The New Year has begun with a lot of cooking. The posts have been coming in often and my blog is going to have almost 2000 hits- and I have finally embarked on the photography, learning nuances along the way. Food has been crucial to the beginning of the year, and that too, far beyond the blog.
To cut a long story short, along with faraway tips, I decided to make dessert for the BIL who was travelling to India. The icing on the cake was that he was not familiar with my cooking- and even this blog. And I just need an excuse to spend half a day, puttering about in the kitchen, thoroughly enjoying the experience. The start point was that he would like something with fruits, and Ak came to the rescue by suggesting mini-tartlets. Tarts are perfect for dessert, as everyone can pick up their own mini-helping and they look pretty and delightful. Also, i personally feel- as someone baking tarts, I would love to serve an assortment with varied fillings. For some reason- they seem healthier too, maybe because of their fruity nature. My quest for the right tart began as I hunted for a sure-shot recipe that would work. I looked at 2 of my favorite Bloggers-Tartelette...on the sweet side of life (I love Helen’s styling and Photography-and am usually oohing- and aahing, when I read her posts) and Passionate about Baking (My daily ritual- or at least as often as she posts- Deeba is one of the most inspiring women…I haven’t met her and have only written to her once- but I love what she has done with Food Blogging here in India and the idea of making everything as pure as possible. She is very inspiring and I really hope that someday I can, be half as good as her.)
The dish was decided, I was going to make tartlets with strawberries and cream. I decided to go back to the Ipad Baking App, which I totally swear by. I used the tart recipe here, removed the almonds from it, and added some cinnamon instead. Most often, tarts are made with fresh fruits, and the mixed berry tarts seen so often are almost impossible to make here- no wild berries or blackberries available easily and I didn’t want to go down the tinned variety route. For the filling, I experimented a bit and decided to use a combination of cream and cheese- next time I may just use cream cheese instead! I had the wonderful goat’s cheese with cinnamon and berries still lying in the fridge, and so I decided to use a bit of it and hence, added the cinnamon in the tart base to compliment the cheese. The results were astonishing. The goat’s cheese added a wonderful consistency and flavor to the filling, a glimpse of cranberries and the slightly cheesy sweetness with a hint of cinnamon was quite wintery. I always thought strawberries and cream was a winner; the discovery of the addition of cinnamon has been interesting. The audience thought it was quite professional, and during the delay in actually putting up the post, I have already made the tarts twice over. That I assume, would be success enough J
Disclaimer; this is the first post- where the photography is entirely by yours truly, except for the one grand finale, which Ak shot to wrap it up. I am quite pleased with the results- for which I give credit to the wonderful new lens.
For the Tarts;
115g butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (am fearful of the egg smell!)
1 tablespoon milk
1 egg yolk
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, butter and sugar to get a crumbly mixture. Add the egg yolk, cinnamon and vanilla and make dough. Keep the dough wrapped in cling film in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Line tart tins with the dough and line the dough with foil or fill with beans. Bake at about 180 degrees C, for about 15 minutes with the foil or until golden brown and for about 2-3 minutes without the foil. Remove the tray from the oven and let the tarts cool.
p.s. I grease the tart tins very lightly to ensure that they don’t break while removing.
For the Filling,
200g Thick Cream (available in Tetra Packs or double cream in case you have access to it)
1 Heaped Tablespoon of Goats cheese (Use cream cheese as an alternative)
4 Tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk (optional)
2-3 Crushed Strawberries or mixed berries
150g chopped strawberries or mixed berries to garnish.
Chopped Kiwi for garnishing
Soften the cheese, by keeping at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add the cream, sugar, cinnamon and berries. Let the mixture cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Fill into the tarts and top with chopped strawberries.