oven for 25 minutes.
I mentioned before how much I’m enjoying this book, and this was one more reason why. Every recipe I’ve tried from it so far has worked perfectly and delivered delicious results. A dessert with cherries is easy for me to like, but this one topped all expectations.
Raspberry (or Cherry)-Brown Butter-Creme Fraiche Tart
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from The Sugar Cube.
Notice how raspberry is the first word in the title? That’s because this tart is all about the fruit. Yes, there’s a rich tart dough made with egg yolk and cream. And yes, it’s slathered with an amazing filling of vanilla browned butter and creme fraiche. But the filling is more of a flavorful base to support and contrast with all the bright fruit. Now, don’t skimp and use extract instead of a vanilla bean when making the filling. You won’t get the same depth of flavor as you do when you brown the seeds and pod along with the butter. You can, however, feel free to change up the fruit. You can use other berries, or even cherries that have been pitted—just cut them in half and toss with about two tablespoons of sugar.
MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
1 1/4 cups plus
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg yolk
Brown butter filling
1/2 vanilla bean
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons creme fraiche
1 pint (abour 2 cups) fresh raspberries (or cherries)
TO MAKE THE TART DOUGH:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks pale yellow and sandy.
IN A SMALL BOWL, combine the cream and egg yolk. While pulsing, pour the mixture through the feed tube of the food processor. Continue pulsing until the dough forms a ball around the blade.
TURN THE DOUGH OUT onto a lightly floured surface and gather it into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk so it’s not too thick and will be easier to roll out, wrap it in plastic, and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.
REMOVE THE DOUGH from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes to soften a bit. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin, frequently turning it a quarter turn. (Use a bench scraper to dislodge any areas that stick to the work surface and dust the area lightly with flour.) Roll the dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick and an inch or two longer than the length and width of a 4-by-13-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and gently press it into the pan, including the corners. Roll the rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to cut off the excess dough. Check around the top of the pan and make sure the dough is at least flush with the top, or make it a little higher. Prick the bottom of the tart all over and chill in the freezer until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
Split the piece of vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Add to a small sauté pan along with the pod and the butter. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the butter darkens to a nutty brown and the solids drop to the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean pod. Measure out 3 tablespoons of the browned butter, making sure to get as much of the vanilla bean seeds and browned bits as you can. (You can save any extra butter for another use.)
IN A SMALL MIXING BOWL, whisk together the sugar, salt, and egg until combined. Whisk in the flour, then whisk in the browned butter and crème fraîche until combined.
PREHEAT THE OVEN to 400°F. Crumple a piece of parchment paper (to increase its flexibility so that it will conform more easily to the shape of the tart shell), then flat-ten it out and fit it into the chilled shell. Fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake until the sides of the shell look set and golden, 10 to 15 minutes, then gently lift the parchment and beans and remove them from the tart. Reduce the heat to 350°F, and continue baking until the bottom is set and lightly golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer. (If the edges start to look too dark, cover them with strips of foil.) Let cool slightly on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before filling.
SPOON THE FILLING into the prebaked tart shell, spreading it evenly over the bottom with a small offset spatula. Arrange the berries in an even layer on top. Bake on the center rack until the filling has puffed up around the fruit and is golden brown, about 25 minutes. (Again, if edges are getting too dark, cover with strips of foil.)
LET COOL before cutting tart crosswise to serve.
You can use any leftover scraps of tart dough to make mini jam tartlets. Roll it out and cut it into rounds. Drop a dollop of jam in the center of each round, and fold the dough over to make a turnover. Crimp the edges with a fork, chill until firm, and then bake until golden brown.
Taste your fruit. If it’s not very sweet, fold in 1 tablespoon melted apricot jam or seedless raspberry jam. Or use superfine sugar, which is absorbed more quickly.
You can make the filling several days in advance. Let it come to room temperature before you use it, so it will be easier to spread.
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