Summer Tartlet With Crème d’amande & Crème Pâtissière

INGREDIENTS:

CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 30g cornstarch
  • 30g all-purpose flour
 METHOD: 
  1. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
  2. In a saucepan, add milk, vanilla seeds and pod and half of the sugar (35g).
  3. Heat the milk mixture to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar in a heat proof bowl until creamy and pale in color. Add the cornstarch and the flour. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk.
  6. Temper the eggs: Pour 1/2 of the warm milk into the bowl with the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
  7. Now warm the remaining milk in the saucepan to a slow boil.
  8. Pour the egg mixture into the pan while whisking vigorously and constantly until the you have a smooth cream and you see the first bubbles in the pan. Remove from heat.
  9. Immediately pour the cream into a large baking pan. Spread out the cream and cover the surface with plastic wrap.
  10. Refrigerate over night or until completely cold.
PÂTE SUCRÉE
  • 300g butter
  • 180g icing sugar
  • 50g almond flour
  • 1 vanilla bean/1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 500g all-purpose flour

METHOD:

  1. Cream the butter until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar, almond flour and vanilla seeds. Mix until combined. If vanilla extract is used, mix the vanilla with the eggs and add in the next step.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until combined.
  4. Mix the salt with the flour.
  5. Add the flour in three additions. Mix for about 10 seconds after each portion or until it just comes together. Once the flour is added it is important not to overwork the dough. Be quick because you want to stop gluten protein formation.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 portions. Plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. The dough you wont be needing can be frozen at this stage. Thaw over night in refrigerator.
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a flour dusted work bench. Beat it with the rolling pin a couple of times to flatten it. Then roll it to a thickness of 3-5 mm. Again, try to be quick and not to overwork the dough.
  8. Line the tart pan or flan ring with the dough. Let it rest for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
  9. Preheat the oven to 175°C.
  10. Put a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and fill the tart pan with beans or rice.
  11. Blind bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Remove the parchment paper and the beans.
  13. Allow to cool on wire rack still inside the tart pan or ring mold until the crème d’amande is ready.
LA CRÈME D’AMANDE
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g almond flour
  • 250g butter, room temperature
  • 250g eggs
  • 35g all-purpose flour
METHOD: 
  1. Mix sugar and almond flour.
  2. Beat in the butter until very smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs in two additions. Beat with a whisk to make the cream airy and light.
  4. Cently fold in the flour.
  5. Pipet a 1 cm thick layer of the cream into the blind baked tart shells.
  6. Bake for another 10-20 minutes. Time depends on your almond cream. Bake until the almond cream has puffed up and surface starts to get golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack still inside the tart pan or ring mold.
SERVING
Pipet a layer of crème pâtissière on top of the crème d’amande and decorate with a mixture of beautiful summer berries.
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Apricot and Blackberry-Marzipan Hamantaschen

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~30 hamantaschen total (~15 of each flavor)for cookie:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 385 gr (2 1/4 cups) AP flour
  • dash of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 8 oz butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten

METHOD:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough begins to form.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the fillings–recipes included below.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
  5. Lightly sprinkle your workspace with powdered sugar or flour. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter (~2.5 – 3 inches in diameter), cut out rounds.
  6. For apricot hamantaschen, spoon about a teaspoon of filling into the center of each cookie. For blackberry-marzipan hamantaschen, place about a teaspoon of almond paste in the center of each cookie round and top with a small amount of blackberry preserves.
  7. Fold the edged of the cookie rounds up and pinch the corners together. Place the cookies on the prepared lined cookie sheets. Brush the outsides of the cookies with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Note: Despite tasting really good, this is perhaps one of the most temperamental doughs I’ve worked with. It likes to be rolled out cold (otherwise sticks to everything, even parchment paper) but folded into cookie form when it’s a little closer to room temperature.
Note: Don’t roll the dough out thinner than 1/4 of an inch, either, which will make it difficult to work with.

for dried apricot quick jam filling:

  • 1/4 lbs dried (California) apricots (~7 gr)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • sprinkle of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

METHOD:

  1. Combine the dried apricots, water, and sugar in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Over medium-low heat, cook covered for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes more, until the liquid has reduced.
  4. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a food processor. Add a small sprinkling of lemon juice. Pulse until the apricots are roughly chopped but do not process until smooth.
  5. Let cool before filling cookies.

for blackberry-marzipan filling:
blackberry preserves
almond paste (marzipan)

or
Another filling could be:
Poppyseed
Mascarpone
figs

Rose Marzipan

INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 48 chocolates
for marzipan:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 lb. almond paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn corn syrup
  • 1 Tbspn rose flavoring (available at specialty food stores; I got mine at Sur la Table)
  • 1/2 Tbspn water
  • 3-4 drops pink gel food coloring

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor, pulse confectioner’s sugar until no lumps remain.  Add the almond paste in chunks and process until combined.
  2. Add the corn syrup.  Pulse a few times until the corn syrup is incorporated.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine rose flavoring, water, and food coloring and mix.  Add the food coloring mixture into the food processor.
  4. Process until the combination starts to come together.  Stop right before it forms a big ball.
  5. Turn out the marzipan onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap tightly and store in an airtight container overnight before use.

for chocolates:

  • 1 lb. dark chocolate (I used Gittard, but any good quality dark chocolate will work), split into two half pounds
  • rose marzipan, recipe above

METHOD:
You will also need plastic chocolate molds.  available  at arts & crafts stores or online.

  1. Chop a 1/2 pound of the dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off stove.
  2. Add the other 1/2 pound WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  This is the easiest way to temper chocolate that I’ve found.  No need to mess with marble pastry boards or thermometers!  But, if you have your own method, feel free to temper the chocolate as you wish.
  3. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  4. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time. Once the chocolate is poured into one mold, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold.  Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  5. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  6. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Break off small pieces of rose marzipan–about the size of a small cherry, and roll into a ball.  Press the marzipan into the chocolate molds, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.
  7. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the marzipan.  Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  8. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate around the candies.
  9. You should probably store the chocolates in the fridge, but since the chocolate is tempered, they will survive a bit of time outside the fridge as well, as long as it’s not too hot outside!

Marzipan Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

For the marzipan balls

  • 2 Cups / 200g Ground almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Powdered sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Powdered sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp Almond essence
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • 2 Egg yolks (medium)

For the cookie

  • 1/2 Cup / 100g Margarine
  • 1/2 Cup / 100g Caster sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • 1 Cup / 160g Plain flour
  • 1/2 Cup / 80g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp Sweet mixed spice
  • 2 Egg whites (medium)
  • 1 Egg (medium)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
  • Candied peel (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Mix the dry marzipan ingredients together.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the almonds.
  3. Add the milk, water, almond essence and egg yolks mix well.

  1. Grease and flour a baking tray. Roll the marzipan into small balls and place on the oven tray with lots of space between each marzipan ball.

  1. Optionally on some marzipan balls you can place a few small pieces of candied peel around the marzipan.

  1. For the cookie topping place the margarine and sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together.

  1. In a small bowl whisk the egg.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, egg whites, mixed spice and milk mix well.
  3. Add the vanilla and whole whisked egg mix again.

  1. Take a spoonful of the cookie batter and gently place on top of each marzipan ball.
  2. Try the balance the cookie mixture so it will spread more over one side of the cookie.
  3. The whole marzipan ball should not be covered, there should be part of the marzipan visible after cooking.
  4. Remember when the cookies batter cooks it will spread and mould onto the marzipan ball.
  5. It may be easier to add a small spoon of the cookie batter at a time.

  1. Bake in a hot oven at gas mark 6 / 200C for 15 minutes.
  2. Use a spatula to remove the marzipan cookies from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  3. Do not eat the marzipan cookies until the cookies have cooled down completely.
  4. Dust with powdered sugar.
  5. Even drizzle some with a light icing if desired.