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Friday, June 6, 2014

Sweet Crust for Mini Fruit Tarts - 200th Post Celebration!

This experiment started out with an intent to make whole wheat shakkarparas/shankarpali for the family. I have been trying to replace all purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour in many recipes and thought that I should try replacing it here as well. However, I decided to be cautious, halved the recipe and made a whole wheat dough. It was quite late in the night, so I wrapped up the dough in plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge and decided to tackle it the next day. It so happened that I was looking for something in the kitchen cabinet the very next day and came across mini tart molds which I had bought almost two years ago but hadn't used yet. So, I got them out and one thing led to another and instead of using the dough to make shankarpali, I decided to experiment with it to make a tart crust. And the experiment was an absolute success. The crust was crispy, with the just right of sweetness, and just perfect to make fruit tarts. Once the tart crust cooled down, I filled them up with some pastry cream and fresh fruit.

What better way to celebrate the 200th post than this, eh?! The best part is that I made a batch of minit tart crusts and stored them in an airtight box. I have made a small batch of pastry cream and am able to serve up these tarts to the family whenever someone is in the mood for dessert.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2.5 cups all purpose whole wheat pastry flour, approximately

In a mixing bowl, mix together the milk, sugar and stir. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it in. Then, start adding the flour, half cup at a time and mix it well, so that the butter is incorporated into the flour evenly. As the dough comes together, add the flour a tablespoon at a time and then stop when you have a dough which is firm. It takes about 2.25 to 2.5 cups of flour to get to this stage. At this stage, cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 30 mins.

Then make small balls of the dough and roll out small discs of about 3-4 mm thickness and place them gently into the tart mold. Using your fingers, press the dough into the mold and shape it. Then place the molds back into the fridge to cool for another 30 mins.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Pierce the base of the mini tart molds with a fork a few times. Then, line the base with small aluminium foil pieces and place some dry beans (chickpeas/pinto/rajma) or pie weights. Place the mini tart molds onto a baking sheet and place it into the oven on a centrally placed rack. Let it bake for 7-10 minutes till the crust is a light golden color. Then remove the sheet from the oven and remove all the foil pieces along with the weights. Place the sheet back into the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes till the mini tart crusts are evenly browned color and have a golden brown color.

Cool down completely and store in an airtight container.

You can fill these with custard, whipped cream, ice cream, or preserves and top with fresh fruits. The tart crust can be stored for a couple of weeks, but assemble them on the day they are to be eaten.

The ones pictured here have been filled with lightly sweetened vanilla bean pastry cream and topped with fresh berries and apricot.

Whole wheat flour is not the same as whole wheat pastry flour. The pastry flour is closer to all purpose flour in texture but made from the whole grain. It is made from soft wheat and is lighter in color.
Placing the pie weights or beans while pre-baking the crusts will prevent the crust from puffing up. It is important to rest the dough in the fridge, so that the butter hardens. As it melts while cooking, it imparts a flaky texture to the crust.
Make sure that the crusts have been completely cooled before storing them in an airtight container.

1 comment:

  1. Looks great pd... Will try when I get the chance.. happy 200th recipe ... hope you enjoyed the FRUITS of your labor