Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My appetite tends to change when the temperature increases to 30 degrees Celsius or above. I no longer enjoy eating starchy foods such as rice, pasta, and even sponge cakes (even when they're served with fresh fruits and a dollop of chantilly cream). 

In place of sponge cakes which I love to make and subsequently eat, I've been making lots of fresh fruit tarts lately.

Strawberry tart 

A crisp, flaky, buttery crust is extremely enjoyable when topped with a delicate custard or cream cheese and whipping cream or meringue mixture, covered by a bed of juicy berries (or whatever fruit you like to eat).

I can really only give you the recipe for the pastry base, as the rest are all up to your creativity and preferences, and available ingredients! 

This pastry base is taken from author and blogger Mercotte, who recreates Jacques Genin's famous flan parisien. I've scaled down her measurements to half because I simply didn't need to make that much pâte à foncer (flan pastry). Although on her site she called it pâte brisée, I've been told that it turns into what is called pâte à foncer upon the addition of egg yolks. 

Remember to prick the pastry all over with a fork!

Here is the recipe for pâte à foncer / flan pastry:

~ Ingredients ~

180 g cold (can be frozen) unsalted butter
250 g flour 
4 g salt
5 g sugar
50 g cold milk
20 g egg yolk

~ Method ~ 

1. Cut the butter into small cubes and process in a food processor with the flour, salt and sugar. It's fine if it's still rather chunky.
2. Add the egg yolk and milk and process. It may not come together but that's okay.
3. Place the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and with your hands, compress the dough into a ball, taking care to not overwork the dough because you don't want the butter to melt. There should still be bits and small pieces of butter scattered around your dough!
4. Place another sheet of plastic wrap on top and roll it to fit whatever pan you want to put it in.
5. Line your pan with the pastry then freeze it.
6. When it's fully frozen, poke it all over with a fork then place it in a preheated 350 F oven for 20 - 25 minutes.

Alternatively, if you don't have a food processor, you can place the cubes cold cold butter in a bowl with all the dry ingredients and cut it up using a sharp knife. Then mix in the yolk and milk. I made my pastry this way because my magic bullet couldn't handle cold butter!

Cherry tart

For the filling, I've used cream cheese mixed with a French meringue (egg whites whipped with caster sugar), sugar to your tasting, and a liberal dash of Baileys Irish cream. I also made it another time with cream cheese and chantilly cream (35% cream whipped to soft peaks with sugar to your tasting and a bit of vanilla flavouring). 

I used a cream cheese, Baileys, and french meringue filling on top of a chocolate covered base

Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature because you need to beat it until creamy to mix in your meringue/chantilly cream. Of course, you can also use pudding or custard mixes which are super fast to prepare and are available readily at your local supermarket in a plethora of flavours! 

I like to flavour my fillings with vanilla, Baileys, Frangelico (a hazelnut flavoured liqueur), and other liqueurs because I feel that it complements fresh summer fruits the best.

The 66 cherries I pitted, on a tart

Being slightly more ambitious than usual, I convinced myself to pit a total of 66 cherries to top a rectangular pâte à foncer base. How did I manage to do that? - I kept reminding myself of the satisfaction of biting a perfectly pitless, fresh, juicy cherry. 

This recipe is my gift to you

Definitely top this pastry with whatever fresh fruits you make like: pineapple, banana, apple, pear, berries, mango... And after doing so you might like to drizzle some melted chocolate, sprinkle some toasted coconut, or just finish off with a clear glaze to make those fruits appear as though they glow underneath the bright, almost-summer sun. 



Yesterday was Victoria Day, one of only two days where we are allowed to fire fireworks. And then it began to pour rain the moment I stepped outside the door, drenching all the hope and anticipation that had built up inside us *boo*

Cake scraps (the ends of roll cake pictured here) are all I need to satisfy my cake quota

On a very side note, I've noticed I don't like to eat my own cakes, but my friends have pointed out that the reason for that is because I eat my quota's worth from the cake scraps already!

And I'll be leaving in 2 days for my Asia trip! Since I'll be on vacation for almost 3 months, I really want to update you on my food adventures during that time so come back often to see pictures *yay*

What are you eating during this warmer season?