Tis the season for wonderful food! As an avid preserver, a large part of the fun is putting the fruits of my labour to work in creative food applications. At this time of year, our celebratory meals always involve dessert so I’m going to raid the pantry for items to put into a traditional French tarte.
Every patisserie in France offers tartes frequently made with fruit and often with an almond cream base called frangipani. Tartes are open faced ‘pies’ so to speak made in pans that have removable sides and bottoms. It is possible to use a typical pie pastry for the tarte but I like to use a pate brisée which is a butter based pastry with excellent flavour and enough turgor to stand up once the pan is removed.
2 ½ cups unbleached white flour 1 tsp. salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter cut in small pieces ½ cup ice water
I use my food processor but you can use a pastry cutter to cut butter into salted flour. Gradually add ice water until the pastry starts to come together. It might be less than ½ cup. Put out on lightly floured surface and bring the pastry together with your hands. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick. Press the dough into the tarte pan. Let it hang over the sides. Take the rolling pin and roll lightly across the top of the pan which will cut the pastry off to exactly fit the pan. This pasty freezes very well. For each filling below, add it to the pastry lined pan and bake at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes for a 9 inch or 40 minutes for a 6 inch pan. To ensure a crispier bottom crust, bake on the lower shelf.
In the Fall I made Pear Mincemeat (Bernardin). I used a small 6 inch pan and about ¾ of a cup of mincemeat. I cut a snowflake out of the pastry to add to the top and brushed it lightly with melted apple jelly.
This tarte, adapted from a Ball recipe, uses preserved apple sauce (one 250 ml jar) combined with 1 cup chopped, peeled apples. Put the sauce mixture into a 9 inch tarte. Thinly sliced one to two apples and place them in concentric circles around the tarte as illustrated. Brush with melted apple jelly and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Pear with Frangipani Filling
Blend ½ cup soft butter, ½ cup sugar, 1 cup ground almonds, ½ tsp. almond extract, 1 TBSP flour. Spread the almond cream into a 9 inch tarte pan. Slice the preserved pears decoratively and place them around the tarte pressing slightly. Brush the pears with melted apple jelly.
Voila, you have three French tartes made with home-made preserves ready for the holiday table.
I wish you all a joyful and safe season and look forward to returning in the New Year. If you have any topics you would like me to cover, please send me a note at: