Baking, anywhere

By Mélanie, on Saturday, August 16, 2008

I left without even saying goodbye. I went far, far away, to a deserted island. Well, ok, maybe this is quite exaggerated. But this was one week without turning the TV or the computer on. One week in a nice old house, with six other young people (what, you have some doubts? we are young! It’s just a matter of reference anyway…), and close to the beach. And yes, I was able to wear my bathing suit for the first time in the last 18 months!!

Alas, some clouds just seem to ignore the concept of microclimate. This was not really a problem, and I traded the bathing suit for a more usual accessory, the apron!

Before leaving, I knew that I would maybe have the opportunity to bake something. A dessert is always enjoyed! (what I did not know, though, is that everybody would want to cook, so if you’re reading this, thank you guys for all the good meals we shared together).
I did not want to travel with my cookbooks (although it would have been a nice practice for the Olympics) and very strangely, it seems that I’m unable of remembering any recipe. Maybe it’s because I always want to try something new. This is a familiar syndrome for the food blogger we are. I know, what’s the point of finding a good recipe if you won’t make it again?? But that would mean not listening to the tiny voice suggesting that, maybe, the next recipe will be even better… And what would this blog become if I did not listen to her?!?

I restricted the recipes to ONE piece of paper, with everything vital (am I exaggerating again?) for baking. The pâte sucrée (sugar dough) and choux pastry from Alain Ducasse, the cream pastry and mascarpone mousse from Pierre Hermé, the almond cream from Eric Kayser, the fruit mousse from … . I was ready to go! Tell me what you want, and I’ll do it!
We had some peaches and vanilla ice cream? A sablé Breton is the answer!
Feel like lemon curd? What about a lemon and strawberries pie?

But the most successful was the almond and plum tart. Did I tell you I love almonds? I LOVE almonds. Shredded in salads. Whole with swiss chards. Ground in pie dough. As marzipan in... anything! (it tastes good in chocolate bonbons, for a cake’s decoration or inside the cake...). I think you’ve got the point...
I also like to use fruits usually a bit tart for desserts. I think it brings the best out of them. Sweet fruits, like nectarine or strawberries, are just so good on their own. Of course they are good in a pie too, but it does not titillate your palate the way that raspberries, rhubarb or baked apricots do... You know, that contrast between the fruit and the sweet pie crust / crumble / meringue (or anything you want).

So I know this is a basic pie, nothing new to discover. But sometimes you just need a quick and simple recipe. And I like it a lot (did I mention there’s almond in it??). Plus, it’s the kind of pie that brings guys to ask you if you’re single. Do I need to say more?

Plum and almond tart

For the sugar dough
1 ½ stick of butter, at room temperature
1 egg
½ cup sugar
1/8 cup almond power
2 cups flour

For the almond cream
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
½ cup almond powder
½ cup whipping cream
1/8 cup + 2 tsp butter

About 2 pounds quetsche plums

Prepare the pie dough :
First cream the butter with the egg in your mixer, before adding the sugar, almond powder and flour to obtain a compact dough. Form a ball with the dough and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

For the almond cream :
In the large bowl of your food processor, beat at high speed the eggs with the sugar until creamy. Add the almond powder and the whipping cream, and pulse until incorporated. Melt the butter and pour it on the mixture while beating.

Preheat oven to 340°F.

Roll the disk of dough into an 12-inch circle, 1/4-inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Line a 10-inch pie pan, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until edge is pale golden, about 10 minutes.

While crust bakes, divide the plums in two and remove the pit.

Once the crust is baked, pour almond filling over the tart shell and arrange plums over it. Put pan on a baking sheet and bake until crust and filling are golden and plums are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool tart completely in pan on a rack before unmolding. Just before serving, dust with confectioners sugar.

Tarte amandine aux quetsches

Pour la pâte sucrée
250g de farine
150g de beurre à température ambiante
100g de sucre
30g de poudre d’amande
1 œuf

Pour la crème d’amandes
100g de poudre d’amandes
10cl de crème liquide
3 œufs
240g de sucre
40g de beurre

1kg de quetsches

Préparez la pâte à tarte :
Mettez d'abord le beurre avec l'œuf dans le bol de votre robot mixer. Malaxer quelques instants, avant d'ajouter le sucre, la poudre d'amande et la farine pour obtenir une pâte homogène. Formez une boule avec la pâte et aplatissez-la avec la paume de la main. Enveloppez la dans le plastique et laissez reposer au réfrigérateur pendant au moins 30 minutes et jusqu'à 2 jours.

Pour la crème amandine :
Dans le bol de votre robot, battez les œufs avec le sucre jusqu'à ce que le mélange devienne crémeux. Incorporez la poudre d'amande et la crème liquide, puis le beurre préalablement fondu.
Préchauffez le four à 170°.

Etalez le disque de pâte en un cercle légèrement plus grand que votre moule à tarte (la recette a été faite avec un moule de 27cm). Garnissez votre moule (beurré et fariné) avec la pâte et faites la précuire 10 minutes au four.

Pendant ce temps, divisez les prunes dans deux et enlevez les noyaux.

Une fois que la pâte est cuite, versez la crème d’amande et disposez les prunes, coté bombé en dessous. Faites cuire au four jusqu'à ce que la tarte soit dorée, 30 à 40 minutes. Laissez refroidir et saupoudrez de sucre glace avant de la servir.

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